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DFD get a pat on the back at appreciation evening

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Carrying on a tradition of almost 70 years, the City and the Rural Municipality (RM) of Dauphin hosted a firefighters appreciation dinner for members of the Dauphin Fire Department (DFD).
The citizens of Dauphin are proud of its firefighters, mayor Al Dowhan said, noting in 2018, there were 229 incidents and over 7,800 firefighters hours spent in both in the City and RM of Dauphin.
The incidents varied, he said, from kitchen, outdoor and structure fires, to false alarms, motor vehicle collisions, EMS assists, hazardous materials, carbon monoxide alarms and mutual assistance.
Dowhan noted four firefighters received level one qualifications and five received level two qualifications in 2018.
“Currently there are 11 working on their level one and six on level two, with practical exams in May. There is over 3,200 hours on Wednesday night training,” he added.
Dowhan shared the good news DFD will get a new rescue truck in late 2019.
“In the era of climate change and dangerous criminal activities, every incident is unknown. Our firefighters face each incident with the best training and equipment, to eliminate harm to themselves and our citizens,” he said.
RM of Dauphin reeve Ron Ryz pointed out the work of DFD is greatly appreciated, urging members to keep up the good work and stay safe.
City manager Sharla Griffiths noted there was a total of 469 accumulated years of service with all of the DFD members, which is a point of pride for the community.
Acting RCMP Staff Sergeant Candace McMackin extended appreciation for the hard work and commitment DFD exemplifies when called to duty.
“You’ve partnered with us on many calls for service and that positive partnership has allowed us to work together on our common goal of community service and protecting the public,” she said, acknowledging family members for their support, as well.
Fire Chief Cam Abrey took the opportunity to present years of service awards to firefighters Dan McKay for 10 years and Dave Height for 15 years of meritorious service.
Abrey announced two honourable mentions to Greg Acevedo who achieved 25 years of service with DFD in 2019.
He noted 2019 marks 25 years with DFD for Allan Gray, plus another 15 years of service with the Office of the Fire Commissioner for 40 years of service in the Manitoba fire service. Acevedo and Gray’s awards will be presented in 2020.
DFD also honoured Jack Bay, who retired in January, putting in 36 years with the department.
Abrey announced a new tradition resurrected from the past, of presenting firefighters with badges.
“This is eligible for any member that has completed the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 1001 standard for firefighter professional qualifications through the Manitoba Emergency Services College, as delivered by Dauphin Fire Department,” he said.
“So these individuals will be presented with a department badge that is personalized with their assigned department number.”
Firefighters receiving their badges recited the oath of office, ‘I do solemnly affirm to do my duty as a firefighter for the Dauphin Fire Department. To the best of my ability, to serve my commanding officers with respect and dignity and to uphold the laws and regulations of the province of Manitoba and the community we serve. Today I accept this badge as a symbol of public trust.’
Abrey wrapped up the evening with the presentation of a challenge coin.
“A challenge coin has a tradition that goes back to World War One. A lot of firefighters carry them with them and this is a unique type of one,” he explained.
Each member of the department was presented an All In coin, Abrey said, which was created by two Alberta firefighters who each lost a close colleague to suicide.
“The objective of the coin is to raise awareness and to aid making conversations around mental wellness for first responders easier. This coin is not to be used as other challenge coins are for drink currency, this is strictly to be used whenever someone feels a struggle and a need to open a conversation about seeking help.”
Abrey explained one side of the coin has a maple leaf, which is the help side, with the word help written in as many different languages as would fit on the coin. The second side has a bison, which is a debrief side.
“All a firefighter has to do is simply slide the coin across the table to a peer, or text a photo of it to someone that they want to speak with and it opens a conversation. The coin is to be taken seriously and represents understanding and non-judgement,” he said.
“So I tell you to carry your coin and look after yourselves. What you see is not what the ordinary person sees and sometimes you’re carrying a lot of baggage. Know that you have people that you can turn to.”

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M. A. Nyquist
REPORTER
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