Firefighters work enough to be paid

Reader argues in favour of supporting some full time fire help

Re: No money for full time firefighters (News, March 14)

As a resident of Sidney and the Peninsula I ask the three Peninsula councils to reassess and reconsider the funding of all our fire departments.

The majority of our firefighting teams are volunteers. People who donate their time – time away from family and very often work – to ensure we have quality fire and emergency assistance protection.

The service they provide covers all day, every day regardless of holiday times or weather. I wonder how many residents appreciate this kind of commitment for no remuneration.

Fire departments provide prevention and suppression services, which most of us recognize as the fire vehicles and personnel rushing off to assist at an event.

The prevention personnel consists of those who perform the annual safety inspections, education for the public and volunteers, as well as the day-to-day operations necessary to keep the department running smoothly and efficiently. These are the paid employees of the department.

Another duty many may be unaware of is their role in the Provincial Emergency Measures Organization – PEMO. They work closely with and give their support to all the various teams who will be providing many of the services required in case of emergency or disaster – Emergency Support Services, Search and Rescue, and communications. These are the groups who assisted in the fires in the interior several years ago and the personnel who were on site in Japan. These local members are also all volunteers.

Is it possible that by hiring an additional full time firefighter we can enhance these essential services to the benefit of all three communities?

Linda Gray