Published on February 21, 2019
Over 400 calls answered by fire services, says chief
The Clarence-Rockland fire department was kept quite busy in 2018.
“In 2018, we did over 400 calls,” explained Fire Chief Brian Wilson. “It’s a marginal increase.” The City’s firefighters were equally busy in 2019, responding to a whooping 40 calls in January.
The latter outlined that the growing amount of calls is driven by both population and traffic increases.
The subject of calls came up during the February 20 council meeting, as councilors crunched up the last numbers in order to adopt the 2019 budget. The fire service was seeking $310,000 for part time wages, an amount which didn’t sit too well with Ward five councilor André J. Lalonde. “To me, (the $310,000) it’s inflated,” he said. “We gave the fire services $285 000 last year.”
Wilson explained that the fact that council decided to hire four more volunteer fire fighters as well as a rising cost of life was to blame for the increase.
The chief also explained that trying to determine who will actually show up to calls is always a guess. “The cost of fighting fires fluctuates every year,” he said. “We have a lower number of volunteers coming to calls. A lot of them work in Ottawa.”
The 2019 was approved, with the City’s fire service receiving the $310,000 that was asked for.
Who should be cleaning snow from hydrants?
Council praised a recent contest initiated by the local fire services in order to encourage citizens to clean off fire hydrants. “I love the initiative,” said Ward 4 councilor Don Bouchard.
Although results of the contest were considered positive by Chief Wilson, the matter of who should be cleaning the hydrants was hotly debated by council. “If you go for a walk in some areas of the City, you will see that some hydrants haven’t been cleaned,” said Bouchard, who claimed having cleaned off a hydrant located on one of his constituent’s property.
“All the hydrants were cleaned off prior to the recent snow storm,” replied Desjardins. “I think you’re exaggerating, Mr. Bouchard.” The councilor pointed to the fact that hydrants are considered city property. “We spend millions for new fire halls, yet we can’t clean off hydrants,” he said.
According to Wilson, the fire service is tasked with “(calling) a contractor when there’s a good amount of snow.” The chief also outlined that some municipalities have bylaws that force citizens to clean hydrants located on their property. Not doing so results in the said citizen receiving a fine. “The way we’re doing it right now is reasonable,” Wilson added. “It’s not perfect, but it works.”