The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs recognizes Fire Prevention Week
October 13, 2018
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) recognizes Fire Prevention Week, which runs from October 7 to 13. During this week, children, adults, and teachers learn how to stay safe in a fire.
“The AMC urges First Nations citizens to prepare for fires,” said Grand Chief Arlen Dumas. “It’s important for families and individuals to plan for their safety during an emergency—everyone should think about how they will safely get out of their home if there is a fire. It is also important for our leaders to have emergency management plans in place for their First Nations.”
Earlier this year, the AMC hosted a Fire Preparedness Forum for First Nations in Thompson, Manitoba. Representatives from 26 First Nations attended event, which brought First Nations citizens together with staff from organizations such as the Canadian Red Cross, Prairie Climate Centre, Indigenous Services Canada, Manitoba Sustainable Development’s Wildfire Program, First Nations and Inuit Health, and the Assembly of First Nations.
Participants heard from the various organizations and had the opportunity to ask questions regarding safety planning for First Nations. A number of recommendations came out of the Forum, including:
- First Nations need enhanced funding for overall fire preparedness to include infrastructure, equipment, capacity/training, etc.
- First Nations require ready tables in each community to fight wildfires.
- First Nations would benefit from bulk purchasing of equipment.
- First Nations need clarification on traditional territories and who pays for wildfires in these areas.
- First Nations need own representative(s) in a liaison role working with the province, Indigenous Services Canada, Canadian Red Cross, etc.
- First Nations need ongoing fire training, preferably certified.
- The province needs to change the mandate to action of fires; it costs less to action a fire earlier.
- The province needs to use trained First Nation personnel and crews to assist in provincial fires.
- First Nations need nurses and health care providers in the community during emergencies and evacuations.
- First Nations need help ensuring greater communication, collaboration, and understanding of where to go during emergencies.
- There needs to be greater collaboration to ensure streamlined services and solving of issues and problems for First Nations in areas of emergency management and health.
- First Nations need enhanced mental health services after dealing with evacuations.
- First Nations need to develop capacity and create an Indigenous led organization to take on the work of the Canadian Red Cross.
The AMC recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Canadian Red Cross to help provide emergency response training for First Nations in Manitoba. The two organizations will work together on a variety of projects to help First Nations prepare for emergencies, including a plan to increase multi-level first aid training that supports emergency response in isolated communities.
“I commend the First Nations that shared their recommendations with us at the Fire Preparedness Forum this year,” stated Grand Chief Dumas. “I encourage all of the leaders to continue working on the issue of fire safety and emergency management. I look forward to the increased capacity our First Nations will experience in the near future thanks to our partnership with the Canadian Red Cross.”
- You can read the AMC’s full report from the Fire Preparedness Forum here.
- Individuals and families can find ideas on preparing for a fire or other emergency here.