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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Default Firefighter Who Quit Recalls His First Callout

    Firefighter who quit recalls his first callout

    Cindy E. Harnett Times Colonist February 25, 2005

    Michael Wilson chokes up as he recalls the hope he saw in the eyes of woman, mangled in a head-on car crash, the first time he jumped into his coveralls and reported for duty as a Malahat volunteer firefighter.

    "Her car had crumpled around her," said Wilson, a heavy-duty mechanic and single father. The accident occurred at an area called Split Rock along the Malahat Drive -- a winding road through the mountains where several gruesome car accidents and fatalities have occurred.

    "Her pelvis was broken, her ankles were broken, her knee was broken and she was in an extreme amount of pain. It took everything we had to work on that one car."

    One volunteer had to ride in the ambulance to hold her pelvis together. Wilson searched the other car for the other victim's severed finger, found in her boot.

    Wilson is among 17 of 21 Malahat volunteer firefighters who resigned Feb. 4 in a dispute with the Cowichan Valley Regional District, which wanted to have one company provide blanket coverage for all six regional departments. The change would see the Malahat volunteers' life insurance reduced to $100,000 from $150,000.

    On Thursday in a meeting that lasted about seven minutes, the board decided the insurance package it had chosen was "very balanced and equitable and unsurpassed in the region," said CVRD administrator Frank Raimondo.

    The board will have the insurance reviewed with an independent party before the end of 2005 to see if there are any other issues to be considered.

    The CVRD has accepted the firefighters' resignations, and if they want to return, they may reapply but will lose all seniority, said Raimondo.

    The regional district said it has moved on, and the Malahat department has a new chief -- former deputy chief Dave Balding -- and has 11 firefighters ready to respond to emergencies, said Raimondo.

    The average experience of the former staff was 3.5 years and of the new staff is 3.6 years, Raimondo said.

    With training over the next month, the department will no longer need the automatic backup -- known as mutual aid -- of three surrounding forces.

    That doesn't tell the whole story, Wilson said.

    Several of the firefighters, who walked off the job because they thought as volunteers they at least deserved a healthy life insurance package for their families, worked for the force for seven, 11 and 17 years, he said. Many won recognition for heroic service during a propane tanker accident a few years ago.

    The job wasn't something they had to do, he said. It was something they wanted to do after they looked into the eyes of a victim they knew they could help.

    "I did it because I held a woman's hand in a really bad car accident and I know I gave her comfort and I know people are alive because of what I've done in the last seven months."

    The former firefighters planned to meet to talk about their next step. Some may go back.

    Not Wilson. "My volunteering spirit has been kicked out of me," he said. "I know a lot of guys feel like that."

    © Times Colonist (Victoria) 2005
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber EFD840's Avatar
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    Malahat, I know you can't talk too much because this is your department but there's a question that has been bugging me since you first posted about his situation.

    Do you guys control your local funds? If so, did you look into supplemental policies to make up the difference in insurance coverage?

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    I can answer that one:

    Yes, the suggestion was put forward to the Board from the Delegation. At this time it is "under review". Thats all I know as of last night's practice.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  4. #4
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Does the Province or the Canadian Government pony up any money at all when there is a LODD? I couldn't help but notice that they have cancelled the automatic aid. Thats a shame. The best way to keep your people safe is to insure there is proper manning and equipment on a fire scene. 11 volunteers dosent cut it. Getting extra manpower, equipment and WATER through automatic aid is not a new concept. We do it here and we are paid. You can always turn them around if unneeded. Not a slam,but an observation. 11 may be ok most of the time. But when do you ever get EVERYONE responding at the same time?
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    Tough 27 - Question, why wasnt there 100% support throughout the department? Something like this should be worth looking at seriously if I was town managment! Politicians - they dont get it until your cutting them out of their car or saving them or their loved ones!
    Stay strong!
    -I have learned people will forget what you said,
    -People will forget what you did,
    -But people will never forget how you made them feel!

  6. #6
    Forum Member firefighter26's Avatar
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    Default Another point of view, which is what fh.com is all about!

    As one of the now EX Malahat firefighters, I guess I could add my opinion/story. However, I will point out that it is my opinion only and hopefully we can keep this thread civilized.

    -----------------------------------

    February 4th was a sad day for me. Shortly after 5:10pm PST I put my radio on the table and took my fire department key off my keychain. It was a tough thing to do, something that I never thought I would have to do; but I did it.

    I didnít want to resign from the fire department. I spent thousands of hours at the hall (or station), writing reports, updating maps, completed inspections, helped with training, washing trucks and gear, even painting and dry walling! I probably spent more time there than I did at home some weeks. I didnít want to give it up, just as I am sure no one reading this would willingly give up their department.

    But I couldnít sit there and do nothing while the CVRD reduced our insurance coverage.
    I am single.
    I have no children.
    If I where killed or injured in the line of duty my parents would receive my benefits (I am sure they would throw one rock'n part with it though )
    However, when I looked around the room and seen my fellow firefighters, guys that I had trained, guys who trained me, people that where my family; firefighters, all of whom had children and families of their own, all of which I knew by name. Some guys having families with three children all under the age of 10, I knew that if they where killed or injured in the line of duty and their families didnít receive as much as they should of because I didnít make a stand with them, then I know I couldnít live with myself.

    I resigned because my families; both my biological family and firefighter family and their families shouldnít be forced to live with less if I, or anyone one of my fellow firefighters, are killed in the line of duty.

    The insurance policy that was in place wasn't by far spectacular, but at least it was something. We donít get paid anything or receive any bonuses for being a firefighter, but I knew that at least if I was killed or injured while volunteering that my family would at least be looked after; and the CVRD was taking that away from me, and them.

    Here is a look at the differences in policies.

    Injury or Death from an Injury
    Malahat Policy $150,000
    CVRD Policy $100,000

    Illness due to Occupational Incident resulting in Death
    Malahat Policy $150,000
    CVRD Policy $100,000

    HIV Positive due to Occupational Incident
    Malahat Policy $150,000
    CVRD Policy $100,000

    Bereavement Benefit
    Malahat Policy $10,000
    CVRD Policy $7,000

    Seat belt Benefit
    Malahat Policy $30,000
    CVRD Policy $10,000

    Dismemberment, Loss of Speech or Hearing
    Malahat Policy $150,000
    CVRD Policy $100,000

    Paralysis, Quadriplegia, Paraplegia, Hemiplegia
    Malahat Policy $300,000
    CVRD Policy $200,000

    Vision Impairment
    Malahat Policy $150,000
    CVRD Policy $100,000

    Cosmetic Disfigurement from Burns
    Malahat Policy $150,000
    CVRD Policy $100,000

    Permanent Physical Impairment
    Malahat Policy $150,000
    CVRD Policy $100,000

    The Malahat Policy DOES cover sports injuries and pre-existing conditions, whereas the CVRD policy does not.

    There are more differences, but the list is a few pages long. These are just some of the highlights.

    Also, the Malahat Policy is endorsed by the:
    British Columbia Volunteer Fire Fighters Association
    Vancouver Island Fire Fighters Association

    The CVRD policy is not, and according to recent research, has a history of denied claims.

    The difference in price between the CVRD policy and the previous Malahat policy works out to $35.00 per firefighter, per year. The department offered to pay for the difference, but was rejected. Members of the public, some of them not evening living in the Malahat Fire District, offered to pay the entire difference after they heard what was happening. The CVRD will not consider it.

    -----------------------------------

    I personally spoke as a delegation in front of the CVRD Protective Services Committee last week.

    I presented them with what we all thought to be a win/win/win situation.

    I proposed:
    ~ That the CVRD agreed to allow the fire department to increase its insurance coverage in addition to the basic CVRD policy to meet the levels of the previous Malahat policy. (in the original CVRD paperwork they said that each department could purchase insurance upgrades and it would not effect the basic coverage price to the other five departments)
    ~ That the CVRD re-instate all those that resigned.
    ~ That the CVRD agree to form a committee within the next eight months to evaluate the process leading to the resignation of the Malahat Firefighters, not to lay blame, but to form new policies and procedures to promote positive change.


    Yesterday, Thursday, February 24, 2005, the CVRD announced it decision after week of meetings closed to the public.

    ~ The Malahat Fire Department will be covered by the basic CVRD policy and no upgrade package will be approved.
    ~ Any firefighters wishing to return to the department can do so based on merit and after their applications have been reviewed; consequently they will lose all seniority.
    ~ That an independent review will be conducted at the end of 2005 and prior to purchasing the 2006 policy.

    For the record, those of that resigned represent nearly 70 years of accumulated fire service experience, which according my math works to a little more than 4 years per member (on average), though some of us having as many as 11 and 17 years individually. Beyond fire service experience, a number of the guys each have 15-20+ years as heavy equipment operators and heavy diesel mechanics; relative experience, that in my opinion, canít be replaced by housewives who have thumbed through the IFSTA manual for a few hours.

    -----------------------------------

    I will see what I can do about getting the time line posted here, including some excerpts from various memos, faxes, and e-mails.

    In the meantime, if anyone has any questions or thoughts, the former firefighters have set up an e-mail address:

    supportmvfd@shaw.ca

    Words of encouragement and letters of support are always greatly appreciated. In fact, if anyone has any ideas or avenues that might help, feel free to send them along as well. We have been getting great support from the media and 100% backing of the public we have talked to, but canít seem to get the point across to any politicians.

    Jason Dixon
    Elected representative of the Former Malahat Firefighters
    Former Firefighter
    Former Acting LT.
    Former SCBA Officer
    Former First Responder
    Former Recruiting Officer
    Former Assistant Equipment Officer
    Former member of the Malahat Auto Ex Team
    Former Chair of the New Rescue Purchasing Committee
    Formerly of the Malahat Fire Department
    (I just realized that I have a lot of free time on my hands now!)
    "No one ever called the Fire Department for doing something smart..."

  7. #7
    Forum Member PFire23's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another point of view, which is what fh.com is all about!

    Originally posted by firefighter26
    As one of the now EX Malahat firefighters, I guess I could add my opinion/story. However, I will point out that it is my opinion only and hopefully we can keep this thread civilized.

    -----------------------------------

    February 4th was a sad day for me. Shortly after 5:10pm PST I put my radio on the table and took my fire department key off my keychain. It was a tough thing to do, something that I never thought I would have to do; but I did it.

    I didnít want to resign from the fire department. I spent thousands of hours at the hall (or station), writing reports, updating maps, completed inspections, helped with training, washing trucks and gear, even painting and dry walling! I probably spent more time there than I did at home some weeks. I didnít want to give it up, just as I am sure no one reading this would willingly give up their department.

    But I couldnít sit there and do nothing while the CVRD reduced our insurance coverage.
    I am single.
    I have no children.
    If I where killed or injured in the line of duty my parents would receive my benefits (I am sure they would throw one rock'n part with it though )
    However, when I looked around the room and seen my fellow firefighters, guys that I had trained, guys who trained me, people that where my family; firefighters, all of whom had children and families of their own, all of which I knew by name. Some guys having families with three children all under the age of 10, I knew that if they where killed or injured in the line of duty and their families didnít receive as much as they should of because I didnít make a stand with them, then I know I couldnít live with myself.

    I resigned because my families; both my biological family and firefighter family and their families shouldnít be forced to live with less if I, or anyone one of my fellow firefighters, are killed in the line of duty.

    The insurance policy that was in place wasn't by far spectacular, but at least it was something. We donít get paid anything or receive any bonuses for being a firefighter, but I knew that at least if I was killed or injured while volunteering that my family would at least be looked after; and the CVRD was taking that away from me, and them.

    Here is a look at the differences in policies.

    Injury or Death from an Injury
    Malahat Policy $150,000
    CVRD Policy $100,000

    Illness due to Occupational Incident resulting in Death
    Malahat Policy $150,000
    CVRD Policy $100,000

    HIV Positive due to Occupational Incident
    Malahat Policy $150,000
    CVRD Policy $100,000

    Bereavement Benefit
    Malahat Policy $10,000
    CVRD Policy $7,000

    Seat belt Benefit
    Malahat Policy $30,000
    CVRD Policy $10,000

    Dismemberment, Loss of Speech or Hearing
    Malahat Policy $150,000
    CVRD Policy $100,000

    Paralysis, Quadriplegia, Paraplegia, Hemiplegia
    Malahat Policy $300,000
    CVRD Policy $200,000

    Vision Impairment
    Malahat Policy $150,000
    CVRD Policy $100,000

    Cosmetic Disfigurement from Burns
    Malahat Policy $150,000
    CVRD Policy $100,000

    Permanent Physical Impairment
    Malahat Policy $150,000
    CVRD Policy $100,000

    The Malahat Policy DOES cover sports injuries and pre-existing conditions, whereas the CVRD policy does not.

    There are more differences, but the list is a few pages long. These are just some of the highlights.

    Also, the Malahat Policy is endorsed by the:
    British Columbia Volunteer Fire Fighters Association
    Vancouver Island Fire Fighters Association

    The CVRD policy is not, and according to recent research, has a history of denied claims.

    The difference in price between the CVRD policy and the previous Malahat policy works out to $35.00 per firefighter, per year. The department offered to pay for the difference, but was rejected. Members of the public, some of them not evening living in the Malahat Fire District, offered to pay the entire difference after they heard what was happening. The CVRD will not consider it.

    -----------------------------------

    I personally spoke as a delegation in front of the CVRD Protective Services Committee last week.

    I presented them with what we all thought to be a win/win/win situation.

    I proposed:
    ~ That the CVRD agreed to allow the fire department to increase its insurance coverage in addition to the basic CVRD policy to meet the levels of the previous Malahat policy. (in the original CVRD paperwork they said that each department could purchase insurance upgrades and it would not effect the basic coverage price to the other five departments)
    ~ That the CVRD re-instate all those that resigned.
    ~ That the CVRD agree to form a committee within the next eight months to evaluate the process leading to the resignation of the Malahat Firefighters, not to lay blame, but to form new policies and procedures to promote positive change.


    Yesterday, Thursday, February 24, 2005, the CVRD announced it decision after week of meetings closed to the public.

    ~ The Malahat Fire Department will be covered by the basic CVRD policy and no upgrade package will be approved.
    ~ Any firefighters wishing to return to the department can do so based on merit and after their applications have been reviewed; consequently they will lose all seniority.
    ~ That an independent review will be conducted at the end of 2005 and prior to purchasing the 2006 policy.

    For the record, those of that resigned represent nearly 70 years of accumulated fire service experience, which according my math works to a little more than 4 years per member (on average), though some of us having as many as 11 and 17 years individually. Beyond fire service experience, a number of the guys each have 15-20+ years as heavy equipment operators and heavy diesel mechanics; relative experience, that in my opinion, canít be replaced by housewives who have thumbed through the IFSTA manual for a few hours.

    If your "housewife" members have merely "thumbed" through the IFSTA manual for a few hours doesn't that say something negative about the training standards within your department. Not everyone comes in with vast mechanical knowledge, but it is however something that can be learned. Of course we all know that reading the IFSTA manual cover to cover 4-5 times does not an expert make. Not to mention that the housewife member on that dept busts her *** to do the job and gives 100%, but she also stuck it out. I give her kudos for that.

    -----------------------------------

    I will see what I can do about getting the time line posted here, including some excerpts from various memos, faxes, and e-mails.

    Be careful that you aren't breaching FOIP or any gag orders that have been implemented, that would be a nasty fine to have to cough up

    In the meantime, if anyone has any questions or thoughts, the former firefighters have set up an e-mail address:

    supportmvfd@shaw.ca

    Words of encouragement and letters of support are always greatly appreciated. In fact, if anyone has any ideas or avenues that might help, feel free to send them along as well. We have been getting great support from the media and 100% backing of the public we have talked to, but canít seem to get the point across to any politicians.

    Jason Dixon
    Elected representative of the Former Malahat Firefighters
    Former Firefighter
    Former Acting LT.
    Former SCBA Officer
    Former First Responder
    Former Recruiting Officer
    Former Assistant Equipment Officer
    Former member of the Malahat Auto Ex Team
    Former Chair of the New Rescue Purchasing Committee
    Formerly of the Malahat Fire Department
    (I just realized that I have a lot of free time on my hands now!)
    It's most unfortunate that the remaining firefighters and those who have since joined can't give their side of the story. We are stuck with this side and what the news prints and we all know how accurately the media portrays things. Maybe in the future we'll be able to hear all sides.
    Last edited by PFire23; 02-25-2005 at 09:53 PM.
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

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  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Mikey, I need to clarify something that may be a bit misleading in the news release regarding Mutual Aid. Currently we are on automatic mutual aid from any of the three surrounding depts according to incident location etc. What they are getting at in the press release is that it is expected that in a fairly short time we will be able to "stand alone" without the automatic MA response, and revert to "normal operations". Not that they were going to "cancel" our MA agreements - that was not the intent of the message.

    I hope there is not too much confusion on that one - ya know how the press tend to mis-quote or take Artistic Licence sometimes.

    Dave: as for 100% support - I am not sure of what direction you are stating that, but my 100% support is and always has been towards my community and those who live and travel through the district. Which is why in spite of what my personal thoughts may be, (which I withold) I am still an active member. My primary function in life is to keep the "world peace" as a professional soldier, but I can do my bit locally here at home too. What's the phrase? Think Globally, act Locally? Oh wait, thats for recycling LOL.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  9. #9
    Forum Member firefighter26's Avatar
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    Default Re: Re: Another point of view, which is what fh.com is all about!

    Originally posted by PFire23
    Not everyone comes in with vast mechanical knowledge, but it is however something that can be learned.
    I would tend to disagree. Mechanical knowledge is something not everyone can learn. A rookie firefighter with previous mechanical knowledge is easier not only easier to train, but becomes more dependable and effective sooner in their career.

    To show someone a chainsaw and show them how it works and how to operate it is one thing, but to have someone who can basically field strip it in the middle of a call and fix it if it breaks is something else; and would take years upon years to teach to someone who only ever had a basic understating of the tool to begin with.

    I am not saying that a housewife can't be taught to do it, just that it takes additional time to teach them the basics before moving on to the advanced. Someone who is already beyond basic tool operations with more effective with less hours of training.

    Originally posted by PFire23
    Of course we all know that reading the IFSTA manual cover to cover 4-5 times does not an expert make.
    This is something I can agree with. I think we have all seen rookie firefighters who, lets say, pass the SCBA and ground ladders written tests with flying colours, but when it actually comes down to physically donning a BA and climbing a ladder, they can't do it.

    Originally posted by PFire23
    We are stuck with this side (of the story).
    My opinion is my opinion, just as everyone else has the right to post theirs, even you. However, my opinion was formed becuase I was there and seen what was happening first hand. Yes, it might not make it the correct opinion, but it is still an opinion.
    "No one ever called the Fire Department for doing something smart..."

  10. #10
    Forum Member PFire23's Avatar
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    Default Re: Re: Re: Another point of view, which is what fh.com is all about!

    Originally posted by firefighter26


    I would tend to disagree. Mechanical knowledge is something not everyone can learn. A rookie firefighter with previous mechanical knowledge is easier not only easier to train, but becomes more dependable and effective sooner in their career.

    To show someone a chainsaw and show them how it works and how to operate it is one thing, but to have someone who can basically field strip it in the middle of a call and fix it if it breaks is something else; and would take years upon years to teach to someone who only ever had a basic understating of the tool to begin with.

    I am not saying that a housewife can't be taught to do it, just that it takes additional time to teach them the basics before moving on to the advanced. Someone who is already beyond basic tool operations with more effective with less hours of training.



    This is something I can agree with. I think we have all seen rookie firefighters who, lets say, pass the SCBA and ground ladders written tests with flying colours, but when it actually comes down to physically donning a BA and climbing a ladder, they can't do it.



    My opinion is my opinion, just as everyone else has the right to post theirs, even you. However, my opinion was formed becuase I was there and seen what was happening first hand. Yes, it might not make it the correct opinion, but it is still an opinion.
    Opinions are fine, but when you have a situation of this magnitude there are always 3 sides to a story, your side, their side and the truth. Sometimes, the truth gets lost in the shuffle.

    As for the physically donning an SCBA and going up a ladder, perhaps the person to whom you are referring didn't have a problem with the SCBA, but with the balance shift of having one on while on a ladder. Perhaps, the person to whom you are referring had a minor fear of getting back onto a ladder from a roof and needed a bit of extra time and training to get past that. Were you an officer in the dept? I'm willing to bet that the person in question let the officer's know of this problem.
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

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  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Default NOT MUCH MORE TO ADD....


    The Cowichan Valley Regional District isn't backing away from its blanket insurance policy for its six fire departments, despite the concerns of Malahat firefighters who walked off the job earlier this month.

    The CVRD called a press conference Thursday to announce it would be making no changes.

    "The insurance plan as in place right now will remain in place for 2005," said administrator Frank Raimondo, who spoke on behalf of the CVRD accompanied by chairwoman Mary Marcotte and Mill Bay/Malahat director Mike Walker.

    The CVRD made the decision to implement an insurance policy for the six departments under its management, after a review discovered two small halls carried no insurance.

    The decision became controversial when Malahat firefighters complained the new insurance offered less coverage than the plan they'd previously held. Eighteen firefighters walked off the job to protest, although several later returned.

    "When the firefighters decided to leave their posts, we ceased discussion," Raimondo said. "There was nothing to discuss. The board was faced with a position they found untenable. The board was faced with a group of people who decided to disassociate themselves and abandon the community."

    Raimondo admits the CVRD's plan offers less coverage in the case of the death of a firefighter, by $50,000. But he said the plan is equal or superior in other aspects, not only to the Malahat's previous plan, but to the insurance plans held by the non-CVRD fire departments within the Valley - including those that handle more calls than Malahat.

    He said the Malahat is the only department that has official complaints on record about the issue.

    Former Sahtlam fire chief Mike Lees has made complaints about the insurance in the media, but did not give enough notice to appear before the CVRD's protective services committee.

    Before increasing the amount of insurance, there must be time for discussions because that could set a precedent affecting the non-CVRD halls such as Duncan and North Cowichan, Raimondo said. He said the insurance would be reviewed annually.

    Malahat firefighters had proposed purchasing a top-up to bring their coverage to its previous level out of the hall's budget. Raimondo said the plan does not allow for topping up, but firefighters can purchase additional insurance on their own if they want.

    Malahat firefighters however maintain a CVRD memo from protective services manager Dan Derby stating the insurer can provide "enhanced packages" means they should be able to top up.

    Jason Dixon, the spokesman for the former Malahat firefighters, said it will be up to the individual firefighters if they will return to the department, but he personally won't go back.

    "I'm in shock, because they won't even consider upgrading our insurance," he said. "At this point I'm not going back because they way they've treated us is very disrespectful. They don't know what it's like to be a firefighter. They shouldn't be sitting in their plush offices making decisions about my insurance when I'm cutting a family out of a car."

    Dixon said he's used all his holidays protesting the insurance issue, so he needs to take time to consider the next step.

    The Malahat currently has a fire department of 12 members, including some who did not leave over the insurance, former members who returned to the department, and new recruits. They have an average of 3.6 years of service, better than the previous department's 3.5, Raimondo said.

    The CVRD also officially appointed Dave Balding the department's chief, replacing Scott Wilson. Firefighters who quit can apply to rejoin, but won't be automatically granted their former positions.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

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  12. #12
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Re: Re: Another point of view, which is what fh.com is all about!

    Originally posted by firefighter26




    To show someone a chainsaw and show them how it works and how to operate it is one thing, but to have someone who can basically field strip it in the middle of a call and fix it if it breaks is something else; and would take years upon years to teach to someone who only ever had a basic understating of the tool to begin with.











    Exactly how many roofs have you opened in your vast experience? "Field stripping and repairing a saw on the scene" is great, but do you know what to do while this being done? I have followed the exploits of the MVFD for some time now. I know all too well the politics that are involved up there. I personally saw that "death trap/training aid" with my own eyes. When the member who voiced their concern and went way above and beyond, doing a well researched and reasoned explanation to why the "rocket" is so dangerous, that person was shunned and accused of being "afraid" . Well let me tell you , I have been a firefighter for nearly 24 years and go inside more burning buildings in a few months then you will in your entire fire service career, and I would never send a person into a death trap like that thing. I learned a long time ago that NO ONE in the fire service is that important that they cannot be replaced. The mass resignation accomplished none of your goals. Did you think they were going to beg you to come back ? Sorry if I sound mean or harsh, but I know of some real mean stuff pulled on my friend. Refute what you want but the truth hurts. I APPLAUD those members who stayed on. Maybe they will be able to get some of the benefits they lost back. But they will do it by working hard and not running away and quitting.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Default FUTHER UPDATE

    Director suggests independent screening for fire hall applicants

    By Jennifer Hourihan Mar 09 2005 News Leader

    An independent third party should be brought in to evaluate re-applications to the Malahat Volunteer Fire Department, suggests Mill Bay Director Mike Walker.

    With 11 of the firefighters who quit the hall in a dispute over insurance applying to rejoin, Walker said he's going to recommend an outsider review applicants to make sure resentments don't get in the way.

    "The reason for that is to avoid future complaints of prejudice or bias or something along those lines," said Walker.

    The 11 applications were turned in to the hall Thursday.
    Jason Dixon, spokesman for the group of firefighters who quit their jobs, said all but a few of the group decided to return after discussing their options.

    "We realized we'd gotten as far as we were going to get," he said. "We thought that if we were going to continue to fight, we might as well be firefighters while we do it. It was ripping the guys apart to not be there."

    Eighteen of Malahat's 21 firefighters quit the department last month when the Cowichan Valley Regional District switched to a new insurance policy for the six fire halls under its umbrella. The Malahat firefighters said they would not work under the policy, which offered $50,000 less in benefits for accidental death.

    After hearing from the firefighters, the CVRD board voted to keep the new insurance package, appointed a new fire chief, and said those who quit could re-apply but would not be automatically granted their old positions.

    Dixon said what happened is now so well-known, firefighters won't accomplish anything further by staying away. "Our story has gathered so much steam, we can do the honourable thing and go back to protecting our community."

    Dixon said firefighters still plan to keep up discussions with the CVRD about increasing the level of insurance, and may also consider purchasing additional coverage on their own.

    Some of the 18 firefighters returned to their posts within a few days. Walker said he did not know if the new applications include the remainder of those who quit, or if there are still former firefighters staying away from the hall.

    Until the re-applications are processed, the Malahat hall stands at 14 members. Walker said the hall has been responding to calls, with the assistance when needed of the neighbouring Mill Bay department.
    "In the next couple of weeks we should be back up to strength and accepting all calls and the mutual aid can be cancelled," Walker said.

    Dixon said he likes the idea of an independent review of re-applications, so long as the person selected is unbiased and the review doesn't unnecessarily delay the firefighters' return to duty.

    © Copyright 2005 Duncan News Leader and Pictorial
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  14. #14
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Default

    The 11 applications were turned in to the hall Thursday.
    Jason Dixon, spokesman for the group of firefighters who quit their jobs, said all but a few of the group decided to return after discussing their options.

    "We realized we'd gotten as far as we were going to get," he said. "We thought that if we were going to continue to fight, we might as well be firefighters while we do it. It was ripping the guys apart to not be there."

    Eighteen of Malahat's 21 firefighters quit the department last month when the Cowichan Valley Regional District switched to a new insurance policy for the six fire halls under its umbrella. The Malahat firefighters said they would not work under the policy, which offered $50,000 less in benefits for accidental death.

    After hearing from the firefighters, the CVRD board voted to keep the new insurance package, appointed a new fire chief, and said those who quit could re-apply but would not be automatically granted their old positions.

    Dixon said what happened is now so well-known, firefighters won't accomplish anything further by staying away. "Our story has gathered so much steam, we can do the honourable thing and go back to protecting our community."
    The "honourable" thing to do would have been to stay on the Department and try to work things out intead of throwing a kindergarten quality hissyfit.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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  15. #15
    Temporarily/No Longer Active ToughJustice's Avatar
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    Default Step-Back

    Okay, I find it hard to believe that people are creating such rash opinions based off of such a scarce representation of the facts. Please step-back and take a look at the entire situation rather than tip-toeing through the tulips thinking you know best.

    I think that you said it best Pfire23 when you said:
    We are stuck with this side and what the news prints and we all know how accurately the media portrays things. Maybe in the future we'll be able to hear all sides.
    So as one of the former members of the MVFD I would like to post my side and I hope that you will all take it for what it's worth.

    The members of the MVFD had numerous meetings during their practice nights through-out the time following the New Years on how to deal with this situation, those who actually did attend any of these practices would have known the exact probablems of this sitation, rather than hearing it through word of mouth. The Fire Chief only did what he was asked to by the members, since each in their own way asked him to do whatever he could to guide us through this situation where we were getting bent over.
    Walking out of the MVFD that day was one of the hardest things that I've ever done...but has it been shared with you that this wasn't the first step of action that was taken by the members? Didn't think so, that'd be sharing all the facts wouldn't it.
    The CVRD attempted to cancel the insurance plan that we held during this time on November 9th, 2004. They did this by writing a letter to our insurance company, who refused to cancel the insurance policy since it was in the MVFD's name not the CVRD's. We found out that our insurance policy was to be canceled when our insurance agent phoned to ask us what we found wrong with our policy...of course our answer to this was NOTHING. This policy was supposed to continue on until August of 2005.
    An entire month later the CVRD held a meeting with the Chief tell us that they were going to cancel our current policies in order to allow for the new policies to come into effect on January 1st, 2005. They needed our Cheif's signature to cancel the policy and he down right refused inspite of many times being told he was jeopardizing his position, and I say cudos to him.
    Now let's do the math here, the CVRD wanted the policy cancelled on November 8th, 2004 to have a new one come in place January 1st, 2005. This would have left the members uncovered for nearly two months without their knowing. Problem? I think so.

    The CVRD continued to find different ways to cancel the policy without the need of the Chief, including hiring lawyers and such. During this time the members realized that they need to take action since it would only take so long that the insurance company would give up.
    The members suggested that they keep their old policy in place until it ran out and during this period look into upgrading the new policy. To this the CVRD replied You cannot hold two policies at once without them cancelling each other out. This they claimed cam directly from the insurance company.
    The members suggested that they upgrade the new policy to meet that of their old poicy as the CVRD said would be avaliable in a memo to the Chief. To this the CVRD replied This is unavaliable since it would cancel the savings that the Fire Departments recieved by buying in mass. clashing with what they had said previously.
    The members proceeded to suggest that they buy a seperate insurancy policy with the money out of their own pockets...something that we haven't had to do in a few years.
    The CVRD proceeded to ignore us, they would not listen to any of our suggestions, and further more they wouldn't even discuss any other options with us. It was like walking into a brick wall, a lying, cheating, government representation of a brick wall.

    So since no one at the staff was willing to listen. The members each wrote their own personal letters to the Regional Director stating that we needed his help in this situation and to this he replied with us needing patience. Pfft.

    So since no one wanted to listen to what we had to say the members decided to go on strike action. Doing only what was neccisary to the running of the Fire Department and nothing more. So in response to this the CVRD called a meeting with the Chief and our LT. the next night. During this meeting the CVRD continued to tell the Chief that us walking out was his fault, that us as member didn't care about our community, and that he needed to fix this. At this meeting the Chief resigned, something the administrator at CVRD has wanted for a long time. Shocking, they wanted to remove someone who stood up for themselves and fought for what was right.
    Because of this the CVRD called a meeting with the members at the Fire Hall that night. Now figure this one out, they call the meeting as if it were a tone-out. Seriously, the pagers went beep-beep and the siren was blaring, and arriving at the Fire Department you realize there was no call but a meeting with CVRD Delegations...I don't care who you think you are that's wrong.
    During this meeting they proceeded to tell us that we will be stuck with the lower coverage and that our Deputy will be our new Chief. Suck it up.
    This was the Deputy who said that he supported everything that we've done. This is the Deputy who has now been put in for a two year term without following the proper policies and procedures that the CVRD had put in place themselves.
    Please find me someone who can explain to me that this situation is perfectly okay and that we aren't getting jacked around at all.

    So we took it above the head of the Staff at CVRD and took it to the Protective Services. We went as a deligation to propose all the same solutions to the problems and that we get re-enstated so that the Fire Department was at least functional. Unfortunatly through that ordeal we realized that even the lowest form of governement can be corrupt, and it looked the the protective services were eating out of the hands of the Staff.
    But here's what the protective services did decide...that the members can purchase an additional insurance policy to upgrade the coverage to the same standard...isn't this what we had suggested before when they said
    To this the CVRD replied You cannot hold two policies at once without them cancelling each other out. This they claimed cam directly from the insurance company.
    Further more now that we've decided that we've finally been heard and are willing to go back they decide that they're going to accept us upon merit. I hate to say it boys and girls but there isn't enough room for merit here anymore, you need a functioning hall so stop putting off what need to be done eventually and take some of us back. Because I as a resident within this fire protection district do not feel protected...this has nothing to do with any bad feelings held against those who are there...this has to do with the fact being in the hall before I know what standards need to be met, and they're not even close.

    Now that you have a few more of the facts, answer me this: What kind of insurance coverage do you have? Are you paid or entirely volunteer?

  16. #16
    Forum Member PFire23's Avatar
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    Here's a thought, instead of fighting over the $50,000 less on the death benefit. Why not fight for more funding for PROPER training facilities and better training opportunities for the Department members? Without proper training, and adequate facilities in which to train you are running a greater risk of death or injury than if you had them. What's a greater benefit? Something after you're dead and gone...... or something to help give you the tools to prevent that from happening or at least lessen the chances of it happening. Make the governing body accountable, they want you out there, they want to lower insurance so push to have better training standards implemented. Walking out solved NOTHING.

    It seems to me that the policy that you were given isn't half bad for a volunteer department, what you were given was better than NO policy at all. Also, the policy that you originally had was better than most other departments, and was done privately and not through CVRD from what I understand. I can understand how they'd want to get the best deal for their dollar, they are a government agency after all and when you deal with the government the bottom line is always the almighty dollar.

    And what of those that chose to remain on the department and NOT walk off........ what ramifications do you foresee should you all return to the department. Will you be able to get past the hard feelings? Will there be a sense of team and brotherhood, or will there be your side and their side? You can't function properly with a department torn. When I made my comment about which sides we'd heard from I was referring to the side of those who chose to stay and those who have since joined. Don't you find it odd that after the majority of the firefighters walked out there was an insurgence of new members, where were they before when recruiting drives were held?
    Last edited by PFire23; 03-10-2005 at 07:36 PM.
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  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Default

    Jenn,

    Please don't make sense of this all. You'll only muddy the issue.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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  18. #18
    Forum Member PFire23's Avatar
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  19. #19
    Temporarily/No Longer Active ToughJustice's Avatar
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    Default Try Again

    This actually has nothing to do with monetary value as far as I'm concerned...this is more to do with the fact that we've had this level of insurance for years, I'm sure that you would know that concidering you were a previous member of this hall. This is especially proven when you go back to the time that we had to pay this out of our own pockets or our canteen fund for those who needed it, as I'm sure you can understand.
    The reason why we had a policy was because we took the incentive to get our own...so why are we being punished for the fact that two other department's administration found that it wasn't in their best interest to have insurance. There are plenty of ways that the CVRD could have gotten around this without stepping on our toes. For example rather than insisting that everyone have the same insurance insist that everyone must have insurance with a minimum standard, if you go above and beyond that's your choice. PROBLEM SOLVED
    With the way that you are throwing accusations around you sound like you know what your talking about...but do you really?
    You were not there so how can you say walking out solved nothing, like I pointed out, staying in solved nothing either they weren't listening. I loved doing what I was doing and helping people was my first priority but how can you risk your life to look after the community when there's the risk of having no one left to look after your family?
    No matter what precautions that you take firefighting is never a safe profession, let along past time for those of us who don't get paid.
    Really I think that this is what this thread is all about.

    But since you brought it up, let's get onto the MVFD bashing.

    Okay, so let's look at it this way, there are no hard feelings being held against any of the people who so decided to stay, matter-of-fact I stopped on my way home from work the other day to get a coffee from the recently opened coffee shop of one of the guys who did. You must understand that not everyone has a vendictive attitude seems like that maybe a personal issue of yours, not ours.
    Please tell me what is wrong with any of the training that the MVFD does everyone who does it does it on their own accord, if there ever was any issues they did not have to participate, a right that has been thoroughly exercised in the past. Not to mention this "rocket" that I have seen in a few of your posts is the new Chief's favorite tool.
    No matter who holds hard feelings, a Fire Department is never completly a whole...take a look at any of your own, you must have an out-cast, or someone you get along with less, yet when it comes down to it you always worked together under fire. There would be nothing heard of like not helping someone who's already carried a little girl through the bushes, out of jealousy or rebuke.
    The people who left hold nothing against any of the people who rejoined or just joined. Matter of fact many of conversations have been held between "members of the two parties" if you will. But no matter what you say having a fire department with such a large ratio of newer, untrained members cannot function and since this is a volunteer hall, only so much time can be put into training, no matter who you are. And unfortunatly it would still take months for this training to be brought up to par.

  20. #20
    Forum Member PFire23's Avatar
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    Default

    But since you brought it up, let's get onto the MVFD bashing


    I don't believe I was bashing, I merely asked a few questions. I'm not that "out in the cold" I talk to people too, perhaps just not the same ones as you. Things were not as rosey after the walk out as you would like people to believe, 'nuff said.

    Not to mention this "rocket" that I have seen in a few of your posts is the new Chief's favorite tool.


    And he's STILL wrong to be using it. Would you agree that the "rocket" is an inverted grain hopper?

    You must understand that not everyone has a vendictive attitude seems like that maybe a personal issue of yours, not ours


    Tell that to someone who hasn't spoken to those who chose to stay. Furthermore, I am not vindictive in the least, quite frankly I feel sorry for your department.

    Please tell me what is wrong with any of the training that the MVFD does everyone who does it does it on their own accord, if there ever was any issues they did not have to participate, a right that has been thoroughly exercised in the past.


    I never said anything was wrong with the training, I said you could ask for a better training facility aka one that meets standard, and that you could ask for more training. I don't believe I said anything negative about your training.

    There are plenty of ways that the CVRD could have gotten around this without stepping on our toes. For example rather than insisting that everyone have the same insurance insist that everyone must have insurance with a minimum standard, if you go above and beyond that's your choice. PROBLEM SOLVED


    Very astute observation and one that I agree with, it easily could have been resolved but it wasn't. BOTH sides are guilty of mishandling the incident.




    BTW, Welcome Back Sarah.
    Last edited by PFire23; 03-10-2005 at 11:31 PM.
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