Did you know that over 450 volunteer operated fire departments are in Alberta? What if I also told you that there is one just down the highway? Yep, nestled in the fast growing hamlet of Langdon, sits a modest building where the often unsung heroes of the Langdon Volunteer Fire Department await that next call to go help.
At 111 Station, they are a part of a larger team that provides service throughout Rocky View County. Their response area is roughly from Boundary Road to the East, the Trans-Canada highway to the North, the Bow River to the South, and as far as Calgary to the South West. The team at Langdon also finds itself providing and receiving mutual aid to/from our peer stations throughout the county.
Station Chief, Ron Wendstrom, gave some history on the Langdon Fire Department. “In 1990 we had a conception meeting with Rocky View County discussing the need for a Fire Department in Langdon. We then held another meeting where all that were interested in being volunteer fire fighters were asked to come out. Twenty five people came out to that meeting, me being one of them. We began our training in September 1990 and in June 1991, we went on our first call to a grass fire”. It’s also interesting to know that of those original twenty five that came out to that first meeting, three of them still volunteer with the Langdon Fire Department.
The men and women that serve as volunteer firefighters in Langdon are exactly that – volunteers only and come from all walks of life and with very different backgrounds. They are an organization that has active firefighters, lieutenants, captains, and a chief to bring it all together. With 40 members currently and call volumes increasing to 300 annually, which is almost double what they were a couple years ago, the department runs like a well-oiled machine.
All members target full completion of NFPA 1001-2 training, a certification of firefighting skills recognized throughout North America. This international certification is only the baseline however, and the team spends many additional volunteer hours honing existing skills and learning new ones. Training evolutions including, but not limited to; Fire, Rescue, Medical, Motor Vehicle Extrication and even Ice Water Rescue, are formally scheduled across 28 sessions annually, and a less formal skill building session is held on the off-weeks. In addition to regularly scheduled training, intense weekend long training sessions are occasionally scheduled for specialized skills.
But rest assured, just because they are a volunteer department, they have ‘magnificent equipment’ as described by Chief Wendstrom. With rescue, ERU (Emergency Response Unit), two engines, tender, bush buggy, Mobile Command Station and UTV – they are definitely ready for any call that comes into their station.
As this is a volunteer fire department, all 40 volunteer fire fighters are equipped with a two way radio that is with them at all times. As most of them also work full time jobs, some members have more availability than others, but there is also adequate members available at any time of day or night should a call come in. They are dispatched out of the Calgary 911 dispatch centre and take their direction on where to go from there. They do help out in surrounding communities, most recently at the Mary Browns Chicken structure fire that took place in Chestermere in July.
This tightly bonded group of men and women take great pride in their community and in participating in local events. They can be seen at the tail end of the Langdon Days Parade spraying the awaiting crowd, they visit the playschool and speak to the students about fire safety, and they enjoy giving tours of the fire hall and participating in as many community events as possible. But by far their favourite event is the long standing tradition of the Santa Run. On Christmas Eve, Santa Clause himself comes to visit the Langdon Fire Department where the members of the department load Santa onto a firetruck and take him through the streets of Langdon passing out candy canes to children. This has been a tradition of the Langdon Fire Department for over fifteen years.
You can learn more about the Langdon Fire Department by checking out their website www.langdonfire.ca. We appreciate the hard work and sacrifice of all the firefighters that serve in our communities.