Grand Forks Fire/Rescue (GFFR) will not host its annual open house next month, according to Chief George Seigler.
The department normally hosts the event in early October in support of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA’s) Fire Prevention Week.
Seigler said the department cancelled this year’s open house because COVID-19 cases were too high in the Grand Forks Local Health Area, which includes the city and Christina Lake. The Interior Health Authority’s recent numbers, published Wednesday, Sept. 15, showed a decrease in new area cases, but Seigler said he and other commanding officers felt that hosting any sort of gathering would put their members and the community at risk of catching the coronavirus.
“It’s not something we want to roll the dice on,” Seigler said.
To that point, the department extended last week’s pause on training exercises for another two weeks starting Thursday.
“If we had even one case come in, that could potentially wipe out the whole department’s ability to respond effectively,” Seigler explained.
GFFR will reassess the local COVID-19 situation on Sept. 30.
Chief Rich Piché said he hoped to deliver the message of the NFPA’s theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety.”