Civil security: the FQM pleads for flexibility

Civil security: the FQM pleads for flexibility
Civil security: the FQM pleads for flexibility

Me Sylvain Lepage, director general of the Fédération québécoise des municipalities, believes that the government should take into account regional realities and “modulate its requirements” according to the size of municipalities and their human resources.

This is what he expressed at the public inquiry of coroner Andrée Kronström into the death of two firefighters from Saint-Urbain

“Even a regional service would not bring more people,” he said, recalling that even if Baie-Saint-Paul had been the responsible service it would not have been able to do more on 1, 2023, having already been mobilized on its territory.

“A more flexible framework” would be an option to analyze, he also believes. “The government should also put in place a structure to ensure follow-up of training for stakeholders. We will never be able to transform all volunteer firefighters into experts because there are so many specialties in this field. No regional municipality will be able to offer what the fire safety department of a large city offers,” he says.

The director of the Quebec Federation of Municipalities also believes that a structure must be established so that municipalities and MRCs inform the population about the regional intervention capacity.

Investments in training that is “flexible and adapted to reality on the ground” which would make it possible to increase the pool of part-time firefighters.

INFO-Crue would help predict floods

Flood forecasts should improve with the INFO-Crue project. Led by the Ministry of the Environment, the Fight against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks, it will contain forecast maps that the general public will be able to consult online by the end of the year. To date, emergency responders can access it.

Audrey Lavoie, director of hydrometry at the ministry’s main water expertise department, mentions that 50 watersheds, including that of the Gouffre River, will be analyzed. She does not believe that adding a hydrometric station further upstream on this river is the best option. “It’s possible, but I’m not sure it’s possible since there is a lot of sediment,” she replied to the coroner.

In recent years, 50 stations have been installed in Quebec. 110 sections of watercourses will be monitored through INFO-Crue.

“We saw the increase in flow coming, but we could not predict what happened. We are linked to the weather. Much more rain fell than expected. And sometimes, it’s the watershed that makes the difference,” she said of the subject of May 1, 2023.

INFO-Crue will present a forecast map. We can therefore have the quantity of water and represent it on a map. We will also find the maximum precipitation of the day and the next day.

At the start of the year, members of the Saint-Urbain Fire Safety Service and municipal employees followed two training courses working near watercourses.

Westley Grenon, director of operations at Nautical and Specialist Rescue SIFA, provided the training.

The first, entitled Working near water, was given on January 24. Three days later, intervention in the riparian environment and flooded area was provided. The latter brought together 10 firefighters, he revealed at the public inquiry of coroner Andrée Kronström.

“Knowledge varied from member to member. I don’t think that training a specialized team is the priority, but rather building a health and safety culture. I felt the drive to do all the training, but that comes with a long list of equipment to purchase and training. I suggest taking it gradually,” said Westley Grenon.

The possible solutions that he presented to the coroner involve better training and the development of the skills of those involved who may be faced with interventions on waterways. “We must know the risks and dangers to protect ourselves,” he said.

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