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Newfoundland municipalities getting firefighting boost from the province

A recent provincial funding announcement will allow Baie Verte to replace its broken down rescue unit, shown here in this file photo. Contributed photo
A recent provincial funding announcement will allow Baie Verte to replace its broken down rescue unit, shown here in this file photo. — Contributed
GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, N.L. —

The Dorset Trail Regional Fire Department is getting the help it has been looking for the last little while.

The Baie Verte-based department is one of 13 firefighting units across the province to receive provincial funding for a new vehicle. In total, there was $2.5 million in funding provided under the Fire Protection Vehicle program.

Each vehicle will be a cost-shared venture between the municipality and the government. That ratio depends on the size of a community’s population.

Other towns included in the announcement are Bay de Verde, Ferryland, Fogo Island, Gander, Harbour Breton, Little Bay, Little Burnt Bay, Meadows, the Straights Fire Department, Port Saunders, Ramea and Trout River.


Fire department funding recipients

• Baie Verte — rural response unit ($220,000);  
• Bay de Verde — walk-in rescue ($300,000); 
• Ferryland — tanker truck ($370,000); 
• Fogo Island — four-door pumper ($385,000); 
• Gander — four-door pumper ($385,000); 
• Harbour Breton — four-door pumper ($385,000); 
• Little Bay — used pumper ($100,000); 
• Little Burnt Bay — used pumper ($100,000); 
• Meadows — walk-in rescue ($300,000); 
• NORPEN (Straights Fire Department) — tanker ($370,000); 
• Port Saunders — used pumper ($100,000); 
• Ramea — four-door pumper ($385,000); 
• Trout River — used pumper ($100,000)


The announcement has been several months coming for the Dorset Trail department, and Baie Verte will receive $220,000 from the government toward the purchase of the new rural response unit vehicle.

In August 2019, the department’s rescue unit broke down on one of its regular training nights. It left the department with just two pumpers and without a home for its rescue equipment, like its hydraulic extraction tool, until a new unit could be acquired.

Being down their rescue unit meant the Baie Verte-based department was cautious when sending one of its two pumpers to an emergency call on the highway.


 


It would mean leaving the community or one of the other communities that rely on the department for fire services.

In the time since the breakdown, the vehicle has been on the parking lot in Baie Verte with signs asking for help from local politicians.

“It is a great relief to know that there is a unit on the way,” Fire Chief Lorne Head said.

It could still be up to a year before the department gets the keys to the new rig, but that isn’t doing anything to diminish Head’s excitement over the announcement.

The new rescue unit will have a 300-gallon tank, as well as a 10-gallon tank for foam, and will be the home of its rescue equipment.


“It is a great relief to know that there is a unit on the way." — Baie Verte Fire Chief Lorne Head


The Town of Gander and its fire department are also included in the funding announcement. They will receive $385,000 toward the purchase of a four-door pumper to replace their 27-year-old unit.

Gander fire chief Harold Lowe anticipates the new unit making his department more reliable and giving them an even quicker response time.

“It was a nice surprise,” said Lowe. “It was very good and it is something that will benefit us, for sure.”

Nicholas Mercer is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Central Newfoundland for Saltwire Network.


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