The union representing Victoria firefighters has expressed disapproval for Esquimalt Fire Rescue’s participation in a crowd management unit at the Sunday rally in support of Black Lives Matter. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

‘We don’t believe that’s fire work,’ Victoria firefighters’ union condemns Esquimalt Fire’s role at rally

Union declined to join Greater Victoria Crowd Management Unit in 2017

A firefighter’s role does not involve crowd management, says the union representing the Victoria Fire Department.

International Association of Firefighter Union (IAFF) Local 730 has come out against the decision to have Esquimalt firefighters support crowd management during the Victoria rally in support of Black Lives Matter on Sunday.

Thousands of people came to the peaceful rally while members of the Victoria Police Department stuck to the periphery of the crowd.

“Given the events around the world in the last week or so, should something have gone sideways at that peaceful protest, we didn’t want any association to someone carrying a baton and bulletproof shield,” said Ajay LeBlanc, treasurer of Victoria IAFF Local 730. “We fully support Victoria police…we don’t believe that’s fire work, period. And if there is fire work, it should be Victoria fire workers doing it.”

READ ALSO: Thousands attend rally for Black lives in downtown Victoria

Firefighters are trained to serve the public with technical responses, fire rescues and as medics, LeBlanc said, not crowd management.

Chris Jancowski, chief of Esquimalt Fire Rescue, said members were at Sunday’s rally as part of their agreement to support the Greater Victoria Crowd Management Unit (GVCMU) in their role as fire medics.

“The ultimate goal of the fire medics is to enable police officers to focus on their mission of public order while enabling fire medics to focus on imminent fire suppression duties and medical care for the team,” Jancowski told Black Press Media via email. “Public safety is a priority for the organization and Esquimalt Fire Department members are pleased to support this regional joint initiative.”

The GVCMU is an integrated unit of police officers from across every agency in the Capital Regional District. Members are cross-trained in various crowd management and obstruction removal techniques.

According to a 2017/18 annual report on Greater Victoria Police Integrated Units, the GVCMU brought in fire medics in order to provide emergency medical treatment for injured police officers in “a riotous situation where a crowd is actively damaging property or demonstrating assaultive behaviour.”

The Victoria Fire Department’s union declined an invitation to join that unit in 2017.

READ ALSO: Organizer, Victoria councillor, VicPD talk about upcoming rally for Black lives

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
nina.grossman@blackpress.ca


@NinaGrossman
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

EsquimaltTownship of Esquimalt

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Stelly’s grads shocked after ‘anonymous friend’ pays for dinner

Friends took limo to Deep Cove Chalet to celebrate after graduation festivities cancelled

Victoria man in custody after shooting in 100-block of Gorge Road East

The man is facing recommended charges including assault with a weapon

Victoria Royals draft dynamic Danish forward for tentative fall season

Marcus Almquist drafted to Victoria after international tournaments

Undercover operation exposes prominent human trafficking problem in Greater Victoria

VicPD’s Operation No More took place in mid-June at a local hotel

Book stores in Victoria notice uptick in sales for anti-racism titles

White Fragility, How to be an Antiracist are among the best selling titles

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

Canada Day tractor incident kills three children, injures seven in Quebec

The tractor driver has been arrested following the accident

Longtime Vancouver Island fishing family hooks into local market over wholesale

Locally caught fish are scarce in fishing towns, an irony one Sointula family is working to change

Tsilhqot’in Nation demands meeting with feds on declining Fraser River chinook stocks

The Nation wants to partner with DFO to rebuild and recover the stocks

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

Library’s Summer Reading Club goes virtual

This literacy program is usually offered in person

Most Read