EXCITING - Members of the Lacombe Fire Department and Lacombe Firefighters Association stand proudly beside the retired Lacombe Fire Engine One

EXCITING - Members of the Lacombe Fire Department and Lacombe Firefighters Association stand proudly beside the retired Lacombe Fire Engine One

Retired Lacombe fire engine, plus equipment, enroute to Paraguay

Officials say it’s exciting to continue to support Paraguay Project initiatives

  • May. 11, 2017 7:00 a.m.


Lacombe Express

Members of our local fire department and association are thrilled to have sent their third donation to Paraguay, this time with a truck from right here in Lacombe.

This is the third mission that the Lacombe Firefighter’s Association (LFA) and Lacombe Fire Department (LFD) have teamed up with the City of Lacombe for, and all groups are looking forward to making a difference in communities beyond our borders.

A decommissioned fire truck, along with donated fire-fighting equipment and tools is currently on the way to Natalio, Paraguay, and is expected to arrive within two to three months.

“Every time another donation is ready, it’s a really special excitement that we feel,” said Uwe Kurth, chairman of the LFA’s Paraguay Project Committee. “Channelling our equipment and tools in this way is really beneficial, because we know that it will be used in helping communities that don’t have access to this kind of equipment. It’s very rewarding.”

This project began with the intention of making use of decommissioned Canadian equipment in the area. Although a truck or piece of equipment may be unable to be used by our standards, the items are still safe and functional and can be used in other communities.

This donation involves sending the City of Lacombe’s retired Fire Engine One, as well as two large crates of assorted equipment to Natalio.

A third crate of tools and equipment is also heading to Paraguay, to be distributed to three other fire departments in the same region.

Kurth said that although it is exciting to send the equipment south of the border, it’s equally important to be able to provide quality training and knowledge to the firefighting departments who receive the donations.

“We know in other places, safety of the workers isn’t always taken into account. We make sure to send protective equipment and we ensure the firefighters are protected and that they know the importance of that,” he explained.

“The other side of this program is the training. When we provide training, we make them aware and share our experiences of safety and what can happen when we’re doing our work. That makes a big difference.”

Kurth said this program is a great source of pride for the LFD and LFA, because they know they are able to make a difference in communities both directly through the donations and training but indirectly as these recipient communities share their knowledge with others.

Each time a donation is sent to Paraguay, members of LFA travel down in the following months to teach the recipient communities how to utilize the equipment. So far, all of the donations have been made to the same province of Itapúa.

Kurth said this has been intentional, because it will help to set a standard of practice within the province and surrounding communities. As the firefighters develop their skills and standards, they will be able to network into other provinces and communities to share their knowledge. “It’s a really good thing and a value added to our donations,” Kurth said.

“We’re teaching the highest level of training, highest level of safety measures. Everything is up to date and modern and according to code. When they receive that training, they are able to replicate that to smaller communities which is awesome.”

Natalio, a city of 21,237, has a new volunteer fire department with 11 members.

The fire department was formed in 2004 and started operations the following year. The community built a fire hall in 2010 which houses an ambulance, a 1952 Bedford fire truck and a limited supply of firefighting gear and tools.

“This donation is an enormous benefit for our fire department and the residents of Natalio, and we thank everyone involved in this project for helping to make our community more resilient,” said Ramon Prieto, president of the board of the Cuerpo de Bomberos Voluntarios de Natalio.

“The new fire engine will improve our capacity to respond to larger fires in the community and the equipment will allow us to perform our jobs more safely and efficiently.”

This mission has been made possible by donations by the City of Lacombe, Lacombe County, the Sylvan Lake Fire Department, A Better World Canada, Lacombe Signmasters, Nova Chemicals, Fire Master and through the support of local businesses and residents. The citizens of Natalio also contributed to the shipping costs.

The donation was shipped from Vancouver on May 8th and is expected to arrive in Paraguay roughly 60-90 days from departure. After the truck and equipment is delivered to the recipient communities, the LFA will send members to train local fire departments on the equipment and help further their emergency response abilities.

“I am proud of the Lacombe firefighter’s involvement and leadership in this mission,” said LFD Fire Chief Ed van Delden.

“This is a great example of social responsibility and community engagement, something every community is striving for today. Our volunteers have had a long-standing tradition of helping the community and the region, and now they are extending it overseas.”

Drayton Bussiere of the LFD said he’s very excited to see another donation come to fruition.

“I think this donation is even a bit more exciting for us, because it’s actually a Lacombe engine it’s like saying goodbye to an old friend. We’re excited for its new life to start down there.”

He said it’s been exciting to see the project gain so much momentum.

“It’s been a large group effort through the department and association, but also in all of the support from the community and in the surrounding fire departments. Without that, none of this would have been possible.”

Kurth said all involved parties are excited for the possibility for the Paraguay Project to grow, and for communities in Paraguay to be able to provide safe and up-to-date equipment to their firefighters.

Members from LFA are looking forward to heading down to Paraguay sometime late this summer to train the recipient firefighting team.



Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

The Sylvan Lake Gulls show off the home jerseys (white) and their way jerseys at the Gulls Media Day on June 17, before the season opener. Following the media day, the team took to the field for their first practise. (Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News)
Sylvan Lake Gulls ready to throw first pitch as construction continues

The Gulls inaugural season kicks off June 18 with a game against the Edmonton Prospects

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Most Read