Smiths Falls Fire Chief reports on state of service to Council
Smiths Falls Fire Chief Rick Chesebrough appeared at council’s virtual committee of the whole meeting on Monday night to update council and staff on challenges facing the municipality’s service.
Chesebrough outlined the new normal in firefighting brought about as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He reported that new guidelines were being followed regarding the number of responders to different types of calls as well as extensive sanitizing protocols for equipment and gear.
He also noted a trend in the Smiths Falls’ fire service that’s mirrored in other departments around the county; a reduction in staff compliments.
The inability to conduct volunteer and full-time staff training due to provincial pandemic restrictions have made the situation more difficult to manage.
Fire chiefs from around Lanark County have gotten together to work on a joint training program to reduce turnaround time. Overall the county’s services are looking to add 20-30 new volunteer positions.
This and active recruitment campaigns for both full time and volunteer responders along with careful management of call responses and mutual aid agreements made the chief confident in the town’s fire service being able to continue meet the needs of its residents and businesses.