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NCFD marks 75th year with Open House

Here’s a fun opportunity to say thank you to our local firefighters for keeping our community safe!

The North Cedar Fire Department is celebrating 75 years of service to the community with an Open House on Saturday, October 7, between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., at the North Cedar Fire Hall (2100 Yellow Point Road, Cedar). Join in for fun family friendly activities, demonstrations, fire prevention displays and refreshments.

“The membership of the North Cedar Fire Department consists of 31 extremely dedicated community members,” says Fire Chief Percy Tipping. “Our members bring life experience from many backgrounds, but all share the common goal of giving to the community. Our newest members are nearing the completion of their first year of training, and currently, our longest serving member is Steve Dives, who is reaching an incredible 40 years of service this year.”

Tipping has been a member of the department since 1996 and became fire chief in 2010. He started with the Crofton Fire Department at the age of 16 and also worked as a protection officer at Catalyst Paper, Crofton Division, until becoming fire chief in 2012.

Firefighting has changed significantly over the years. Advancement in fire science, modern equipment and technology have changed the way a fire is fought, and with the better training and broad range of services, there are few similarities left between the Air Raid Patrol (ARP) station in the 1940s and today’s fire service.

The unofficial North Cedar Fire Department was formed as an Air Raid Patrol (ARP) as part of the war effort back in January of 1942 and operated out of an old school house that was placed on a lot purchased by fundraising in the community.

The first fire truck was a converted 1934 gravel truck, and in August of 1948, the department officially became the North Cedar Volunteer Fire Department. A new fire hall was built in 1964, and along with it came a brand new Engine built by Hub Fire Engines. There were several additions made to the hall over the years to accommodate truck storage, training and office space, but eventually the department out grew the building. In January of 2006, the department moved into its present location on Yellow Point Road.

As the community has grown, so has the fire department, and today, the department has two engines, a rescue truck, a brush/support truck, a water tender, a rescue boat and a command vehicle.

The services provided have also changed over the years and, in addition to fire suppression, now include medical first responder, response to motor vehicle incidents, swift water rescue, technical rope rescue and limited hazardous materials response. Other services provided by the department are fire prevention and public education sessions, fire inspections and fire investigation.

Last year, the department responded to 350 calls and provided fire protection to over 2100 properties in an area of approximately 45 square kilometers.

As with most fire departments, there are two areas that pose the biggest challenges: firefighter recruitment and retention, and firefighter training.

“There is one thing that has not changed; the dedication and commitment of our members,” says Tipping.

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