AMHERST, N.S. – It looks like any other tent, but this red one only gets set up when things get serious.
“We call it the Rehab Tent,” Fire Chief Greg Jones said. “Some firefighters want to go, go, go when we’re out on a call. The tent provides all of us with a safe environment to get properly hydrated and rested, and ready to safely get back on the job.”
The tent was donated to the department by the Amherst Firefighter Ladies Auxiliary in January.
“The auxiliary approached me in 2017 asking what item we’d like to have that would support the department. I suggested a rehab tent,” Jones said. “This isn’t the first time they’ve helped us get a piece of equipment we needed. Previous to this, the most recent help came through the purchase of a trauma kit that we use for rehab while on scene.”
The auxiliary raised funds for the $1,800 tent through 50-50 ticket sales at its weekly bingo, monthly bake sales and its annual toy bingo.
“The Ladies Auxiliary is proud and honoured to be able to provide our department with this piece of equipment,” Tammy Megeney, auxiliary president, said. “Our main function is to support and give aid to the Amherst Firefighter’s Association when requested, but we also keep in close contact with Chief Jones on what kind of equipment they may need that would not be covered in their budget.”
When it’s not in use, the tent, which can hold about 15 people, sits in the back of Truck 5.
Prior to the arrival of the tent, which can be set up in about five minutes, firefighters recuperated in full view of the public.
“Firefighters would jump in the back of the trucks while recovering or they’d sit in chairs that were set up around the rescue truck,” the chief said. “The tent gives them a little more privacy as they get ready to go again.”
The tent will also give firefighters a place to get out of the elements.
“If we were out in the snow, wind and freezing cold, the tent would give them an opportunity to get out of the wind and away from the falling snow,” Jones said. “In the summer, when the inside of your bunker gear can be 10 degrees warmer than the ambient temperature, it will give them a place to recuperate out of the sun, and to sit in our rehab chairs that have special spots for ice that will help cool them down.”
In the event of an injury to a firefighter or a citizen, the tent can also provide a private spot away from prying eyes to conduct first aid until the paramedics arrive and take over the care of the injured person, he added.
“All the department’s firefighters are grateful for the support we get from the Ladies Auxiliary, and we can’t thank them enough for this latest donation,” Jones said. “The rehab tent goes a long way to ensure the safety and privacy of our members.”