Correcting the narrative

The esteemed mayor of Saint John is back to attacking Police and Firefighters again. It seems to be a weird obsession. Let me add some context to his rants.

He mentions in his latest blog that his son was assaulted because Don insisted employees were benchmarked. This is not true. I do know the story behind the assault and it had absolutely nothing to do with the Mayor insisting anything. I will leave it there as most understand.

“ the crime rate dropped by 3.37 percent. Think about that next time you see the Saint John Police Force’s armored vehicle rolling out into the community with no siren on.” This one is a bit baffling. What does the overall crime rate have to do with the Police force using an armored vehicle at an incident involving firearms? Does he wish for a repeat of Fredericton or Moncton? The vehicle was donated to the force for just such occasions and Im sure the officers and their families are grateful for the tool.

“In 2014 (the most recent year reported by Statistics Canada) there were a grand total of 1,509 fires in the entire province of New Brunswick. Between 2004 and 2019, structure fires in the city dropped by 57 percent”. I cant dispute his numbers because as pointed out the reports havent been published since 2014. Which begs the question, how does he know structure fires dropped from 2004- 2019? I do know we had 4 structure fires in the past 2 weeks. Lets go further though shall we? Firefighters do not just respond to structure fires. That has never been the case. What else do we respond to?

Medical calls upset him however fire departments world wide have responded to medical emergencies for decades. All personnel have been certified as Medical First Responders. I cant even count the number of lives that have been saved as a result so im not sure why this upsets him.

Hazardous material calls. Saint John is an industrial city. SJFD is responsible for spills, leaks and fires of hazardous materials in all of southern NB. All SJFD staff are trained to the minimum of Haz mat ops and many are haz mat technicians.

Grass and brush fires. Dumpster fires. Vehicle fires. Cooking fires. None of these show up statistically as structure fires, however they would all undoubtedly turn into structure fires without swift response and extinguishment.

Motor vehicle accidents. SJFD responds to MVA’s for many reasons. Risk of fire or explosion. Extrication. Hazardous fluid spills. Scene safety for paramedics and patients etc. Auto extrication is a complex task that requires specialized training and equipment especially with hybrid and electric cars.

Confined space rescues. Water and ice rescues. Elevator rescues. High angle rescues. Off road rescues. Flooding. Basically there is not an emergency that we are not trained or equipped to respond to. This is the reason most departments rebranded to Fire/rescue years ago.

The SJFD repairs and maintains its own SCBAs which is a massive savings for the dept and city. We repair our own hose. We refill our own fire extinguishers. Test and inspect our ladders. Many departments outsource these tasks at a large expense.

Information is not a dirty word. Get informed. The information is there. The Mayor just chooses to ignore it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, however you must base that opinion on fact. Not emotion and not vendetta.

Stay safe