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August 22, 2012
By Jennifer Grigg


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Aug. 22, 2012, Midland, Ont. – Summer can be a busy time for people and it’s no different for me – almost too busy, some might say (meaning me). Life hasn’t left much time for blogging lately, so here’s my last-four-weeks-in-a-nutshell-catch-up blog.

Aug. 22, 2012, Midland, Ont. – Summer can be a busy time for people and it’s no different for me – almost too busy, some might say (meaning me). Life hasn’t left much time for blogging lately, so here’s my last-four-weeks-in-a-nutshell-catch-up blog.

Let me begin by noting how crazy things get when there’s a fire ban in effect (for more than three weeks), smack dab in the middle of summer, when most people are on holidays and camping/cottaging in cottage country. Burn complaint, after burn complaint, after burn complaint.

You would think it would be common sense to check the fire rating before you plan a camping trip in the middle of a hot, dry summer; however, we have found that isnt’ the case. Despite the media reports of the widespread fire ban and our public-education program (which had us talking to campers on four different bodies of water in our area numerous times – many thanks to the minions, oops, I mean, by-law co-workers for all their hard work with that), it still wasn’t enough. We even went so far as to rent a huge highway sign on the side of Hwy 400 at the border of our township that said, “Total fire ban. Maximum fine $1,200.” Surprisingly, still not enough.

And of course, as soon as we got a little bit of rain, everyone expected the ban to be lifted. Like, really? (I apologize for my adolescent abuse of language but it aptly describes my complete exasperation with the entire situation, as well as that of our fire prevention officer, who often had to deal with the offenders first hand. She may have used other terminology to describe the situation, but you get the gist of it. . .)

Amid the string of never-ending burn complaints, we were paged out to the typical summer calls such as medical calls and car accidents, including a rollover of a tractor trailer. Fortunately for the driver, his injuries were not life threatening; however, the incident did create one heck of a tossed salad in the ditch on Hwy 400. Bahahaha. I know, cheesy, but funny nonetheless. And don’t even get me started on the cases of pistachios. . .

We also had our share of problems with one of our marine units the past few weeks. It seemed as though every time it got anywhere near the water, one thing or another went wrong. I suggested renaming our fire boat Bad Luck or Black Cloud. All seems good now – haven’t had an issue with it in more than two weeks . . . hasn’t been on a call either, mind you. Reminds me of a Farley Mowat novel I read as a kid, The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be . . . except this time it’s a boat that wouldn’t be.

All in all, July was a crazy busy month as is typical for most fire departments. I believe fellow blogger Rob Evans commented on his record numbers out in Redwood Meadows, Alta., recently. Now that we’re well into August, things appeared to have slowed down and I’m finding the time to catch up on things (meaning this blog) before the end-of-summer rush starts, followed shortly thereafter by chimney-fire season . . . (only half kidding there.)

As for the next few weeks, I’ll be in Ottawa Sept. 7 and 8 attending the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association annual general meeting, followed by the unveiling of the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation monument and memorial service. I then have a rural water supply course the end of September (really need to brush up on my pump ops . . . feel free to volunteer your time, fellow firefighters, to helping me with that cause), live fire refresher Oct. 13 at the Ontario Fire College in Gravenhurst, Ont. (the day before my birthday . . . good thing I’m getting younger and not older!) and firefighter survival the last weekend in October. Needless to say, it’s about to get busy again . . . and I’ll do my best to tell you all about my adventures . . . because guaranteed, there’ll be some laughs for sure.

Hopefully not just at me!

Jennifer Mabee is a volunteer with the Township of Georgian Bay Fire Department in Ontario. She began her fire career with the Township of Georgian Bay in 1997 and became the department's fire prevention officer in 2000 and a captain in 2003. She was a fire inspector with the City of Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services before taking time off to focus on family, and is excited to be back at it. E-mail her at jhook0312@yahoo.ca.


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