Report calls for more firefighters

Mayor Ron Anderson - Observer file photo
Mayor Ron Anderson
— image credit: Observer file photo

With the release of an independent report into the Chase Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, Village of Chase council will be taking a close look at the operations in the coming months.

The report, which covered areas from staffing levels, recruitment, firefighter training, the fire hall and fire equipment, provided a detailed overview of operations now and goals for the future.

Chase Mayor Ron Anderson says such a review had not been completed for many years.

“There was no catalyst for doing this, other than it had not been looked at for many years and it is important for the village to regularly review policies.”

He says the report, produced by Robert Hickey for F.P.I. Consulting, has been well received both by council and the fire department itself.

“The fire department saw the review as positive and say they can work with it. The council members are now working to get the best possible outcome for the fire department and the taxpaying citizens.”

The report is calling for additional recruitment to maintain a department of 25 to 30 trained firefighters. Currently, Anderson says, the department has about 20 members. He says recruitment is a continual issue, especially in a community with an older demographic and where many of the younger people commute to other areas for employment.

“It’s difficult to commit to a volunteer fire department when you are working out of town – the logistics are difficult,” said Anderson.

He says the community is trying to find new ways to recruit members and says the village welcomes suggestions.

Other recommendations in the report include the retirement of a more than 30-year-old fire engine and immediate planning for its replacement.

“The new apparatus should be an engine/tender combination vehicle,” says the report. “The apparatus will fulfill the need for pumping capacity in the industrial, commercial retail areas and recreational and educational facilities also. In addition to the necessary pumping capacity… there is also a need for transporting water to fires that occur in areas that have no piped water supplies with fire hydrants.”

Anderson says council is very aware of this need.

“We are not trying to shortchange the fire department. We will do what we need to do and I believe we have found a way in the budget to accommodate that.”

When it comes to training for firefighters, Anderson says the department and council continue to look for solutions to accomplish this in a small community, with the most cost-effective option.

While council was unwilling to adopt the recommendations from the review in its entirety, they opted to pass a motion to ask for additional information and clarification before bringing it back for another look and possible adoption.


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