Bishop fam­ily do­nates Jaws of Life

Life­sav­ing equip­ment given to fire brigade in hon­our of the late Frank Bishop Jr.

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERRY ROBERTS

Fu­neral fund

The Bay de Grave re­gional fire brigade in South River has ac­quired some crit­i­cal and costly life­sav­ing equip­ment, but it wasn’t the re­sult of fundrais­ing or gov­ern­ment largesse.

The Bishop fam­ily of Cupids, which has a long at­tach­ment to the vol­un­teer fire­fight­ing fra­ter­nity in the area, do­nated the hy­draulic ve­hi­cle ex­tri­ca­tion tools — bet­ter known as the Jaws of Life — in hon­our of Frank Bishop Jr., who died trag­i­cally in a plane crash in Labrador in May 2010.

Frank Bishop, 45, was a well­known vol­un­teer, hav­ing served for many years on the now-de­funct Cupids fire brigade, and was a mem­ber of the Cupids town coun­cil at the time of his death. He was also in­stru­men­tal in the cre­ation of the new Bay de Grave depart­ment, which was ac­ti­vated just weeks be­fore his death.

The fam­ily, in­clud­ing Frank Bishop’s widow, Ber­nice, joined with mem­bers of the brigade on July 11 to of­fi­cially hand over the spe­cial­ized equip­ment, which in­cludes tools such as cut­ters, spread­ers and a ram. The tools are used by fire de­part­ments around the world for ex­tri­cat­ing crash vic­tims from ve­hi­cles, and can eas­ily rip a ve­hi­cle to pieces if the need arises.

“ We’re do­ing this in hon­our of Frank, be­cause that’s the type of per­son he was,” said Aubrey Bishop, Frank’s brother and deputy chief of the Bay de Grave fire depart­ment.

“He gave his heart and soul to the fire depart­ment, so what bet­ter way to hon­our his legacy,” added an­other brother, Paul Bishop, a cap­tain with the brigade.

The used hy­draulic tools were pur­chased through an on­line re­tailer in the United States and cost the fam­ily more than $12,000, said Aubrey.

Most of the money was do­nated fol­low­ing Frank Bishop’s death. The fam­ily de­cided it would do­nate all pro­ceeds to the fire depart­ment.

Aubrey and Paul felt the best way to make use of the money was to pur­chase the Jaws of Life.

They said the Fire Comis­sioner’s Of­fice would not sup­port any gov­ern­ment fund­ing for the pur­chase, since it felt that hav­ing the tools in Bay Roberts was suf­fi­cient for the area.

That view was not shared by the Bay de Grave fire­fight­ers, in­clud­ing Chief Jeremy Hall.

“This has en­hanced our pro­tec­tion ser­vices a great deal,” said Hall. He added that most of the two dozen mem­bers of the brigade have com­pleted the two-day ve­hice ex­tri­ca­tion course, and are now ready to use the equip­ment to its fullest po­ten­tial when­ever called upon.

It’s just the lat­est tan­gi­ble ev­i­dence of Frank Bishop’s legacy with the fire depart­ment. His daugh­ter, Cas­san­dra Bishop, be­came the first fe­male to join the brigade last year, and his son, Gre­gory, is also a mem­ber.

In fact, more than one-third of the brigade has a con­nec­tion to the Bishop fam­ily, with Frank Bishop Sr., who served as a vol­un­teer in Cupids for more than 30 years, an hon­ourary fire­fighter with Bay de Grave.

A re­gional as­set

The Bay de Grave depart­ment serves five com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing Cupids, Makin­sons, South River, Clarke’s Beach and North River. Since it was formed just over a year ago, its mem­ber­ship has grown from 15 to 25 mem­bers, with a top of­fi­cial in the pro­vin­cial Fire Com­mis­sioner’s Of­fice re­cently de­scrib­ing the depart­ment as among the best-trained in the prov­ince.

But it’s emer­gence has stirred a de­bate over ju­ris­dic­tion with its neigh­bour­ing brigade in Bay Roberts, specif­i­cally in­volv­ing emer­gen­cies on Vet­er­ans Me­mo­ria l High­way, t h e main ar ter y through Con­cep­tion Bay North, and a small sec­tion of the Trans-Canada High­way. There has been some con­fu­sion dur­ing re­cent emer­gency calls.

Of­fi­cials with the Town of Bay Roberts and the Bay de Grave re­gional mu­nic­i­pal ser­vices cor­po­ra­tion, which over­sees the re­gional ser­vice in South River, have had dis­cus­sions on the is­sue, and those talks are on­go­ing, said Hall.

In the mean­time, he said, Bay de Grave has mapped out what it be­lieves to be its ju­ris­dic­tion:

• Vet­er­ans High­way — the North River over­pass, south to the Tran­sCanada High­way;

• Trans-Canada High­way — west to Hodge­wa­ter Line, and east to Bri­gus Junc­tion.

Hall said Bay de Grave also has a mu­tual aid agree­ment with the fire brigade in Bri­gus for ar­eas such as Roaches Line, and com­mu­ni­ties to the south such as Ge­orgestown and Marys­vale.

As for the ac­qui­si­tion of the Jaws of Life, Hall said it vastly im­proves emer­gency re­sponse ca­pa­bil­i­ties in Con­cep­tion and Trin­ity bays. He said de­part­ments in Holyrood, Bay Roberts, Har­bour Grace, Whit­bourne and Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton also have the tools.

Frank Bishop Jr. died in a plane crash in Labrador in May 2010. The Bishop fam­ily of Cupids do­nated hy­draulic ve­hi­cle ex­tri­ca­tion tools to the Bay de Grave re­gional vol­un­teer fire depart­ment last week. The do­na­tion was in hon­our of the late Frank Bishop Jr., who died in a plane crash last year. Mem­bers of the Bishop fam­ily and vol­un­teers with the fire depart­ment took part in the cer­e­mony.

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