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Trent Lakes approves Fire Prevention / Training Officer
November 17, 2017
BY TERRY GILLIS
As was reported in the October 20, 2017 edition of the Lakefield Herald, at the October 17 Trent Lakes council meeting, Director of Emergency Services, Chief Don Mitchell asked council to consider adding one full-time Fire Prevention / Training Officer to the Fire Department in 2018.
Chief Mitchell said that the Fire Department Staff reviewed current operations and determined that there are several areas which are not adequately staffed. Because Trent Lakes firefighters are volunteers, many are unable to spare the time needed for fire prevention and training.
At the October meeting, Mayor Matthews said she would feel more comfortable with a part-time position “because we’ve never had one and it’s a lot of money.”
Mayor Matthews also said that it was her “personal thought that we need to look into this more.”
Councillor Raymond said he felt that a full-time person “is the only way to go.”
Councillor Lambshead, a volunteer firefighter himself said he was amazed that Trent Lakes Council hadn’t (hired a dedicated Fire Prevention/Training Officer) “done this sooner.” He said that having a fire prevention officer may prevent fires.
Council deferred the report from the Fire Chief regarding the addition of a Fire Prevention/Training Officer pending further information.
On November 7, 2017 Chief Mitchell, Director of Emergency Services, presented Council with additional information as requested.
In his report, Mitchell outlined the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997’s mandates for three lines of defense and how Trent Lakes has historically been able to successfully achieve these mandates:
1. Public Education
2. Fire Safety Standards Enforcement
3. Emergency Response
However, Chief Mitchell noted that as legislative requirements for firefighters and for fire departments has, and continues, to change significantly, it has become more and more difficult for the fire department staff to meet these requirements.
Councillor Raymond said that the addition of a Fire Prevention Officer/Training Co-Ordinator would be a valuable investment and supported the recommendation for a full-time position.
Councillor Lambshead seconded the motion to hire a Fire Prevention/Training Officer at an annual wage of $53,000.00 to $59.600.00 plus benefits.
Council unanimously supported the motion.