Fire Chief looks back on 2017

By St. Marys Fire Chief Richard Anderson

The St. Marys Fire Department just completed another successful year of service to the Town of St. Marys and Perth South, and I would like to take this opportunity to look back at what was accomplished in 2017.

St. Marys Firefighters responded to 114 emergency calls for service in 2017, which was an increase of 5 from 2016.

Automatic Alarms – 39

Motor Vehicle Accidents – 29

Other pre-fire conditions – 14

Fires – 11

Carbon Monoxide Alarms -7

Lift Assists -5

Unauthorized Open Air Burning – 5

Medical Responses – 2

Water/Ice rescue – 2

Numerous commercial businesses as well as all vulnerable occupancies were inspected at least one time. Public safety education being a priority at St. Marys FD, we presented safety programs throughout the year. Our “Door to Door” campaign was a big success as firefighters visited 1000 homes in 3 hours. Fire Prevention Week saw the fire department visiting schools in St. Marys as well as hosting an Open House.

The Public Fire Safety Education trailer we obtained from Stratford Fire Department in 2017 continues to be in big demand. We had 461 children and 33 adults tour the unit in 2016. Fire Extinguisher training was also conducted to local businesses, DCVI High school students, and Wildwood Care Facility.

56 Open Air Burn Permits were issued to Perth South and 164 Fire Permits were issued to the residents of St. Marys.

Our firefighters raised money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and local sports teams in the community. This was conducted through the Annual Pancake Breakfast, Annual Pigtail and Rib Dinner, and Scrap Metal Pickup. The Fire Department worked in conjunction with Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) by handing out red ribbons to members of the community during the Santa Claus parade.

We had three firefighters complete a demanding 80-hour training class and pass the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1021 Fire Officer level I course. Eighteen firefighters completed the NFPA 472 Hazmat Awareness course, one firefighter completed the Hazmat Operations course, two firefighters completed the NFPA 1006 Ice Water Rescue Instructors Course, 22 firefighters completed the NFPA 1006 Water Rescue Awareness Course and practical Shore Based Rescue course.

Structural firefighting techniques were practiced using the mobile live fire training trailer during the month of June. This trailer allows our firefighters to train in real conditions in a structure that can be used over and over again. The trailer is used by all Perth County Fire Departments.

The Fire department received the much anticipated MSA G I Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA). The SCBA’s were purchased to replace the 20 year old Scott SCBA’s.

As well to enhance our Water/Ice Rescue operations a (RDC) Rapid Deployment Craft was purchased along with numerous other equipment including dry suits, Personal Floatation Devices (PFD’s), ropes, and a rescue basket.

The Fire Department upgraded its current equipment with the purchase of auto extrication equipment, fire rescue equipment, a 10’ x 10’ Fire Prevention/Rehab Tent, a Portable Lighting Unit, uniforms, a hose storage unit, Fire Department Exercise signs, and vests for the Emergency Operations Centre.

On Wednesday May 31, 2017 the Town of St. Marys conducted an emergency services exercise. Several agencies participated in this event including the Town of St. Marys, St. Marys Fire Department, Perth Paramedic Services, St. John Ambulance, and Perth County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). There was participation by high school students from St. Marys District Collegiate and Vocational Institute (DCVI).

This event will allow stakeholders to participate and work cooperatively in a real life emergency situation. Many lessons were learned that day from all involved and from that we will continue to improve on our already outstanding service that Emergency Services provide to our great Town.

The year of 2017 was a great one for the St. Marys Fire Department! I have no clue what 2018 holds, but in the time I’ve been here the citizens of St. Marys, Town Staff, and Town Council have ALWAYS supported the Fire Department. The members of our department always appreciate the backing we receive.

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