Putting it in writ­ing

Three lo­cal fire de­part­ments ink mu­tual aid agree­ment

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY BILL BOW­MAN

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

them

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.

Photo by Andrew Robin­son/The Com­pass

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.

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