Public awareness helps reduce fire calls
Salmon Cove-Perry’s Cove fire chief reports
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.