RDEK and Radium pool funds to fight fires

Radium Hot Springs and RDEK have spent years discussing the possibility of acquiring a water truck

The Village of Radium Hot Springs and the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) have spent several years discussing the possibility of acquiring a water truck to shuttle water to the surrounding communities who are coping with emergency areas that do not have fire hydrants.

The RDEK approached the Village of Radium Hot Springs to develop a strategy for fire protection outside of its’ boundaries to support their mutual aid agreements with other communities.

“This is specifically because we provide support halfway to Edgewater and to Dry Gulch, so essentially, we provide fire protection to where the boundary is for Shuswap territory because everything past that becomes Invermere,” explained mayor Clara Reinhardt, adding the municipality would contribute five per cent of the capital cost of buying the fire truck. “It’s going to be a basic water truck so that we can bring water to the site because all of our equipment is based on having access to fire hydrants and if we have to go out and attend a fire in any of the outlying areas, they don’t have fire hydrants, so we have to be able to take water with us and have the equipment so that we can pump out of the nearest water source, whether that’s a river or a creek.”

There have been a wide variety of ideas floating between the RDEK and the Village of Radium Hot Springs.

“The possible need for a new water tender in Radium to serve the rural areas was highlighted as a priority project by the RDEK Board of Directors,” Sanford Brown, RDEK manager, building and protective services, wrote by e-mail. “We are currently working with the Village of Radium Hot Springs to evaluate the need and consider options.”

But there are some priorities that rank high for the village.

“The plan is to also have a submersible pump so that we can also drop in directly from the creek or the pond, depending on where the fire is,” added Ms. Reinhardt.

Previously, the Village of Radium Hot Springs has dealt with fires with the support of their peers (surrounding municipalities) who loan out their water trucks.

“It’s on the work plan on the RDEK strategic plan,” she said. “Probably in the next year or two.”

But ultimately, the RDEK will be responsible for setting up a timeline on this project.

“We do not have a project cost or completion date at this time,” concluded Mr. Brown.