Emergency station left unstaffed on holiday in rural HRM
A fire station that acts as an emergency services facility in Middle Musqudoboit, N.S., was unstaffed Easter Monday, leaving a man injured in a chainsaw accident waiting for help.
The Elderbank man was severely injured in the accident and needed to be carried out of the woods so he could be airlifted to hospital.
There is a fire station in Middle Musquodoboit that is usually operated by paid staff, with volunteers covering evenings and weekends. It acts as an emergency services point for the area in eastern Halifax Regional Municipality.
But Steve Streatch, councillor for the area, said no one was there Easter Monday when the victim needed help.
"I guess the collective bargaining rules of their union does not provide that they work on Easter Monday and the few volunteers we do have in the community were all working," he said Wednesday.
Residents and volunteers from a neighbouring fire station did manage to get the man to the helicopter and then on to another hospital, but Streatch said if it had taken much longer, the man could have died.
"The fire department, as we were just told, are the first responders — they are medically trained, especially our volunteers. But if there's no one there to answer the call, it doesn't matter how well trained you are," he said.
Streatch said people in the community are upset and want changes to ensure their community is better protected.
Fire officials have promised a report on the matter. Streatch said HRM council will look into the report Thursday.