GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, ML – The Grand Falls-Windsor Fire Department held its 27th annual Firefighters’ Ball at the Royal Canadian Legion Oct. 28.
Fire Chief Vince Mackenzie noted in his speech that from Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017, the department responded to 112 emergency calls for assistance, which is down from 122 calls in 2015-2016 and 135 calls in 2014-2015.
One of the most serious fires from the last year was at a commercial property, a local RV dealership, he said. The fire was contained to the floor of origin and roof area, and most of the property was saved.
“This fire was the most significant not because of the loss, but because of the amount saved,” said Mackenzie. “Thirty employees were able to keep their jobs. This is a testament to the fire department’s training and equipment.”
The department underwent 116 training sessions covering 55 topics for a total of 299.5 session hours of organized training.
While it’s great news that the number of fires in town was reduced, there must be more emphasis on firefighter training, Mackenzie said.
“Firefighting has changed so much in the last 20 years in technology and techniques to handles today’s faster and more toxic fires,” he said. “While there are less of them, their danger has ever increased.”
Lightweight construction and more flammable furnishing and products has challenged fire department to keep up with training, said the chief.
“The experience once gained in fighting many fires on a regular basis is no longer there when we have less fires overall,” Mackenzie said in his speech.
The Grand Falls-Windsor Fire Department is run mostly by dedicated volunteers who take time away from their families and jobs to ensure the safety of Grand Falls-Windsor’s resident. A special thank-you and service medals were presented at the end of the evening to firefighters who have served 20, 25 and even 45 years as volunteers with the department.