Rapid Intervention Team now in place
BIBLE HILL- The fire brigade here has been busy during the last 12 months with training to allow the volunteer fire department to respond to various emergency situations within the Village of Bible Hill.
Joey Bison, of the Bible Hil Fire Brigade, prepares for a firefighter demonstration in Bible Hill in August 2013. File photo
Bible Hill Volunteer Fire Brigade Chief Dwane Mellish says the brigade responded to more than 70 emergency calls in 2013, with a fire loss of nearly $349,000. The losses were mostly from three major structure fires. Considering that the all-volunteer fire department has less than 30 members, Mellish says the volunteer brigade is providing a top-notch service for minimal cost to village residents.
The chief also says he and the team face many circumstances that are becoming more unique every year and the fire brigade leadership team takes those conditions and its responsibility to be trained for them very seriously.
Mellish cites recent floods that seem to be worsening in last number of years. That's why this year the brigade purchased some specialized gear for water rescue.
“When we purchase specialized equipment then naturally there's the training that needs to happen for us to be able to properly use it safely,” said the chief, in a news release. “Several members participated in specialized swift water training this fall. We need to be prepared for water rescue situations like in and along Avon, Riverside and Main streets as well as the Farnham Road area to name a few areas prone to flood.
Having the proper vehicles and equipment is just so important.”
Mellish and his team are also very proud that the brigade now has a specialized Rapid Intervention Team (RIT). The chief says some fire departments have begun to train personnel in the concepts of rescuing downed, trapped or injured firefighters.
“We are one of the first to do this in the local area and the concept of rapid intervention teams is in place in other jurisdictions in Canada,” said Mellish. “We felt we must adopt the RIT team because of the NFPA standards and the need for firefighter safety.”
He added “it’s about always being prepared for the worst in the hopes that you never use it.”
Mellish is very pleased with the brigade officers and the recommendations they make to improve the village’s fire services for residents. Attending events like the annual Maritime Fire Chiefs conventions and Fire Department Information Conference (FDIC) seminars allow us to make realistic, and common sense recommendations to the Village Commission, who in turn fund the brigade based on the volunteer fire leadership team and brigade membership recommendations.
The local brigade recently elected its new team of officers for 2014 with Mellish continuing his leadership as chief, Scott MacDonald will serve as first deputy and Greg Barkhouse is second deputy. Barkhouse will also serve in leadership roles with fire ground officers Rob McCormack and Joey Bison that help on-scene and do defensive and offensive firefighting, along with helping with the brigade’s daily management.
“It is important to remember our firefighters have jobs as well, and volunteer to do this essential emergency service in addition to work and family commitments,” said Mellish. “It is time consuming and a large responsibility, but well worth the effort in knowing we are on the front line providing a volunteer service to our village.
“It is something we are proud of.”
The Brigade reminds everyone that the Christmas holidays are a time for celebration, and safety at home is of foremost importance.