Volunteers can handle school fire protection

Chief defends switch for Eagle Mountain middle, saying Sasamat VFD has experience, equipment

Eagle Mountain middle school is well-protected by the Sasamat Volunteer Fire Department in the case of a fire emergency, according to the chief, whose department took over responsibility for school fire protection on Dec. 1.

SVFD Chief Jay Sharpe responded to Tri-City News inquiries about a change in fire protection for the school in an email this week, stating that he is confident the volunteer staff of 42 trained firefighters plus two district fire chiefs and one chief is up to the job.

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Prior to December, the school, located in Anmore, which opened in April 2015, was served by the Port Moody Fire Department, but that agreement ended Nov. 30 and wasn’t renewed.

School District 43 spokesperson Peter Chevrier said in an emailed statement that the agreement with PoMo was just for the construction of school. Chevrier said the volunteer fire department is “well positioned to provide the level of fire services we require.”

SVFD has also provided fire protection for Anmore elementary, a wood-framed structure, for 39 years.

According to Sharpe, the department has developed emergency response protocol for the school, through site tours and written emergency response procedures. As well, the department can draw on any fire department for assistance in the event it is required.

“For either school in our protection area, if we determine that we may have a delayed or inadequate response, our procedure is to call upon Port Moody Fire Department for mutual aid,” he said.

In its year end report, the SVFD noted it had 100 call-outs last year: 64% in Anmore, 29% in Belcarra and 7% at parks, lakes and roadways. Of those, 38% were fire calls, 49% were medical emergencies, 5% were motor vehicle accidents and 8% were categorized as miscellaneous.

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