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Frustrated fire chiefs in good company


January 22, 2009
By Laura King

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Jan. 22, 2009

Sometimes you come across a news story that makes you wonder what in the name of time people are thinking. The Sackville Tribune reports in a story on its website today that the town of Dorchester, N.B., has approved a modest tax increase for residents but included in the 2009 operating budget is a $10,000 reduction in funding for its fire department.

Sure, there’s belt-tightening everywhere. But in
this case the department needs new bunker gear – one of its sets was sent off
to be inspected and was rejected and others are in rough shape.

“I can’t send a firefighter into a burning building
wearing bunker gear that’s no better than a raincoat,” Fire Chief Greg
Partridge said.

Oh, and Partridge is miffed that he wasn’t invited
to participate in budget talks. He figures he’s going to have to spend money
for new
PPE anyway
and worry about the bills later. Good luck, chief.

Continuing the frustrated-fire-chiefs theme, Chief
Dave Guilbault told the local paper in Linday, Ont., that he’s ready to blow a
gasket over homeowners who disconnect their smoke detectors or don’t bother to
install them.

Guibault said he was at his wit’s end Wednesday
after a chimney fire at a home – where children were among the occupants – that
did not have a working smoke detector.

Last week, a woman died in fire at a Lindsay home
that did not have a working smoke detector.

At least this chief appears to have been invited
into budget talks. Unfortunately, he says he’s frustrated that he has to ask
for new apparatus when the money is needed for fire prevention programs, “a
proactive versus a reactive cause,” he said.


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