Enbridge Gas has donated $5,000 to help the Gravenhurst Fire Department purchase new training materials.
The department is one of 50 in Ontario getting part of the company’s $250,000 total donation. The money is coming through Enbridge’s Safe Community Project Assist, which is being done in partnership with the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council, and supports the training done by fire departments throughout Ontario.
Tracy Joque, training officer, explains the province’s decision in April 2022 to introduce mandatory certification standards and performance requirements means changes need to be made to how fire departments get new recruits ready to jump into service.
Joque points out how the new textbooks are the most expensive part of training.
With the money from Enbridge, she says the department is able to buy “a lot” of new textbooks.
“It does put quite a burden both financially and time-wise on a fire service,” says Jared Cayley, fire chief, about the mandatory certification requirements. He points out that a lot of the training is done in-house so having quality, up-to-date materials is vital.
Cayley added that he appreciates how supportive the previous and current terms of council are.
Mayor Heidi Lorenz credits town staff’s ability to bring in outside dollars to lower the burden the cost of new initiatives like this has on budgets. “I think it’s important to be respectful to the taxpayers knowing there are outside funds available,” says Lorenz.
Ed Gouweloos, Enbridge Gas’ operations supervisor for Northern Ontario, says firefighters are part of the first responder team. He points out how Enbridge is sometimes needed at the scene of fires to shut off the gas and allow firefighters to get to work. “It’s a win-win scenario,” he says. “We want to help them out as much as they help us out.”