Putting it in writing
Three local fire departments ink mutual aid agreement
It may not be cast in stone, but at least the volunteer fire departments in Victoria, Salmon Cove and Carbonear now have it in writing that they will provide mutual aid to each other in emergency situations.
The document basically formalizes an unwritten, informal arrangement that had already been in place for decades.
The Victoria Volunteer Fire Department wrote their counterparts in Carbonear and Salmon Cove last month asking for the agreements to be put in writing. The request was prompted by a call the Victoria department received from a Salmon Cove resident.
“ The (Victoria) fire department received a call from a resident of Salmon Cove whose house had filled with smoke,” according to the minutes of the March 21 regular council meeting.
“Apparently, they (Salmon Cove resident) could not get in touch with their department, so they called Victoria. When the (Victoria) fire department arrived in Salmon Cove, they contacted the fire chief but he was out of town,” the minutes state.
Victoria Fire Chief Jim Layden told The Compass, “ before we left the fire hall we tried to get hold to the ( Salmon Cove-Perry’s Cove) fire department. Besides the fire chief, we didn’t know anybody else to call at the time,” Chief Layden said.
He said Chief Bob Rossiter has since provided them with a list of names of other people to call in Salmon Cove in future.
Layden said they received a call from the Salmon Cove brigade afterwards, thanking their help that day.
Chief Bob Rossiter also confirmed their appreciation to their neighbouring firefighters in an interview with The Compass.
He felt “this was a good example of how mutual aid works.” He said the incident was only a hot water boiler, which had overheated filling a house with smoke, but it could have been anything.
Referring to the volunteer firefighters, he said everyone happened
for to be out of town that day. Apparently, it’s not unusual for most of the volunteer firefighters to be out of town during the day considering the fact most of them work outside the community.
“In the middle of the day, I’m lucky to get three fellas because they’re all working,” Chief Rossiter said. “ That’s where mutual aid really kicks in and takes the pressure off me - I know we can rely on Victoria.”
But it works both ways, the chief noted, pointing out, “it just works hand in hand - whatever we can do to help out Victoria we would do.”
He said the mutual aid agreement has been in place since 1983, and has worked to the benefit of both departments.
Rossiter, who has been involved with the Salmon Cove-Perry’s Cove Volunteer Fire Department since its inception in 1983, recalled they were set up in the first place because it was felt the Salmon Cove-Perry’s Cove area was too far for Victoria to have to respond to fires.
He recalled one time there were two chimney fires in Victoria at the same time. Victoria responded to one while Salmon Cove handled the other - another example of mutual aid in action.
Gerald Harris handles animal control services for the towns of Clarke’s Beach and Spaniard’s Bay. Those two communities are hoping to convince others to join them in sharing the costs associated with his work.