Com­bin­ing forces to fight fire

Lewisporte and Brown’s Arm come to­gether to es­tab­lish Lewisporte Re­gional Fire Res­cue

The Central Voice - - Front Page - BY KYLE GREENHAM

The com­mu­ni­ties of Brown’s Arm and Lewisporte are join­ing forces to be­come one re­gional fire ser­vice.

Brown’s Arm and Lewisporte made their new depart­ment of­fi­cial on Wed­nes­day evening, Oct. 10. They will be known as Lewisporte Re­gional Fire Res­cue.

While they are com­ing to­gether as one depart­ment, the lo­cal ser­vice dis­trict of Brown’s Arm will still main­tain its own fire sta­tion, with the sig­nage and iden­tity of Brown’s Arm Fire Sta­tion. The sta­tion will still have its rank­ing and mem­ber­ship struc­ture and be able to hold its own fundrais­ers.

How­ever, the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the sta­tion will now fall un­der the re­gional fire ser­vice.

Ken Tucker, chair of Lewisporte coun­cil’s pro­tec­tive ser­vices com­mit­tee, says Brown’s Arm will have its own rep­re­sen­ta­tive on both the town’s pro­tec­tive ser­vices com­mit­tee and di­rectly with Lewisporte Re­gional Fire Res­cue.

“We will meet reg­u­larly on the ser­vices com­mit­tee to dis­cuss ad­min­is­tra­tion of the fire depart­ment,” Tucker told The Cen­tral Voice. “Brown’s Arm will have a voice both on the ad­min­is­tra­tive coun­cil level and at the fire depart­ment level.”

With the op­por­tu­nity for added sup­port and re­sources from Lewisporte’s fire depart­ment, and train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties the com­mu­nity would oth­er­wise not re­ceive, chair­man of the Brown’s Arm lo­cal ser­vice dis­trict Der­rick Luff says his com­mu­nity has a lot to gain with this new pro­ject.

With the op­por­tu­nity for added sup­port and re­sources from Lewisporte’s fire depart­ment, and train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties the com­mu­nity would oth­er­wise not re­ceive, chair­man of the Brown’s Arm lo­cal ser­vice dis­trict Der­rick Luff says his com­mu­nity has a lot to gain with this new pro­ject.

“We will be much bet­ter equipped as a com­bined depart­ment,” said Luff. “With their re­sources and train­ing it will make our depart­ment more ef­fi­cient; our fire­fight­ers def­i­nitely feel they will ben­e­fit from this sys­tem.”

Af­ter the pro­posed pro­ject for a re­gional fire depart­ment in­clud­ing a num­ber of com­mu­ni­ties in the area fell through, Brown’s Arm ini­tially reached out to Lewisporte in hopes of still es­tab­lish­ing a re­gional depart­ment, but now on a smaller scale.

A sim­i­lar re­gional pro­ject is un­der­way be­tween the com­mu­ni­ties of Camp­bell­ton, Birchy Bay, Loon Bay and Com­fort Cove-New­stead.

Lewisporte Mayor Betty Clarke says the town is very pleased with the op­por­tu­nity to re­gion­al­ize with Brown’s Arm, and would wel­come sim­i­lar op­por­tu­ni­ties with neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties like Em­bree or Lit­tle Burnt Bay in the fu­ture.

Ben­e­fits

Par­tic­u­larly around li­a­bil­ity, Tucker says this re­gional ser­vice also pro­vides ma­jor ben­e­fits for Lewisporte.

“By hav­ing this re­gional fire depart­ment in place, it ad­dresses any is­sues of li­a­bil­ity that we had with send­ing our fire­fight­ers out­side the ju­ris­dic­tion of Lewisporte,” said Tucker. “With these con­cerns ad­dressed, we’re much more com­fort­able now.”

Luff agrees that this is­sue around li­a­bil­ity has be­come a greater con­cern in re­cent years.

“Through the year Lewisporte has al­ways been there when we had a ma­jor fire,” said Luff. “But in this day and age you need to have some kind of agree­ment in place if those sit­u­a­tions come up.”

With the added sup­port of Brown’s Arm ap­prox­i­mately 15 fire­fight­ers, Tucker says there may some­day be a sit­u­a­tion in Lewisporte where that ad­di­tional man­power will come in hand.

In­de­pen­dence and co­op­er­a­tion

There is still con­sid­er­able in­de­pen­dence with each com­mu­nity, and both Luff and Clarke stress that Brown’s Arm will main­tain its iden­tity even af­ter fall­ing un­der this new ju­ris­dic­tion.

Brown’s Arm will still be re­spon­si­ble for the costs around op­er­at­ing and main­tain­ing its own sta­tion. The res­i­dents of Brown’s Arm will still have to pay a ser­vice fee for fire pro­tec­tion, cur­rently set at $110 per year, but the funds will now be di­rected to the Lewisporte Re­gional Fire Res­cue.

Ac­cord­ing to Tucker, there are no changes in ser­vice fees for Lewisporte res­i­dents.

Now that the agree­ment be­tween the com­mu­ni­ties has been signed and the new Lewisporte Re­gional Fire Res­cue es­tab­lished, the mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers hope it can stand as a strong ex­am­ple as these re­gional projects be­come more prom­i­nent across New­found­land and Labrador.

“It sup­ports the spirit of co­op­er­a­tive fire­fight­ing and ser­vices,” said Tucker. “That’s the way that we’re go­ing in the fu­ture. Ev­ery com­mu­nity, even Lewisporte, is find­ing it tougher to re­cruit vol­un­teers.

“This shows that com­mu­ni­ties can work to­gether for a com­mon goal.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Lewisporte and Brown’s Arm signed an agree­ment of­fi­cially es­tab­lish­ing Lewisporte Re­gional Fire Res­cue on Wed­nes­day, Oct. 10. At the front ta­ble, from left to right, Lewisporte Coun­cil­lor Ken Tucker, Lewisporte Mayor Betty Clarke, Lewisporte Fire Chief Rob Fudge, Brown’s Arm Fire Sta­tion Chief Mark Porter, Brown’s Arm lo­cal ser­vice dis­trict chair­man Der­rick Luff, and Lewisporte-Twill­ingate MHA Derek Ben­nett. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Lewisporte Fire Res­cue, the Brown’s Arm Fire Depart­ment, Lewisporte Town Coun­cil, the lo­cal ser­vice dis­trict of Brown’s Arm and the Brown’s Arm Firettes also at­tended.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Lewisporte Mayor Betty Clarke speaks be­fore those in at­ten­dance. She says it’s im­por­tant that both fire sta­tions can now work to­gether and si­mul­ta­ne­ously main­tain their iden­ti­ties.

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