No respite for PEI’s first responders. and other « heroes » after the storm

Firefighters and other first responders were very busy during post-tropical storm Fiona, and three days later calls are still coming in steadily.

The Charlottetown Fire Department has responded to about 140 calls since the storm hit early Saturday morning and knocked out power to about 95% of PEI.

Deputy Chief Tim Mamye said both Charlottetown stations were full as of last Friday. Firefighters have responded to full structure fires, kitchen fires, carbon monoxide incidents and more.

« We obviously prioritize life over property, so if the calls come in, in life-threatening incidents, we’re making sure we’re doing our best to make it happen. »

Downed trees and other debris made it difficult to access some sites, he said.

« When we have everyone in the station, we respond in the trucks, the crew is together and everyone stays safe when responding, and the response has been very slow in some areas just because you couldn’t not go there »,

Jason Woodbury, president of the paramedics union, said first responders did not know what to expect when they arrived at the scene.

Charlottetown Police Chief Brad MacConnell says he’s never seen a response like what happened over the weekend from Post-Tropical Storm Fiona. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

“The unpredictability of what we see when we enter the emergency is what we encountered while responding to the emergency, and with Hurricane Fiona, with the intensity of the storm, it was extremely difficult to get to the location.”

There are heroes beyond traditional first responders such as police, firefighters and paramedics.— Brad MacConnell, Charlottetown Police Chief

Police were also receiving numerous calls, ranging from damage to buildings to welfare checks for people living alone.

« I’ve been in public safety and first response for over three decades and I can tell you I’ve never seen a response like the one we saw this weekend, » the police chief said. Charlottetown, Brad MacConnell.

“There are heroes beyond traditional first responders such as police, fire and paramedics. We see heroes in our public works departments and other agencies there, putting themselves in danger and going to the beyond. As a police chief and resident, I’m very proud of that. »

fire department
Charlottetown Deputy Fire Chief Tim Mamye said the fire department was fully staffed as of last Friday. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

And now that power is slowly returning to some homes in Prince Edward Island, that poses another fire problem.

Anson Grant, chief of the North River Fire Department, said at the height of the storm they were busy responding to utility pole fires. They also saved a family of 10 after their roof exploded.

But he said there are now new challenges.

« We’re starting to get more calls now with generators and arcing power lines and stuff like that as the power is slowly being restored. There are still hundreds of trees on the lines that are live and they sparkle and light up and all that. »

Mamye said it’s important to keep generators and barbecues away from your home and never use them indoors, not only to prevent fires, but also to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

« With generators, the main concern is getting them away from your home or building, wherever you’re using it. That means no doors, no open windows. «


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