Em­ploy­ers are vi­tal part­ners

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News - BY AN­GELA BROWN News Staff

If a fire oc­curred in your home tonight, would your fam­ily get out safely? Ev­ery­one must know what to do and where to go when the smoke alarm sounds. Take a few min­utes with ev­ery­one in your house­hold to make a home fire es­cape plan.

Glen­garry's fire de­part­ments rely on many lo­cal com­pa­nies' com­mit­ment to sup­port em­ploy­ees who serve as on­call vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers.

Alexandria Mould­ing Gen­eral Man­ager Jac­ques Cho­lette said it's part of the Alexandria-based com­pany's pol­icy to en­able em­ploy­ees to re­spond to emer­gen­cies.

“If we have vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers and they are called at any time dur­ing the day, they have a free rein to go to those calls im­me­di­ately,” said Mr. Cho­lette. “There is no is­sue with that. That is a long-stand­ing pol­icy.”

He be­lieves it’s im­por­tant for em­ploy­ers to sup­port fire­fight­ers.

“The com­mu­nity re­lies heav­ily on vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers, al­most ex­clu­sively,” adds Mr. Cho­lette. He said Alexandria Mould­ing ap­pre­ci­ates hav­ing staff who are knowl­edge­able about how to deal with fires too. There have been oc­ca­sions in the past when per­son­nel was able to help put out a small fire at the plant. So hav­ing qual­i­fied staff mem­bers is good for both the com­pany and the com­mu­nity as a whole.

Mr. Cho­lette said the firm hasn't en­coun­tered any prob­lems when em­ploy­ees have been obliged to leave work to as­sist at a fire or another emer­gency. “If they are called to an emer­gency, they have carte blanche to go to those emer­gen­cies,” said Mr. Cho­lette. “We are a well staffed or­ga­ni­za­tion; we make do. We have the nec­es­sary back-up in case any­one needs to go to an emer­gency.”

Alexandria Mould­ing has six staff mem­bers who are vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers. Jean The­o­ret has been em­ployed with Alexandria Mould­ing for the past 19 years and has spent seven years as a vol­un­teer for North Glen­garry's Alexandria fire sta­tion.

He has worked in cus­tomer ser­vice for the past two years, af­ter pre­vi­ously work­ing in the dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre and pro­duc­tion side of the busi­ness. He com­mends his em­ployer.

“They have been very good for that,” he said. “If there is a call, they give us the go-ahead and you can go when­ever you want. At least we can help out the com­mu­nity if they are in trou­ble.”

Mr. The­o­ret is fol­low­ing a fam­ily tra­di­tion in serv­ing as a fire­fighter. His fa­ther Ray­mond The­o­ret was a vol­un­teer for about 40 years be­fore re­tir­ing as Alexandria fire chief about four years ago.

Jean The­o­ret said be­ing a fire­fighter is some­thing he al­ways wanted to do.

Alexandria Fire Chief Stephen Stewart said vol­un­teers know their pri­or­i­ties, and if they aren't needed at a scene, they re­turn to work promptly.

Other busi­nesses that em­ploy fire­fight­ers in­clude Home Hard­ware, MacEwen's, and Hôpi­tal Glen­garry Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal, where Mr. Stewart works. “It's very im­por­tant to me,” said Mr. Stewart. “If the in­dus­tries and re­tail were not around (to sup­port the fire depart­ment), it would be hard to staff a fire sta­tion.”

AN­GELA BROWN PHOTO

BUSI­NESS SUP­PORT: Moulure Alexandria Mould­ing gen­eral man­ager Jac­ques Cho­lette, left, with em­ployee and fire­fighter Jean The­o­ret.

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