MONTREAL, April 28, 2023 /CNW/ – Recognizing that Coroner Kamel’s report shows that she understood that the water rescue service was inadequate at the SIM and that major corrections must be made quickly, the Montreal Firefighters Association deplores the fact that, despite everything that has been said Montreal firefighters are still inexorably exposed to the lack of training and various other deficiencies in the field which makes them the poor child of a parent in the same state that is the training in general of firefighters in SIM.
“There are only three (3) boats out of the eight (8) necessary to ensure the entire water rescue service, which is largely insufficient because these boats are assigned to cover critical areas, although one located far from the other on the territory, has the effect of leaving the firefighters-rescuers to themselves, “said the president of the PAM, Chris Ross. At the same time, he lamented that these rescuers cannot count on the essential backup of a second boat to ensure their safety both by water and land during strategic rescue operations.
Mr. Ross added that the Montreal Firefighters’ Association continues to make efforts with both the CNESST and the SIM authorities, who have so far shown blindness: especially the CNESST which, despite the Association’s protest, had authorized the implementation of self-training, which is now denounced by the Coroner and is one of the causes of the dilution of knowledge and skills vital to firefighters, and which has unfortunately spread to all disciplines of the Service. Also, the Association had insisted that the firefighters of the water rescue teams could benefit from a training on white water interventions; training which, despite the wishes expressed in the wake of the tragic death of firefighter Pierre Lacroix, by drowning, in the waters of the Lachine Rapids on the fateful evening of October 17, 2021, has never been implemented.
“In addition, the new boats acquired by SIM are still not operational for rescue purposes due to lack of training, after having been in dry dock due to various and worrying mechanical breakdowns,” added the president of the APM, for whom this major issue related to non-existent training is taking on the appearance of an unacceptable nautical saga that adds insult to injury.
Already, the work of the recommendation that had been issued to the Ministry of Public Security by the CNESST, which omitted to include workers’ representatives, to set up a working group to identify the various measures and good practices that would improve the health and safety of the various stakeholders, has been practically completed without consulting the associations representing the firefighters, despite the fact that the Coroner considers in her report; (excerpt) /… that it would undoubtedly be desirable for a firefighters’ association to be a stakeholder in order to make the work of this committee sustainable and in cohesion with the reality on the ground.
The Firefighters’ Association hopes that the Coroner’s report will sound the death knell for the lack of adequate boating training and will set the tone for an essential and urgent change of course in such matters, in the name of not only the safety and health of its members, but also those of the citizens of Montreal who have the right to expect access to assistance and rescue services worthy of the name in the event of critical situations.
In this perspective, the Association will do everything in its power to ensure that Coroner Kamel’s recommendations are implemented within a reasonable time frame. The union leader concluded by stating that the desired turnaround, beyond wishful thinking, is for all intents and purposes an inexorable matter of common sense and sound management of specialized services in SIM.
SOURCE Association des pompiers de Montréal