Max Fire Department benefits from annual donation, training


Mark Loats, operations and maintenance supervisor at PrairieWinds 1 (right), presents the Max Fire Department with its annual $500 donation. Accepting the donation is Cody Swanson, chief of the Max Fire Department. 

Every October during Fire Prevention Month, Basin Electric’s Charitable Giving Program donates $500 to the fire departments located near its facilities throughout its service area. The donations have been done annually for the past seven years in appreciation for their preparedness to assist if it is ever needed.

Around the same time, annual awareness training is held at many of Basin Electric’s facilities to help familiarize emergency responders with the facilities and go over what policies and procedures are in place should an emergency ever occur.

The Max Fire Department in Max, ND benefits from both the donation and the training each year. Fire Chief Cody Swanson says the small volunteer fire department is able to send several firefighters to the state fire school each February for training thanks to the donation. “Since we are all volunteers, training is very important, and Basin Electric’s donation helps us send people to this valuable event that otherwise wouldn’t have been able to attend,” he says.

Since Max is located near PrairieWinds 1, Basin Electric’s wind project south of Minot, ND, the Max Fire Department, as well as the county sheriff and ambulance service, participate in an annual training session conducted by Basin Electric’s safety personnel. “The training goes over what we have in place, what the first responders might encounter in an emergency at the wind farm, what Basin Electric staff is responsible for, and what we expect from them,” says Kelly Schafer, safety coordinator with Basin Electric, who conducts the annual training. “We also give them the location of each turbine and a map to show them how to get to each one.”

Swanson says he has attended many of these training sessions, and makes sure to send any new firefighters that come on board so they can be prepared and educated in the event of an emergency at PrairieWinds. “The training is interesting and beneficial, because wind projects are different from what we usually deal with,” Swanson says. “While the staff at the project is mainly responsible for emergency response if anything happens, it is good for us to know where we could help. And every once in a while, we give our two cents about how to improve the process based on our experience.”

“The annual donation and training fit perfectly with Basin Electric’s safety culture,” Schafer says. “Both of them are done to ensure the safety of our employees and the communities where they live.”

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