CAMPBELLTON — When the Town of Campbellton and Campbellton Fire Department submitted an application for funding for new bunker suits a little while ago, they thought if they were lucky enough to get the funding they would have to wait until at least this fall for word on whether or not they would receive it.
The wait was a short one as just recently the funding for eight new suits, costing just under $12,000, was approved through a 90 per cent Provincial Government, and 10 per cent municipal cost share agreement.
Lewisporte District MHA Wade Verge, who lobbied for the new suits for the department, said even though government is nearing the end of their fiscal year, the funding was found to be able to meet this need.
A supporter of the volunteer fire departments and all those who put on a uniform in order to protect others, MHA Verge was pleased for the department to receive the new suits.
“Firefighters in particular provide us all with a great deal of comfort, knowing that whether it’s an accident at sea, an accident on a roadway or a fire in our community, they are there to protect us and that gives us all a lot of comfort and piece of mind,” he said.
Campbellton Mayor Maisie Clark said the firefighters were in definite need of new bunker suits. They just didn’t have the proper personal gear for going anywhere near a burning building.
“These eight new suits are a real boost to them,” she said. “The firemen are really pleased. We have a dedicated fire department that is continually growing.
“Having these new suits encourages them more, and hopefully it will also encourage more people to come in and join.”
Mayor Clark said the Provincial Government contribution was essential to purchasing the suits. As a small town, Campbellton didn’t have the funds to purchase the suits alone, but they could come up with the required 10 per cent.
“You have to look at what fire departments need, and small towns our size can’t always come up with the money to meet their needs,” she said. “But we can’t have volunteer firefighters putting their lives on the line and not have the proper equipment for them to work with.”
Deputy fire chief Gary Mills couldn’t agree more.
“It’s great to get these new bunker suits,” he said. “We can respond to a fire with less worries. Safety is number one. We have to protect ourselves first before we can protect or assist anyone else. This gives you more confidence, knowing you have good gear on.
“Before our gear was old and outdated and now it’s certified gear – the guys feel better wearing it. The fit is specifically for them. The other gear was a piece of this and a piece of that – they (fellow firefighters) certainly deserve these suits and they will be put to good use for sure.”
The Campbellton Fire Department has 15 members on the books. On a good day Mr. Mills said they could expect to have eight firefighters respond to a scene. That is a number they can work with, but they always welcome anyone interested willing to put the effort in to join with them on the fire department.