Public safety top priority as volunteer fire fighter dispute continues, says City

By Dryden Observer Staff

The City of Dryden offered an update to their plans to move forward in shoring up the city’s fire service in the face of an impasse with its volunteer fire fighters who suspended their services, Feb. 23.

The two sides have been locked in a stalemate since a March council meeting when city council defeated a motion for a town hall meeting on the issue and the DFFA would not back down on their demands to have Fire Chief Ryan Murrell removed from his role.

The City released a statement on March 28 detailing its actions to maintain fire coverage in the face of the suspension of services as well as move forward with new recruitment.

As an interim measure, the City has employed the services of five (5) contract professional fire fighters. These fire fighters possess the necessary qualifications to be professional fire fighters in the Province of Ontario. They have completed the Pre-Fire Fighter Education and Training Program at Confederation College in Thunder Bay, which includes being certified Emergency Medical Responders and are qualified with hazmat operations and rescue techniques.

In addition to the five (5) contracted fire fighters, the City has maintained support from Dryden Fire Hall 2, several Fire Hall 1 volunteers and Dryden Fire Services staff. As well, the City is also being supported by agreements with neighbouring fire services in Oxdrift and Wabigoon.

The Office of the Fire Marshal has been made aware of the situation and is monitoring the public safety aspects of our fire protection plan. The Fire Chief, has confirmed that the City is fully achieving relevant standards for effective and efficient fire service operations. Our citizens and properties are protected.

The City will begin recruitment to the Dryden Fire Service this week and information regarding volunteer fire fighter opportunities will be posted to the City of Dryden’s website: www.dryden.ca

In April, Council will be discussing and reviewing their options regarding the long-term future of the Dryden Fire Services operations.

The stream of press releases from the DFFA has stopped in the meantime, the Facebook page ‘Support Dryden Fire Fighters’ urging the public to pressure city hall to reopen talks with the Association.
“We never asked for Ryan to be fired,” reads a post made on Monday. “We have asked to help us build trust with him again.”

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