The last month has been a rough time for many firefighters in West Hants. On one hand, we all feel a dedication to duty when it comes to the departments and citizens we serve.
On the other hand, we are all caught in the middle of a long-term dispute between my fire department (Windsor Fire) and the council of the Municipality of the District of West Hants. As we all are aware, this dispute has resulted in a forthcoming change in fire service slated for Oct. 23, whereby the WFD will no longer be servicing West Hants as a primary service provider. This has resulted in neighbouring departments stepping in to assist.
Notwithstanding the ongoing Facebook rhetoric where tensions between fire department members from different departments are really quite evident, we have to remember that when the chips are down, we can and will be working together to save property and lives. We will be inside burning buildings on the same line. We will be in the snowstorm on the side of the roadways at 3 a.m. cutting people from a vehicle, together. It is going to happen. Imaginary lines on a map will not stop that.
The continuous sniping back and forth is helping no one. Constantly revisiting decisions made, comments posted, and personal ideas expressed is just agitating an already sad situation.
We cannot allow this ongoing back and forth arguing to tear us all apart. There are some bad feelings between members of different departments now. I get that. Some people will move on to new or existing departments from WFD. I get that too. They are still my brothers and sisters.
A firefighting brother of mine told me when he signed me on 21 plus years ago: “You will love the fire department — just stay out of the politics and you will be fine.” He was right about that.
No matter what badge or uniform we wear, we are all in it for the same reason. Let’s work together for a new day.
Deputy Fire Chief Jamie Juteau,
Windsor Fire Department