Brooke-Alvinston is asking the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office to review its two fire departments.
Brooke-Alvinston has two departments in its jurisdiction, Alvinston and Inwood, which operate independently. Two years ago, the municipality and the fire chiefs met with OFM officials to talk about the possibilities of working more closely together or merging the departments. Mayor Don McGugan says at the time it was “a good frank discussion” but that was the end of it.
Recently, council met with OFM officials again and passed a motion asking for the office to review the departments “for the purpose of addressing the level of fire protection in the municipality, examining training records of each department to ensure adequate training is being offered and members are attending, ensuring public education is being performed and ensuring resources are being used efficiently” according to a motion passed by council during a private session Jan. 28.
McGugan says this is a “good opportunity to make sure we’re on the same playing field for both departments when it comes to training.”
Each department is responsible for training its own volunteers although some joint training exercises are held now.
“We need to review the operations of both fire departments because in the end, the mayor and the CAO and council are responsibility that what we said as a fire department we can do, we can do and that our training is up-to-date.”
McGugan wouldn’t speculate if the report could include a recommendation to merge the departments adding it was up to the fire marshal’s office to come to its own conclusions. “It will be a review of what we are doing well and what we could do better.”
McGugan says officials from the fire marshal’s office will “spend several days here, talking to many firemen, talking to people in the public, talking to the mayor and clerk-administrator and a cross-section of the community” in both Inwood and Alvinston before writing the report.