Cape Breton municipality's fire services under review
29 fire stations to be looked at by U.S. consulting company
A U.S.-based consulting company has started work on a review of fire services in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
Manitou Incorporated was awarded the $50,000 contract to look at everything from response times and equipment needs to the possibility of creating a single fire department under one administration.
Company representatives are in Sydney until Monday to meet with fire chiefs, volunteer firefighters and municipal staff.
Manitou project manager Charles Jennings outlined the company's key areas of study at a meeting of the regional fire services committee on Friday. He said the goal is to improve the quality of service.
There are 29 fire stations in the CBRM, most of them volunteer, and many of them in rural areas.
"The study will look at how the current service is doing, what it's going to look like in the future and what changes are going to be necessary to deliver service within the current budget," Jennings said.
Manitou is also going to look at insurance issues for volunteers and the need to create a full-service local training centre.
Bernie MacKinnon, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality's director of fire services, said the status quo is no longer acceptable.
The review is an opportunity to look for innovative ways of doing business," he said.
In addition to talking to personnel in the fire service, Manitou will solicit feedback through a mail-in and an online survey.
The company plans to file its initial report with CBRM early in the new year.
The final report is due at the end of March.