With the Bracebridge Fire Department’s former Deputy Fire Chief Jared Cayley moving to Gravenhurst to take over as the town’s top firefighter and his former department working on a new master plan, changes could be on the horizon.

“Jared has been a big part of the department,” the Fire Chief for the Bracebridge Fire Department Murray Medley tells the MyMuskokaNow.com newsroom. Not only did Cayley serve as the Deputy Fire Chief, but he was also the Training Officer. He spent the past decade in various roles in Bracebridge, before taking on those responsibilities a few years ago.

Medley says the department has also lost two part-time administrators to retirement in recent weeks. 

During Bracebridge council on May 5th, council ratified the decision made during General Committee that an Administrative Coordinator and Training Officer be hired with a start date of June 1st. Pending approval of the recommendations in the master plan, the role of Deputy Fire Chief will be established on an Acting basis, instead of having someone in the role full-time.

“They will dive into all sorts of data around the town as far as our population, density, the types of buildings we have and where they’re located,” says about the future master plan. The Loomex Group was brought in to work on the master plan earlier this year. Medley says they will look at what the major risks are in the community, then make recommendations in the plan about how those risks are mitigated. “It could be making some changes within the department as far as how your equipment and staffing is laid out,” he explains. The consulting firm will give the department a “snapshot” of the current situation in Bracebridge and how the department is built to handle it, and how that could be improved on in the next five to 10 years.

“By identifying all fire and life safety risks in their community and prioritizing them based on the probability of them occurring and the impact they would have if they occurred, fire departments are able to determine which risks to address and how best to address them,” Director of Operations for Loomex Terry Gervais told council during a presentation in February. He added that it also helps council ensure cost-efficiency.

Gervais estimates the plan will be done by the middle of August. 

“We’ve got some good resources here as far as our own staff,” Medley says, talking about the Training Officer position. The options the department has are “wide open” but mentions they have “two or three” people who are “close” to being qualified for the position, but says he knows the position will get a lot of outside interest. 

“We don’t want to dig too far into it because we want them to have a look without our input so they can make a better assessment about what would be a better fit for the Bracebridge Fire Department,” Medley says.