Fire Department purchases new gas monitor

Enbridge Regional Emergency Response Coordinator Gary Radtke, Winkler Deputy Fire Chief Garry Reimer, Fire Chief Richard Paetzold and Enbridge Gretna area manager Gerry Book. (LAUREN MACGILL, Winkler Times)

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The Winkler Fire Department recently purchased a new gas monitor thanks to a donation from Enbridge.

The portable multi-gas monitor can test for a range of threats and Winkler Fire Chief Richard Paetzold said the monitor will give the department more warning in case of events like a chlorine leak. “It would very easily give us the picture of whether we have to shelter in place a whole pile of people or is the plume going up and away,” he said. “The last thing we want to do in a toxic spill is evacuate… this monitoring is part of that first key to make timely and critical decisions to keep the public safe.”

This is the first such monitor the fire department has owned. Paetzold said the department has used a monitor from the Office of the Fire Commissioner, but it required more training to use.

“This is just like all the other monitoring stuff we have where you turn it on and it’s checking five gases all the time,” he said. “It just gives us that instantaneous protection that we need.”

The monitor checks for all the same gases as the old monitors (hydrogen sulfide, oxygen, carbon monoxide) and also checks for volatile organic compounds, chlorine and ammonia.

Enbridge donated $6,500, which covered the cost of the device.  The money comes from the company’s Safe Community program, and Gretna area manager Gerry Book said the goal is to help out communities. “We work through these communities but we also live in these communities too,” he said. “If we can help then it helps everybody.”

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