St. Jean Volunteer Fire Department
It was back in the fall of 1959, a group of men gathered for a cup of coffee and it was decided that St. Jean Baptiste and surrounding area was in need of a fire department. The St. Jean Chamber of Commerce organized the fire brigade and raised money through various community efforts and also received a grant from the municipality. Until the truck was ready for service in September of 1960, Fire Chief Roland Valcourt and his members would throw a pump and hoses in the back of a pick-up and respond to the fire. This was the beginning of the St. Jean Fire Brigade.
The fire department certainly has evolved over the last 45 years. With evolution comes education. Our members are continuously educating themselves by taking courses, workshops and training exercises to prepare for any circumstances that might arise. It was in 1986 that Fire Chief Norbert Sabourin realized that responding to the needs of rural calls was not only for fire situations. In a medical circumstance, waiting for an ambulance was often exasperating. It was with this idea, that Norbert Sabourin initiated the First Responder medical program for rural fire departments in Manitoba to work in conjunction with the ambulance service. Today, most rural departments have trained Emergency Medical Responders to complement their team. It is with the trained Emergency Medical Responders that make our department somewhat unique in southern Manitoba. Of our 18 firefighters, 10 are also involved with EMS. This makes for a well rounded team.
In the last few years there have been many changes in the fire department. In 2005, members volunteered over 1000 hours to renovate the fire hall to make room for their new 2005 Freightliner enclosed cab fire truck. A zodiac was also added to the equipment list for emergency situations during spring flooding. The most recent acquisition for the department is one that all members can be very proud. A custom built 2003 Dodge Rescue unit is now in service for the area residents of St. Jean Baptiste. For this dream to become a reality, it took three years of fundraising. The department members worked hard raffling quad tickets and have been involved with the annual St. Jean Quad Derby.