Letter(s) to the Editor - From the Firefighter’s Association.

Monday, March 12 2012

The Gabriola Firefighters Association has previously clearly expressed support for the fire hall as proposed by the trustees. (See Gabriola Sounder, April 18, 2011, page 6)
Nevertheless, there have been rumours suggesting firefighters do not support the new hall. The Gabriola Firefighters Association wishes  – again – to clearly state their support of the new fire hall as proposed by the trustees.
Volunteer firefighters face extremely demanding and stressful situations on a daily basis. We have to watch our friends and neighbours lose precious belongings; we witness their serious injuries or health problems; we see them die. All of us find this challenging and everyone deals with it differently: some strive to learn as much as they can to be well prepared, others find a workout in the middle of the night helpful, all of us appreciate a place to defuse and debrief, to sit down and talk.
It is of paramount importance for our association to ensure the continuing physical and mental well-being of all firefighters.
We feel that the hall proposed by the trustees goes a good way towards achieving this goal. We greatly appreciate that the chief and the trustees have approached us early in the planning process to hear what is important to us firefighters.
~ Thomas Uhlig on behalf of the Gabriola Volunteer Firefighters Association


Editor's Note: As the Sounder has gone through a web site upgrade since the April 18, 2011 edition was posted online, we have included that letter below.

Firefighter Association supports construction of new fire hall
At a recent meeting of the Gabriola Volunteer Firefighters Association (GVFFA) members passed a unanimous resolution supporting the construction of the new #1 Fire hall as presented by the Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District and the Gabriola Island Volunteer Fire Department (GVFD).
Given the relative importance of this announcement to Gabriola, the GVFFA (as an independent organization governed by its own constitution) wanted to lend our voice in support of this initiative as it directly impacts the delivery of our mandate.
As per the GVFFA constitution, the purpose and mandate of the association include:
1. Promoting and fostering the well-being and morale of the members of the Gabriola Volunteer Firefighters Association and the Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department; and,
2. Promoting public interest in the Association and the Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department through participation in community events.
The Association reviewed the plans in detail in terms of delivering on our purpose and mandate. We are thrilled that the new hall will have the facilities in place to assist the GVFFA in promoting the health and wellness of members (a fitness room, proper washroom facilities, a kitchen and a dining/social area for eating). While these may seem trivial items to some and not required for this new hall, the GVFFA feels that they are essential in maintaining firefighter well-being and morale while helping foster a team building atmosphere (which is absolutely essential when we are working together in hazardous situations).
In addition, the new hall will have the facilities (as seen with the public classroom space) whereby the GVFFA can expand our efforts in engaging the community in fire safety and prevention. Not only will this enable us to further educate the community, but will also provide a venue to actively recruit new firefighters and association members.
As volunteer firefighters, we take great pride in being able to help our community whether it is on the fire ground, a first responder call or at the elementary school during fire prevention week. We feel that the new hall will not only provide a secure and safe building to house essential fire fighting and rescue equipment and provide much needed space for training; it will assist us in achieving our identified purpose and mandate.
We greatly appreciate the support we receive from the community, and will continue to deliver the high level of professional service on Gabriola that you have all come to expect from the members of the GVFFA.
~ Dimitri Tzotzos, President
Gabriola Volunteer Firefighter Association