Nova Scotia

Cape Breton Regional Municipality puts fire services under microscope

Report includes recommendations dealing with volunteer firefighter recruitment, acquisition of new equipment, access to training, and the possible merger of some stations to improve response times.

Consultant makes 22 recommendations for improvement

Firefighters battle a fire earlier this month in Whitney Pier. (Iaff Local 2779)

A consultant hired to conduct an organizational review of fire services in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality has made 22 recommendations.

The $50,000 study was done by Manitou Inc. of Peekskill, New York. It includes recommendations dealing with volunteer firefighter recruitment, acquisition of new equipment, access to training, and the possible merger of some stations to improve response times.

Project manager Charles Jennings presented the findings Wednesday to regional council's fire services committee.

"We're trying to put the systems in place that will make sure that the firefighters have the funding and support they need to do their job effectively and safely," said Jennings.

Other recommendations include strengthening administration for a more co-ordinated decision-making process, recording and reviewing critical 911 data including individual unit response times and outcomes, and providing better support to volunteer departments.

Consultant Charles Jennings (far right, standing) outlines his report for CBRM's fire services committee. (CBC/George Mortimer)

The chair of the Cape Breton Regional Fire Chiefs Association, George Muise, said the report will generate a lot of positive discussion on how to better serve their communities.

"We're not about the individual fire departments, we're about making the service better for citizens," he said. 

Cape Breton Regional Municipality includes 34 separate fire departments. Jennings will meet with fire chiefs Thursday evening for their input and recommendations.

The fire services committee will meet again in April to review some of the findings.

Jennings expects it will take a few years to implement some of the recommendations.

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