Ladies and Gentlemen, Ratepayers and Fellow Firefighters, Welcome to our rate payers Meeting. I would like to begin this evening by telling you a bit about what we have been up to this past year 2012 we had a total of 58 calls
1 Vehicle Fire
1 Traffic Control
1 False Alarm
4 Chimney Fires
3 Wildland Fires
2 Mutual Aid Calls
5 Fire Alarm Calls
25 Medical Emergencies and
17 Motor Vehicle Collisions
In June of 2012, during the inspection of our van, we were advised that the integrity of the frame underneath would not pass inspection for 2013. In order to save funds, we chose to purchase a used 2009 Ford f-150 to replace the van. Not only will this vehicle still be able transport Firefighters to and from the scene, it is equipped with traffic equipment, radios, portable pump and our medical gear so this truck will be utilized for many different applications.
We qualified for the NS Firefighters grant this year and were able to purchase extra bunker gear to help keep our firefighters safe. We are very fortunate as in times of declining numbers of volunteers in 2012 we were fortunate to have five firefighters join our department. Already in 2013 we have had an additional 3 members join.
Standards are constantly changing in the fire service. NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) guidelines have many requirements and in order to keep our members protected both physically and for insurance purposes we have to try to change with them. We do not want to put ourselves in a situation that a firefighter ends up getting hurt or worse and was protected with inadequate gear. This is why we are working toward five year plans to replace and maintain our gear in an adequate and cost effective way.
This year as always we tried to remain fiscally responsible. Our members stepped up once again and volunteered extra time and energy trying to keep costs at a minimum. Instead of paying $1000 for the wiring of a truck, a few members got together and did it themselves. Instead of paying for a cleaner after jam sessions, to minimize costs, a small group that help with the sessions spend extra time cleaning up at the end of the evening. This saved the department in excess of $1500 in cleaning costs. We had members that mowed the ball field for only the cost of fuel. And this list goes on and on.
We are still committed every Monday night for training, Most Wednesday nights for meetings and/or training, and Thursday nights for jam sessions. Add additional training and fire calls last year we logged a total of 170 events that someone was at the station for a work related duty. This does not include additional work completed by members such as, ordering and stocking product for the canteen, many hours organizing fundraisers, taking trucks for service and maintenance, book work and getting it ready for the accountant, as well as multiple forms and paperwork for the government, dept of natural resources and the municipality. It gives me great pride when after a call a paramedic or RCMP compliment us on a professional job done, and be sure to let your people know, it’s nice to work with a well trained department.
Our fiscal year end is the end of March so April is very busy preparing and working toward a reasonable budget. As we went through the budget this year we went back to committees and members and asked if they could yet trim just a bit more off their budget for something that might be able to wait until next year. In all we managed to trim over $20,000 off our budget, providing nothing goes wrong. With the addition of three new members we do not have the funds to provide proper gear for them. We will explain as we go through the budget and what we propose for this upcoming year.
As every year we will also ask for your help. We have a sign up sheet and if you would like to help in any way, please let us know.
Thank you so much for taking an interest and coming tonight.
Chief Paula MacDonald
Blockhouse & District Fire Department