The Lac La Hache Volunteer Fire Department remains a home for “true volunteers.”
That’s how fire chief Terry Murphy sees his 18-strong team of volunteer on-call firefighters. Murphy said that in his 16 years at the department he’s seen a consistent commitment to the community and those who pass through it from all of his comrades.
“I love firefighting. I love the crew that I get to engage with, I don’t like to say lead,” Murphy said. “The work that we do as true volunteers to support the community and the people travelling through our community is, to me, second to none.”
Knocking on wood, Murphy said that this year his department has not been called to any structure fires and have only fought four grassfires. They were also not called on to fight the wildfires and instead spent the summer on standby, ready to assist other departments should the fires have taken a turn for the worse.
“It was pretty challenging to be sitting around but at the same time we have to look after our own folks too, so we had to be ready to respond to anything,” Murphy said.
Due to Lac La Hache’s location along Highway 97, Murphy said 95 percent of the calls his team responds to are motor vehicle incidents. These are often serious high-speed accidents so the department has become seasoned with redirecting traffic and securing the scene. Preserving the health of Lac La Hache residents and the “travelling public” is always their top priority, he said.
With winter on the way, Murphy said his team is readying themselves for the “annual meeting of the summer tire club.” On the first snowfall of the year, he said they tend to receive a lot of calls for fender benders, cars in ditches and other accidents.
“We prep well in advance of every season,” Murphy said. “As far as the fall season, the icy road conditions coming up, we’ve already trained for all that. Winter is coming so (I’d ask the public to) slow down, take your time and have good winter tires on.”
Murphy said he’s always looking to recruit new firefighters for the hall. The demographics of Lac La Hache tend to skew towards the older side, so retention of crew members is always a challenge. Murphy said being a firefighter is an amazing way to meet the community and become deeply involved with it.
Anyone looking to join the department is invited to call the hall at 250-396-4112. Murphy said he listens to the messages once a week and will reach out to any applicants.