SCUGOG: Township of Scugog Fire Chief Richard Miller presented a fourth quarter review and a summary of the usage of Scugog's new mobile Fire Safety House to Scugog Township Mayor Chuck Mercier and his councillors on Monday, Feb. 10. The report follows an intensive Fire Operation Review and dispute between the Port Perry Fire Fighter's Association and the Township of Scugog, late last year.
With two full-time firefighters, Port Perry relies mostly on volunteer firefighters to respond to its emergency calls. Chief Miller explained to councillors that Scugog's volunteer firefighters are trained once per week on subjects such as SCBA use, fire suppression, and auto extrication - and certified on the exact same level as its full-time employees.
"We have an average of twelve volunteers responding to our all-calls," said Chief Miller. "The Scugog Fire Department operates on a Standard Operational Guide, which dictates how many firefighters must be present for each call. While medical calls only require a minimum of four guys to arrive at the station and leave on one truck, the majority of our calls require a tanker and pumper truck as well, totalling between eight firefighters for a motor vehicle collision to as many firefighters as we can get for a large structural fire, sometimes we even have to call in Caesarea's trucks."
Ward 5 Councillor Howard Danson questioned the all-call model, asking Chief Miller if every volunteer who responds to a call must be paid for his time.
"Everyone who shows up must be paid for a minimum of one hour," said Chief Miller. "Usually we take the guys we need on our trucks, and the rest will clean, check equipment, or hang hoses until they go home."
Fire Chief Miller stated that the Scugog Fire Department's all-call model is not a perfectly economic system, and that "with a composite fire department and the majority of our firefighters being volunteer, it is very difficult to keep our costs down anymore than they are."
With the discussion turning to the aspect of fire prevention and inspection, Scugog Township councillors were displeased to hear that of the 61 properties inspected for fire code compliance in the last quarter of 2013, only 22 were found to be in compliance with regulations.
Finally, Chief Miller happily reported that the Scugog Fire Safety House has received extensive use, as a total of 1,627 adults and children toured through the house and practiced escape and safety procedures.
Scugog Township councillors were impressed with the Scugog Fire Department's drive to promote fire prevention and safety.