Perth East recognized alongside Toronto for fire prevention leadership

Perth East recognized alongside Toronto for fire prevention leadership
The Beacon Harold

The Perth East Fire Department has made a name for itself as a leader in fire prevention and public education in Ontario.

On Nov. 22, the fire department was presented with a Prevention Leadership Award by First Alert Canada and BRK Canada at the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs’ annual general meeting. Selected from 442 fire departments across the province, Perth East was presented with the award alongside the much larger Toronto Fire Services and two other departments.
“It’s kind of humbling when you receive an award like this because we’re just doing our job, we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing,” said Perth East Fire Chief Bill Hunter, who accepted the award on behalf of his department in Niagara. “To be recognized for what we do in the community as far as educating the public on the risks and dangers of fire, it kind of reaffirms that we’re doing the right thing.”
According to Jim Rotz, a First Alert representative, Perth East was selected for the annual award because of the department’s daily use of social media to spread fire and carbon-monoxide safety information and resources, and its commitment to taking that key messaging to as many schools, nursing and retirement homes, and community events as possible.
“We visit every school in our fire response area to deliver fire-safety messages, and that includes all the Amish parochial schools — so one-room schoolhouses,” Hunter said.
“… Generally, we like to keep the fire safety message front and centre for our residents. Any opportunity that comes up, we can spend some time with residents.”
And to receive recognition alongside Ontario’s largest municipal fire service placed even more of an emphasis on the importance of the fire prevention and public education efforts in Perth East.
“I’ve know Chief (Matt) Pegg in Toronto for quite a few years… We always learn from each other. If a big fire department picks up something we do, that’s great, and we always look to the bigger departments for what they’re doing (in fire prevention),” Hunter said.
“We have our farm fire safety program and our carbon monoxide safety video. Many larger departments than us have requested the resources that we’ve created so they can use them in their communities.”
And while Hunter accepted the award in person, he said it was the hard work and dedication of his entire department that has made Perth East’s fire prevention model an example for departments across the province, and each and every member of his staff deserves recognition for that.
“It truly is a total team effort. My whole staff does a great job in promoting fire safety and educating the public, and I’m just fortunate enough to be the chief,” Hunter said.