BLAKE WOLFE The Standard
SCUGOG: Scugog's fire department has now visited all homes in the township at least once to check for smoke detectors in the Alarmed For Life program, one of several highlights for the department noted by Chief Richard Miller in his 2012 year-end report.
The document was recently presented to councillors, synopsizing the department's activities for 2012.
In the Alarmed For Life program last year, firefighters visited 1,780 Scugog homes, with 512 of those homes already having working smoke detectors and 167 devices installed at other residences. Firefighters will continue to visit homes within the township to ensure compliance from local residents.
The chief also noted two large fires in early 2012 resulted in more than $350,000 in damage, as well as several lightning strikes causing a total loss of $10,000. However, Chief Miller noted that the number of overall incidents, as well as the number of 'significant/major' responses, decreased in 2012 from the previous year.
In his report to council, the chief stated that firefighters from Port Perry and Caesarea stations responded to a total of 677 calls, with an average response time of just over 10 minutes. The majority of those calls, noted the chief, were in the 'other' category, consisting of cancelled calls, incidents that were not found or assists to other agencies such as police or EMS, the latter of which made up the bulk of those responses.
The department also recently received its long-awaited Fire Safety House training facility, unveiled to the public in a ceremony earlier this month. The safety house will help educate local residents on fire safety and prevention within the home, with an opportunity to loan the equipment out to other municipalities and organizations.
Chief Miller also recognized a number of service milestones reached by fire personnel in 2012, including Captain Todd Soomre (20 years), Captain Ryan Edgar (15 years), firefighter Clint Walker (20 years) and Lieutenant Al Peck (10 years).
During the discussion, Chief Miller told councillors that a review of the department's services will be conducted this year, with a master fire plan due in 2015.
In the wake of a tragic Easter weekend housefire that claimed four lives in East Gwillimbury, Ward 1 Councilllor Larry Corrigan questioned the chief on whether "there are any lessons to be learned" in regards to the department's average response time to incidents.
However, pending a final assessment of that incident from the Fire Marshal's Office, Chief Miller declined to provide much in the way of comment, offering that mutual aid agreements with neighbouring municipalities such as Uxbridge assist the department in achieving its response time goals.
"We use mutual aid to cover our municipality when all of our vehicles are out," said the chief, adding that "we will then call Uxbridge or Clarington to cover" in such an event.
"The Fire Marshal hasn't finished his review (of the East Gwillimbury incident), and until then, we're speaking in the dark," continued Chief Miller. "It wouldn't be right to comment because we have no idea of how the call was received."
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