‘We need to find a way to make things work better ...'
BIBLE HILL - Bible Hill Fire Chief Dwane Mellish feels that a new method of communication is needed between the fire brigade and the village commission.
He calls a recent struggle to obtain approval for the purchase of a washer for fire brigade gear "the last straw after a series of issues" and 11 brigade members showed up to support that view at last night's village commission meeting.
The brigade developed specifications and got prices for a washer/extractor that would remove toxic materials from fire gear. Mellish had hoped a motion to purchase the machine would be made at the commission meeting on Nov. 13, but no one made a motion. He said Commissioner Donna Van Kroonenburg, who is supportive, could not make a motion because she was chairing the meeting.
During last night's meeting, Van Kroonenburg did make the motion, and it was passed, but commissioner Dale McLeod made a motion to send a letter expressing concerns to the brigade.
"We want to be sure there is proper training in the use of the machine," said village chairman Tom Burke. "When something goes into the washer it should all be documented. We want the men to be as safe as they can be."
After leaving the meeting Mellish explained the machine works like any other washer.
"There were a couple of things during the last couple of years that took a lot of work to get approved," he said. "Our budget falls totally under the commission for all activities and we feel the cooperative effort is not as good as it should be. We need a better process to make good, sound decisions and we need to be adequately funded.
"Everything we've done has been researched and brought together in a sound, reasonable way. As volunteers we need to focus on getting new members and training, not putting our energy into fighting for everything we need."
He said things need to be discussed in an informal manner.
He said gear had been sent out for cleaning after extreme fires but with this machine, which costs about $8,000, they can clean things more often, which is much safer for the firefighters.
Mellish added he was disappointed the issue of upgrading the security system for the fire hall was not on the evening's agenda.
"We need to find a way to make things work better because this system's broken."