The Island & Barrington Passage Fire Dept. was formed in 2002 and is the product of an amalgamation of the Barrington Passage Fire Dept., the South Side Fire Dept. and the Town Of Clarks Harbour Fire Dept.
The amalgamation came about because all three departments were suffering from declining memberships to the point that it was difficult to respond to calls with adequate numbers of personnel. The officers of the three departments got together and said there must be a better way of doing things.
What they came up with was becoming one department, so from there a piece of land was located that was central to the coverage areas and a new hall was built that would accommadate a all the equipment that the three depts. had. At that point it was a fleet of nine vehicles.
In the ten years since the amalgamation we have paid for the hall, replaced a pumper, a tanker, the chassis for our heavy rescue, bought a passenger van for carrying personnel and updated all other ppe and firefighting equipment.
We currently have a roster of 54 members with 60 percent of those members trained to level 1 firefighter.
Training has been very important in this process and it really shows when you respond to a call. The skill and professionalism is totally evident.
Now we get to where TERC Canada comes in. The Barrington Passage Fire Dept went to its first competition in 1998 in Halifax where we learned an immense amount about extrication by competing and watching other teams compete. From this time on we were hooked and in the next few years prior to the amalgamation we competed a couple of more times.
In 2003 the first team from Island & Barrington Passage went to Amherst to take part in that competition and we ended up placing 2nd regionally, because of that we were able to go to the Canadian Competition in Wasaga Beach ,Ont. in 2004 and the next year we co – hosted a challenge in our municipality.
We have attended every regional challenge since and also the North American Challenge last Year.
Throughout this time we have had 25 members participate on various teams and the training that they have done to prepare for the challenges and participating in the challenges has had a huge impact on the confidence and competence of the members in the field of vehicle extrication.
We have also updated our extrication equipment to keep things current to the changes in vehicle technology.
These challenges have allowed us to improve our skills immensely and we have made a lot of friendships and contacts along the way. At these challenges we were faced with very difficult and stressful scenarios all the time being watched and scored by judges with high levels of knowledge. The critiques of the judges and conversations with other teams were extremely helpful in improving our skills. Also being able to watch other teams compete gave us a chance to see lots of different techniques.
These challenge scenarios are as close as you can get to the real thing.
The skills and confidence that we have picked up along the way has made our community a safer place, because when we respond to a motor vehicle crash with entrapment now it is with a highly skilled and capable crew and it shows. The members are now prepared for any type of scenario and capable of handling it much more efficiently. This aids immensely in saving lives and reducing injuries which is TERC Canada’s mission statement
We do not have a large number of entrapments a year, probably two or three, but because of our involvement with TERC Canada we are capable of providing a service to our community that they deserve.
Seeing how efficiently and safely the the members manage an extrication scene is just amazing to me and really hit home after an entrapment last year that was quickly handled and having a R.C.M.P. member on scene say ( I have been to a lot of accident scenes and I have never seen a fire dept. remove a patient from a car that quickly and safely) to that I replied training pays off.