30 years of service

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January 19, 2016 12:22 PM

The Lloydminster Rescue Squad officially celebrated three decades — and countless saved lives — in April.
From its humble beginnings to where the squad is today is a terrific story.
“We’ve gone from one truck with eight members, to 21 members and two fully equipped trucks, a dive team, a boat team, a quad, a Gator with tracks, an air boat — we average four or five calls a year with that — and a command unit,” said chief Norm Namur, of Lloydminster Rescue Squad.
“So, we’ve come a tremendously long way.”
Indeed. In their book, Bordering on Greatness: A History of Lloydminster’s First Century, 1903-2003, Franklin Lloyd Foster and Alan Grant Griffith wrote: “The Squad formed after ambulance service in Lloydminster was privatized in the 1980s.
Until then, ambulance personnel performed rescue duties on an as needed basis with minimal equipment and little specialized training. In May of 1985 Graham Howie began the Rescue Squad with a donated old oilfield truck and a small grant from the hospital board … It began with eight individuals whose only motive and reward was helping other people in times of crisis.
Its first headquarters was the parking lot of the hospital.”
“Our mandate,” said Namur, “is vehicle extrication services in the RM of Britania and the RM of Wilton, and we also provide extrication services up to Range Road 23 in the County of Vermilion River.”
While not a first-response organization — first responders are typically employees of an emergency service who are likely to be among the first people to arrive, and provide pre-hospital care at the scene of an emergency — “We do have five first-responders and an EMT (emergency medical technician), so we have a wide variety of medically trained people on the squad,” Namur said.
The Squad currently has 21 members, but no females. “Women would be — and always have been — welcome on the squad,” said Namur.
“We’ve had females on the squad in the past, but they’ve moved on to bigger and better things.”
The squad is funded primarily through public and private business donations, with some funds coming through the RM of Britannia, the RM of Wilton and the county of Vermilion.
However,  the Squad of volunteers does charge for the service.
“So, for example, if two vehicles crash up north on Hwy. 17, we would bill the insurance company,” Namur said.
And people get what they pay for.
“We try and keep very current with the training and with the equipment that’s out there,” said the chief.
“As vehicles change, our equipment needs to change as well, to some degree (and) as the car technology changes, so does the rescue technology have to change with that.”
The training and equipment is necessary for the more than 100 diverse calls the squad averages throughout the year.
“Not all of those are extrication; some are searches, some of them are, when we get there, we’ll just do traffic control, so it’s not all bad calls,” Namur said.
“In the summer we can be at three or four water calls, and at any given time we’re prepared to go do a search on the river.”
Once a call comes in, the Squad can be mobilized within a minute or two during the day, and the time goes to eight to nine minutes when volunteers are called to the hall.

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