Members of the Xaxli’p Fire Department were busy on a recent weekend hauling hoses and using their air tank breathing apparatus.
Fortunately, they were not on the scene of a real fire; instead, they were hosting and participating in a regional competition for First Nations fire departments in BC’s south central region.
Teams from Xaxli’p, Penticton, Merritt and Sidney earned berths at the upcoming provincial championships where eight teams will compete for the right to go on to the national championships for First Nations fire departments. The provincial competition will be held July 7 in Penticton. The nationals will be held later this year in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Members of the Xaxli’p crew include Ed Mountain Sr., Kevin McEwen, Jackie Diablo, Mike McEwen, Emerson Adolph, Alan Adolph and Vera Doss.
The regional qualifying competition was held June 10 at Xaxli’p.
Ed Mountain Sr. told the News events included doughnut and straight hose rolling, switching back and forth on the breathing apparatus “just like you’re going to a fire,” using a fire hose to hit targets 50 metres away, carrying two buckets a distance of 15 metres, etc. All of the events were meant to simulate the heavy-duty work required to fight a fire.
Mountain, who’s the longest-serving member of the Xaxli’p Fire Department, is in his 29th year of fire-fighting service to his community. Since 1983-84, he has helped to train 34 members of the department.
He is also the president of the First Nations Emergency Services Society of BC, an association whose aim is sustaining “safe and healthy communities by providing programs, services and related training and education” in aboriginal communities in BC and the Yukon. Mountain was elected to a three-year term as president at the society’s annual general meeting in Terrace last year.