Safe Community Volunteers

Safe Community gives back to emergency volunteers

Each year volunteer fire departments across North America count on funding grants to buy equipment that saves lives and keeps communities safe. Just ask Chris Schaefer and Doug Bennett, two Enbridge employees who also work as volunteer firefighters.

Schaefer is Assistant Chief and Training Officer for the Burlington Fire Department in Burlington, North Dakota, while Bennett is Deputy Fire Chief for the Redvers Fire Department in Redvers, Saskatchewan. Thanks to their efforts, their volunteer-based organizations secured funding this year through Enbridge's Safe Community Program, which provides financial support to firefighters and other first response agencies.

Both organizations rely on donations such as the ones from Enbridge to continue to provide the best service possible to their communities.

"Our fire department is a non-profit organization so we have limited funds to work with every year," said Schaefer, who works as Maintenance Technician for Enbridge Pipelines in Minot, North Dakota.  "Our membership has grown recently. We're going to use this money to buy pagers for all our firefighters."

Bennett says the donation will help his organization with fundraising to replace an aging fire truck.  "One of our two trucks is more than 30 years old and recently had a pump test failure. So it has to be replaced. We're looking to purchase a used vehicle to provide backup support," said Bennett, an Operator at Enbridge's Alida Terminal.

Both rural fire departments are counted on to provide emergency services across large areas.

"When people call us and they're in dire straits — whether it's a fire or car accident — it's critical that we help the community out," said Schaefer, whose department covers a 120 square miles. "We respond to a lot of grass fires, structure fires and rescues. It keeps us busy."

Bennett says, "We get calls two to three times a month for different emergencies. We're one of the few local departments in the area with emergency jaws-of-life training, so we frequently get called if there's been a vehicle accident."

Both men share a deep commitment to their volunteer profession. Bennett is a seven-year volunteer while Schaefer is now in his third year as a firefighter. They say the Enbridge funding is another sign that the work they do is important and taken seriously.

"This program is just one way for Enbridge to give back to the thousands of men and women who help keep Enbridge right-of-way communities safe," said Lorna St. Thomas, Enbridge's Senior Advisor of Community Investment.

Now in its third year, the Safe Community Program has provided funding to emergency response organizations near Enbridge’s rights-of-way in Canada and the United States.

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