By Amanda Perreault
Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation – Community safety will benefit in Nigigoonsiminikaaning and Couchiching First Nations with help from the Hamilton Fire Department. At Hamilton At the Healthy and Safe Communities Department Committee meeting, the Hamilton Fire Department is seeking approval to donate two surplus fire trucks to the Nigigoonsiminikaaning and Couchiching First Nations Communities to help address their need for fire apparatus equipment.
Recently, the Ontario Chief Coroner announced that an investigation will be taking place as a result of dozens of residential fires in Indigenous Communities that have killed nearly 60 people in just over a decade. Six Nations Fire Chief Matthew Miller (who is also the president of the Ontario Native Fire Fighters Society) raised concerns about the adequacy of First Nations fire protection levels.
Many First Nations communities have a great need for fire apparatus, but no funding to acquire them. To help address this, the Hamilton Fire Department reached out to the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal, who oversees the Northern Ontario Fire Protection Program about the possibility of donating two surplus fire trucks to benefit First Nation communities.
The Hamilton Fire Department also worked closely with the Senior Project Manager of the City of Hamilton’s Urban Indigenous Strategy. Following Council approval, the Nigigoonsiminikaaning and Couchiching First Nations Communities will each receive a 1997 Freightliner 3 – person, commercial cab vehicle with a 1,350 gallon water tank and a 420 gallon per minute pump. The Hamilton Fire Department Mechanical Division will conduct a full vehicle safety inspection and complete any necessary repairs before each fire vehicle is delivered.