Employers are vital partners
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.”
BUSINESS SUPPORT: Moulure Alexandria Moulding general manager Jacques Cholette, left, with employee and firefighter Jean Theoret.