2018 Flood Emergency Responder FLB Recipient Stories

We’re pleased to announce the flood emergency responder recipients of this year’s Flood Legacy Bursary.

Learn more about the Flood Legacy Bursary, and sign up for an email reminder to apply!

Kevin MacMillan – Rocky View County

I Have been a firefighter with Rocky View County since 2015, and am also an active member of High River Fire Department and Foothills Fire Department.

I took an ice rescue course with Travis a couple of weeks ago and loved the course. He was an amazing instructor and I learned a lot. I have never taken swiftwater rescue before and have heard Raven’s course is outstanding.

During the 2013 floods, I lived in downtown Calgary just north of the stampede grounds, where I also worked as a carpenter. The morning of the floods I woke up to go in early to help at the grounds. As I rode my bike towards the grounds, I rode through water a couple of feet deep. Police had roads shut down, and people were getting evacuated from their homes.

I rode to the Victoria Park station and stopped on top of the walkway to see Mcleod trail looking like a river. I kept on going into the grounds only to find the barns completely gone.  25th Ave was also under water. By the time I circled back to the main parking lot, I noticed it was starting to go under water, too.

I decided to go home and then had to evacuate my house. I had to stay with a friend for a few days, but then had to go back to work and try and help clean up the mess at the grounds.

I now work with three departments and volunteer with one other. They all have water in their area. I would love to get my swiftwater rescue course so that I can be a better flood emergency responder and pass knowledge on to my fellow firefighters.

Sameer Shakya – High River Fire Department

I am a volunteer firefighter with High River Fire Department.  I have been part of the department 2008, initially as a volunteer and now as a volunteer and PPC.

The morning of the flood of 2013, before I went to my full-time work in downtown Calgary, I woke up and went to check the water level on Highwood River.  Then I made a call to the fire chief asking if he needed me.  He told me to be available, but that I wasn’t needed at that moment. 

That was around 0500h, so I left for work. 

But by approximately 0800h, I got a text from my wife to come back home, as she was getting water in her work (in downtown High River).  When I got back to town I rushed to get my son from his daycare, which was full of water about few hours later.  After that, I rushed to man one of the command trucks. I didn’t even have time to get my bunker gear from the main hall.

Initially, I was in one of the command trucks just to monitor the NW quadrant of the town, but very quickly the decision was to made evacuate and I found myself driving around announcing the evacuation order.  It was a surreal experience as the water levels were rising as I went from block to block, which included the neighbourhood of my son’s daycare.  After this it was all just a blur…

… I remember using a front-end loader to rescue people in the front ‘bucket.’ I am so very grateful to the civilian who volunteered his brand new front-end loader…

… I remember not being able to talk to anybody over the radio, as the radio traffic was just insane…

… I remember the feeling of helplessness as I didn’t have the proper flood emergency responder training or the tools (at least for the first few days), while I was stuck in the NW quadrant…

Since then I have had some major life changes but I believe I, as a firefighter and an individual, have been more challenged and persevered.

I thank Raven for providing this opportunity and hope I am a successful candidate for this bursary.