The Canton de Shefford Fire Department and “First Responders” Service
With a municipal assessment of nearly $480 million, the municipalité du Canton de Shefford is equipped with a volunteer fire department that compares favourably with many Québec municipalities.
Prior to 1996, the municipality was protected by only one fire station, which was located in Waterloo.In 1996, the municipality decided to provide the western section of its territory with better fire protection by establishing its own fire station, which was inaugurated on December 15, 1996. The station was erected at 96 Raymond-Lemieux Street. By February 1997, a volunteer fire brigade was in place. Since then, thanks to an agreement with the City of Waterloo, the citizens of Shefford can count on two fire stations and two volunteer fire departments – Waterloo and Shefford.
Nowadays, when a citizen calls 911 with a fire emergency, the dispatcher, in accordance with the municipal agreement, transfers the call to the appropriate fire department, either Waterloo or Shefford depending on the civic address of the residence. The Waterloo Volunteer Fire Department serves the eastern and southern areas of our municipality and Shefford serves the mountain, northern and western areas.
The reason for two volunteer fire departments
The municipality decided to establish its own volunteer fire department and to create an agreement with Waterloo for the following reasons:
- because of the large territory covered;
- to have, in case of a disaster, an adequate response time comparable to other municipalities;
- to offer a service at a reasonable cost;
- to provide a larger number of citizens with a fire station located less than eight (8) kilometers from their residence, and thus ensure acceptable insurance premiums.
The firehouse is located at 96 Raymond-Lemieux and was inaugurated in December 1996. Four trucks are stationed here and available to the fire department and the first responders. The firehouse encompasses various installations (storage, reception room, etc.) including two underground reservoirs holding close to 5,000 litres of water. This is a propane-heated building with a generator as a back-up power system. Lastly, it can be used as a shelter and command post in emergencies.
The 1984 pumper truck has a water reservoir of more than 3,000 litres and can pump 3,500 litres per minute. This truck is furnished with 300 metres of 10-centimetre hose, close to 100 litres of foam, ladders, a generator, positive pressure ventilators and forest fire-fighting equipment.
The 2007 pumper-tanker can pump 5,000 litres of water per minute as well, but it is also equipped with a water reserve of 8,330 litres. This vehicle also possesses more than 300 metres of 10-centimetre hose, a portable 2,000 litre-per-minute pump and a pool reservoir that can be set up directly at the site of a fire.
The 1998 emergency unit is set up to store bunker gear for 18 firefighters, five respirators, a thermal imaging camera, gas detector (explosimeter), and miscellaneous tools. The vehicle is used as a command post on emergency calls.
The first responders’ vehicle is a 1998 Dodge Durango. It is also an emergency vehicle that is used only for medical calls, and is equipped accordingly. It is always on the road in order to respond to calls more efficiently.
Currently, there are dry hydrants installed on:
- Maheu Road;
- Carmen Street;
- Impasse de l’Érablière;
- Route 241 (corner of Beaumont Street);
- Darby Road;
- Noble Street;
- Clark Hill;
- Golf Road;
- Mount Shefford Road;
- Rue du Versant-Ouest;
- Lafrenière Street;
- Bonaventure Street;
- Roseraie Street;
- Saxby Road North.
The Fire Department also has nine (9) wet hydrants fed by Coupland Lake. This project was made possible by an agreement with the City of Granby. These hydrants are located on:
- Raymond-Lemieux Street;
- Saxby Road;
- Daudelin Street;
- Paquette Street;
- Dupuis Street;
- Lorraine Street;
- Maheu Road;
- Maher Street;
- Boisvert Street.
After installing a communications antenna on Mount Shefford, the municipality supplied each firefighter with a pager. Our fire department also has six mobile and twelve portable radios.
First responders are trained to intervene in certain medical emergency situations. They have received basic training in pre-hospital care as well as on-going diversified training that is more specialized and adapted to their needs.
In an emergency situation, all citizens of the municipality will benefit from the first responders. Since first responders are volunteers, these services are offered at no charge.
During medical emergency situations, first responders play an extremely important role. They can save or keep victims alive while waiting for the ambulance technicians’ arrival. They can mean the difference between life and death, mainly because of their quick response time and the first aid equipment at their disposal. They do not transport victims to the hospital as that is the responsibility of the ambulance technicians.
First responder goals are:
- To arrive on site as quickly as possible,
- To give first aid in order to stabilize the victim,
- To prepare the victim while waiting for the ambulance, mainly by making the situation safe, and
- To offer support to the ambulance technicians once they have arrived on site.