The Village of Zeballos has made the tough decision to suspend its volunteer fire department.
In an online statement, Mayor Julie Colborne noted the village is currently dealing with a number of issues, including a staffing shortage, and after a closed council meeting on May 27, decided it will be temporarily suspending firefighting services rendered by the Village of Zeballos Volunteer Fire Department and will be hiring consultants with expertise in local fire services.
“These experts will be able to offer council additional insight on policies and procedures that may be suitable for the village,” said Colborne, adding more information will be made available to the public in the next few weeks as council decides on its next steps.
According to the mayor’s statement, the village’s legal counsel, consultants and the Office of the Fire Commissioner have “identified areas of potential liability to the village and its firefighters” and the village needs to “understand and mitigate these risks.”
She added the village will “seek information on the expectations of the Office of the Fire Commissioner, training levels of fire department members and the WCB requirements to keep our members safe.”
Colborne also says the village recommends residents “look at their own policies of insurance to decide whether they need to report the change to their insurer.”
She thanked the village’s current fire department members for their time and effort.
“Your continued dedication and commitment is invaluable. Our fire chief position has been vacant and our firefighter roster numbers have been low for some time. We are looking to remedy this and fill the other vacancies in the department. Please volunteer today and help be part of the solution.”
If there is a fire, you can still call 911 as dispatch services will have a protocol in place.