Too Many Full-Time Firefighters in CK?

Firefighters from Chatham-Kent Fire Chatham Station 2. (Photo courtesy www.chatham-kent.ca)

The number of full-time firefighters needed in Chatham-Kent will be a point of discussion at tonight’s council meeting.

Councillor Frank Vercouteren will be requesting a full report on the issue.

Vercouteren says he has received a number of questions from locals on the matter, but he can’t give them answers until he gets clarification.

“I thought, well, rather than sit there and do a lot of guessing, I think we’re just going to just ask them to come up with a complete [and] accurate report on what’s actually going on,” says Vercouteren.

He says with a recent change in shifts, he doesn’t know why there would be so many full-timers.

“The full-time fire department here in Chatham is now on 24 hour shifts. They work 24 hours, twice a week and that’s it,” says Vercouteren. “So why do we have 60 some odd firemen there? I don’t know.”

The motion Vercouteren is putting forward also says the number of fire department calls has drastically dropped.

Because of that reported decrease, he says rather than have so many full-timers, they could use more volunteer firefighters in certain areas.

“There’s a lot of questions, like why do we have full-time fire departments in Wallaceburg for instance, when other communities as large as Wallaceburg are volunteers?” says Vercouteren. “We have volunteers in Blenheim of course, and Ridgetown, and that’s working real well.”

Vercouteren says he is not trying to upset local firefighters, he just wants to get answers for the concerned residents who have contacted him.