Canadian firefighters considered angels by Mexican colleagues

A group of local firefighters can’t imagine not having the proper safety gear before venturing into a burning building, but in Mexico that is the reality.

Turner Valley Fire Chief Glenn Baxter was shocked to learn how ill-equipped Mexican firefighters are. Nine years ago he learned about the Angels for Mexico non-profit charity, which supplies emergency service equipment to fire halls in impoverished regions.

Baxter saw for himself how little they have when he joined Angels for Mexico volunteers on a trip to Puerto Vallarta in 2009 to outfit a fire hall.

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Turner Valley fire chief Glenn Baxter helps support the Angels for Mexico initiative. (Photo: Brent Calver/OWW)

“They had one bunker jacket so the first guy there gets the jacket,” he said. “They have very little. Since we started helping they are fully equipped, the next community over is fully equipped and it’s spreading in the outlining areas.”

The Turner Valley Fire Department has supported Angels for Mexico for all of its 10 years by donating equipment that’s surpassed its regulated shelf life. The Black Diamond department has also contributed.

Each year, Baxter joins volunteers to provide supplies and train firefighters. This fall he will travel to Zacualpan.

“If we have the skills and resources, why shouldn’t we share what we have and the knowledge and ability to help them along,” he said.

The experience for Baxter, who is now on the Angels for Mexico board of directors, has been both humbling and rewarding.


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