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HomeNewsReport recommends recognizing businesses who support Gravenhurst Fire Department

Report recommends recognizing businesses who support Gravenhurst Fire Department

A pair of reports from The Loomex Group detail the risks the Gravenhurst Fire Department may encounter and recommends how they should move forward over the next decade. 

Bill Lorimer with the Peterborough, Ont.-based organization presented their findings to Gravenhurst council on April 16. 

One of the two reports looked at the biggest risks, like severe weather events and wildland fires, the Gravenhurst Fire Department may deal with and what the best ways to ensure the community is protected are. 

Lorimer suggested continued public education is the best way to make sure the community is prepared for bad weather, adding it’s also a good idea to support wildland fire preparedness. However, Lorimer said preparing for wildfires should be done in tandem with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and encouraged the fire department to keep training up to date. 

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“We were impressed by the amount of efforts the fire chief and deputy chief have made with social media,” said Lorimer. He also referenced the trailer the fire department put into motion in April 2022 that displays fire safety messaging as another positive way they’re providing public education. 

The risk assessment list included 12 potential incidents that the fire department may respond to. Coun. Randy Jorgensen wondered why a “major rail incident” was ranked 9th. “I see a lot of tanker trucks on trains coming through town which I would have thought would be a much higher risk,” he said. 

Lorimer agreed it “could be devastating” if something happened, but it’s unlikely. 

Jared Cayley, fire chief for the Gravenhurst Fire Department, added they’re always made aware of what is travelling through Gravenhurst on the trains, how much, and when. 

“Anything that is on the [community risk assessment], while we may focus on the ones that are higher on the list with more efforts and more resources, we will never not look at those that are a little further down,” continued Cayley. 

The second report laid out 25 recommendations for what the fire department could do to improve how it operates. 

The only mandatory idea was that Cayley should present a report to council on upgrades to the department’s three stations to meet the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. 

Other recommendations included continued and improved public education on various topics and a program to manage the fitness and wellness of the department’s full-time and volunteer staff. 

Lorimer also suggested the fire department, with council’s approval, purchase a towable boat to aid firefighters when they’re called to water-access-only properties. 

With over 50 firefighters, many of whom are volunteers, Lorimer said it would be worth publicly acknowledging employers that allow firefighters to leave their day jobs to respond to emergencies. 

Mayor Heidi Lorenz said the workplaces play an important role that isn’t always recognized. “I really thought it’s important to recognize the local businesses that do allow our firefighters to leave their jobs and be heroes,” she added. 

Cayley said he appreciates having a third party provide a deep dive into what the fire department does and how they may be able to do it better. the reports provide a deep dive into 

“We like to think that as administrators at [fire and emergency services] that we’re doing everything perfectly, but that’s not the truth,” said Cayley, highlighting the importance of the reviews. 

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