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Volunteers critical to Toronto efforts

July 22, 2012
The Herald-Star

To the editor:

As chief of the Toronto Fire Department, I am writing this letter to send my public thank-you to the members of the Toronto Volunteer Fire Department. The week of the Fourth of July activities, the fire department, along with the police department and TEMS prepared for safety day as well as the annual fireworks display. Most people would have no idea how much physical work goes into the preparation for both of these events.

The fire department will take the time to wash every vehicle that it puts on display, whether we just did it a day or two ago or not. All vehicles get rewashed, and members take fire hoses to the Riley Plaza and spend a couple of hours hosing off the entire lot to reduce the chance that dirt and debris will cause any damage when STATMedEvac lands for its display.

This year, due to the heat and humidity, members of the city and volunteer fire departments held work details on two nights instead of trying to do all of the cleaning in one night. These work details involved two or three hours of work each night, and in this recent weather, were very labor intensive. Those who help with the cleaning do all of this work for free.

On July 7, I am told the temperature reached 100 degrees. As usual, the Toronto fire, police and EMS services were on hand for safety day, STATMedEvac arrived and the community came out to view our equipment. After several hours in the heat and humidity, the fire trucks, police cars, ambulances and all of the equipment were put away.

As the heat and humidity continued to climb, members of the fire department prepared to assist with security and safety at the stadium for the fireworks display. The volunteers, along with members of the city department, spent approximately four-and-a-half hours at the stadium doing these duties, along with fire protection at the fireworks and stand-by duty should the department have received an emergency call.

Upon completion of the fireworks display, members of the department assisted the police department with traffic control at the parking lot as well as several intersections throughout the city. I would like to say thank you in a public manner to the men and women of the Toronto Volunteer Fire Department as they train, fight fires, help during emergencies and supply a large amount of labor for events such as this. These members do not receive any money personally, usually it is just a pat on the back and a verbal thank you.

Again, I say thank you.

Frank E. McEwen Jr.

Chief, Toronto

Fire Department

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