Safety Stars shine in eyes of Langley firefighters

When it comes to fire and life safety, there are a number of local people and businesses who have been recognized for all they do to keep their homes, workplaces, and the community free from harm.

Since 1997, the Township of Langley Fire Department has been recognizing its Safety Stars by presenting them with awards, giving them the opportunity to don turn-out gear and “train” with firefighters, and treating them to lunch with fire crews, officers, and dignitaries. 

This year, the department honoured its 2014 Safety Stars on October 15 and introduced a new category. An Industry Award commemorating fire-safe developers was presented and the inaugural recipients were Marcon Construction and Quadra Homes.

“The Township of Langley is experiencing growth and when projects are brought forward in the planning and development stage, the fire department provides input to ensure new buildings are safe and up to code,” said Assistant Fire Chief Pat Walker. 

“There are two developers that stand out for recognizing that building codes and standards are minimum standards – and they always exceed that minimum,” he said. 

Accepting the Industry Safety Star awards were Marco Paolella of Marcon Construction and Shawn Bouchard of Quadra Homes. 

Township Fire Chief Stephen Gamble and Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese presented Safety Star awards to:

Action category 

• Kennedy Jones: A six-year-old who attends Topham Elementary School, Kennedy was at home with her family when she smelled smoke. She alerted everyone, and the family got out and called 911. 

“We are so very pleased with her efforts to save her family that in addition to being a Safety Star, the Township Fire Department also made her our Junior Fire Chief for a Day,” said public education officer Captain Gary Proznick.

• Ryan Valdes: A medical technician at Thunderbird Show Park, Valdes had already done a medical assessment, administered oxygen, and put a C-Spine collar on a patient by the time fire crews arrived.

• Ken Shaw: Shaw assisted emergency responders by directing traffic at the scene of an early morning accident on 208th Street last year. Wearing a high-visibility vest, he helped create a safer place for crews to work in.

• Alliance Concrete Pumps – Jay Miller: After an annual inspection noted a number of safety deficiencies, Alliance Concrete Pumps heavily invested in providing a safe work atmosphere for their employees and spent close to $500,000 within four months to rectify the issues. 

• Const. Kevin Gilderdale: A member of the Langley RCMP B Watch, Gilderdale entered a home and garage that was full of carbon monoxide to remove a distraught man from a running car. His quick actions helped save the man’s life. 

• Janis and Mathew Choquette and Heather Innes: The trio helped save the life of a man who almost drowned in Fort Langley last spring. The man was seen rowing without a life jacket and as a result of a medical issue, he fell into the Bedford Channel and was unable to swim or stay afloat in the current.  

• Karen Antonishka: An employee of Walnut Grove Glass, Karen saw that a co-worker’s shirt had caught fire and the flames were quickly spreading onto his work bench. She ripped his shirt off him, then smothered the fire on the work bench with a towel. 

• Robin Bajer and Sharon Bajer: Last summer, the brother and sister came across a car accident where a vehicle was on fire. They pulled the driver away, then went back to check for passengers and removed a second person before the entire front end of the car became fully engulfed in flames.  

Advocate category

• Peggy McLay: A Langley teacher who recently retired after 37 years, McLay has been instrumental in supporting the Township’s Fire and Life Safety programs. As a kindergarten teacher, she would bring her young students to visit the Murrayville fire hall, and while teaching at Langley Fundamental Elementary, McLay would welcome firefighters to her classrooms to teach students how to contact emergency services and plan a family escape route.   

Partner category

• Peter and Vivian Andersen: As owners of Al Scott Lock and Safe, the Andersens spend hours doing research and development work for the Township Fire Department. Their expertise has increased the security of the Department’s Lock Box Program, which allows first responders to enter buildings without causing extra damage during an emergency. 

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