Public aware­ness helps re­duce fire calls

Salmon Cove-Perry’s Cove fire chief re­ports

The Compass - - OPINION - BY BILL BOW­MAN

In­creas­ing public aware­ness of fire safety is help­ing to re­duce the num­ber of fire calls the Salmon Cove- Perry’s Cove Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment is re­ceiv­ing, ac­cord­ing to veteran Fire Chief Bob Ros­siter.

The fire depart­ment re­sponded to 10 calls for ser­vice last year. That’s down by about a third from the pre­vi­ous 12 months.

Speak­ing be­fore about 140 fire­men, firettes and guests who turned out at the Salmon Cove-perry’s Cove Fire Depart­ment Com­mu­nity Cen­tre Feb. 11 for the an­nual fire­men’s ball, Chief Ros­siter re­ported: “Un­for­tu­nately, we had one fatal­ity in our town in­volv­ing a ve­hi­cle aci­dent in June of last year. We used the ser­vices of the Har­bour Grace Vol­un­teer Fire Brigade’s jaws of life (ex­tri­ca­tion de­vice) to re­move the vic­tim.”

Long-term com­mit­ment

Ros­siter said the depart­ment has two ac­tive mem­bers with 25 years ser­vice and four ac­tive mem­bers with 20 years ser­vice. They also have two 15-year mem­bers; four 10-year mem­bers and four five-year vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers.

“This shows com­mit­ment from our end and we’re cer­tainly get­ting sup­port from the town,” Ros­siter ob­served.

Salmon Cove- Perry’s Cove Mayor Nathan Gra­ham agreed.

“Vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers bring much to their com­mu­nity in­clud­ing: skills, ad­vice, ex­pe­ri­ence, friend­ship, vi­sion, lead­er­ship and in­spi­ra­tion,” Mayor Gra­ham said. “But most of all … fire­fight­ers choose to do­nate the most pre­cious com­mod­ity in the world, time — the time you give so freely to keep our com­mu­nity safe.”

De­scrib­ing the oc­ca­sion as “a night for recog­ni­tion,” Gra­ham said, “let’s not con­fuse recog­ni­tion with ap­pre­ci­a­tion. They are not the same, but have the same com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor, which is ac­knowl­edg­ment.”

The mayor also ac­knowl­edged the work of the firettes and those in charge of emer­gency call­ing, “who sup­port the fire­fight­ers and keep our com­mu­nity safe.”

Loss of firettes

Chief Ros­siter, mean­while, re­gret­ted to re­port the fire depart­ment “lost a large part of our or­ga­ni­za­tion this year when the firettes dis­banded, mostly due to work com­mit­ments, etc.” How­ever, he was pleased to re­port, “the re­main­ing mem­bers have come on board with our build­ing com­mit­tee to aid in the run­ning of this com­mu­nity cen­tre. Their com­mit­ment to our depart­ment is to be com­mended.”

Manda­tory train­ing

Ros­siter re­ported six fire­fight­ers have com­pleted the pro­vin­cial de­fen­sive fire­fight-

ing course, bring­ing to 10 the num­ber of fire­fight­ers who have com­pleted the manda­tory eval­u­a­tion. The re­main­ing fire­men will com­plete the course this spring.

Point­ing out, “you have to have this course,” the chief ex­plained, “if you don’t have it, not only can you not ap­ply for fund­ing, but you won’t be cov­ered un­der work­ers’ com­pen­sa­tion.”

Four mem­bers also com­pleted the stan­dard first aid course, with the re­main­der sched­uled to com­plete the course in late March.

Fire callers

The hilly ter­rain sur­round­ing Salmon Cove and Perry’s Cove pro- hi­bits the fire depart­ment from us­ing a pager sys­tem. Es­ti­mat­ing it would cost in the vicin­ity of $ 100,000 to in­stall a re­peater on the hill to op­er­ate such a sys­tem, Chief Ros­siter noted that fig­ure would be out of reach for his depart­ment.

In­stead, they have been us­ing a sys­tem of fire callers — women from both com­mu­ni­ties who call all the fire­fight­ers when­ever an emer­gency arises. The sys­tem has worked out quite well for the depart­ment since it was founded in 1983.

Greet­ings

Avalon MP Scott An­drews noted there are some 50 vol­un­teer de­part­ments through­out his rid­ing, made up of “fire­men who put their time and lives on the line ev­ery day. When some­one calls the fire depart­ment, they’re call­ing you on the worst day of their lives, and you guys are there to respond. You respond, not only to fire, but search and res­cue and other com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties,” the MP said.

Bring­ing greet­ings from Perry’s Cove, Ruby King, said, “fire is our worst en­emy and you, the fire­men, are our clos­est friends.”

Photo by Bill Bow­man/The Com­pass

Three veteran mem­bers of the Salmon Cove-perry’s Cove Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment were rec­og­nized with long-ser­vice awards from the pro­vin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ments dur­ing the an­nual fire­men’s ball Feb. 11. From left: Avalon MP Scott An­drews, pre­sent­ing fed­eral gov­ern­ment cer­tifi­cates to Paul Slade for 25 years of ser­vice; Gord King, 20 years; and Rod­ney Butt, 20 years, ac­cept­ing his certificate from Fire Chief Bob Ros­siter.

Paul Slade (left) joined two other veteran fire­fight­ers who have each served 25 years with the Salmon Cove- Perry’s Cove Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment. Fire­fight­ers Frank King and Hec­tor King ( right) re­ceived their 25- year cer­tifi­cates ear­lier.

Salmon Cove Mayor Nathan Gra­ham (left) presents a plaque to Salmon CovePerry’s Cove Fire Chief Bob Ros­siter, rec­og­niz­ing his 20 years of ser­vice to the fire depart­ment.

Pho­tos by Bill Bow­man/The Com­pass

Dana Cole, pres­i­dent of the Salmon Cove- Perry’s Cove Firettes, presents a sym­bolic cheque for $4,683 to Fire Chief Bob Ros­siter dur­ing the depart­ment’s an­nual fire­men’s ball.

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