Officials at MRC Pontiac are in the final year of putting together the new fire safety cover plan, which is the administrative framework detailing the rules and regulations that departments across the region must conform to.
MRC Public Safety Coordinator Julien Gagnon explained that the plan covers things like jurisdiction and the maximum time allowed to reach a scene.
Gagnon said that the plan is updated every five years, and the latest iteration has to be completed by next year. The biggest changes to the new agreement have to do with laying the basic rules around things like water rescue, now that several departments have purchased boats and trained their crews to use them.
Gagnon said that much like other industries in the Pontiac area, the main issue he sees in the near future is recruitment. With an aging population, and a younger generation that typically works outside of the region, on top of the roughly 200 hours of training to become certified, means that smaller departments especially are feeling the pinch.
Gagnon added that they were waiting on the results of a pilot project, where high schools had offered Firefighter 1 training to students as an extracurricular activity, which could be a useful tool in the future.
The full interview with Gagnon is available below: