Municipal Affairs
July 15, 2008

Provincial Government Announces Funding for Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Fire Services

The Honourable Dave Denine, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Minister Responsible for Fire and Emergency Services � Newfoundland and Labrador (FES-NL), has announced in excess of $130,000 in funding for the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Fire Services (NLAFS).

The provincial investment includes $41,000 for a 2008-09 operating grant, a $61,000 recommitment to the Learn Not to Burn program, and a $30,000 investment towards the development of a recruitment video based on a song written by Vince Carey entitled Hometown Superstar.

"The services offered by the association are evidence of the selfless commitment each and every volunteer firefighter makes," said Minister Denine. "The Learn Not to Burn public education program, as an example, reaches thousands of children from Kindergarten to grade 3 each year. We are delighted that all partners have recommitted to this program for another season and the Provincial Government is proud to be a significant contributor."

Fire departments, especially in rural areas, are finding it extremely challenging to recruit volunteer firefighters. Moreover, the existing memberships are declining due to age, out-migration and retirements. The Provincial Government was approached in April 2008 to fund a recruitment video to help curb this trend and attract new membership within the fire service. The recruitment video, estimated to cost $30,000, will be used for public relations and fundraising purposes to explain the firefighter�s job and bring new enthusiasm.

"Volunteer recruitment and retention is an issue facing the volunteer fire services throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, and throughout the country," said Minister Denine. "The Provincial Government is committed to working with the NLAFS and other stakeholders to make recommendations and devise solutions to recruit more firefighters. The development of a promotional video is indeed a great start, and we look forward to the renewed energy it may generate."

Minister Denine also wishes to congratulate all participants of the 44th Annual Convention of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Fire Services (NLAFS) on a productive and very informative event. The NLAFS held its annual convention on July 4-6 in Gander. Discussion topics included fire operations in the wildland / urban interfaces, changing volunteerism, recruitment and retention challenges, fire service and report management systems and a training session for school bus extrication held by Fire and Emergency Services � Newfoundland and Labrador.

"I am encouraged by the strength and focus each member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Fire Services showed at their convention in Gander," said Minister Denine. "Among other things, I had the opportunity to observe a working forum held by the Working Group on Recruitment and Retention within the Volunteer Fire Services. This type of setting provided significant insight into the minds of current volunteers and harnessed their opinions on the topic. Their contribution to our community comes only second to their willingness to make the fire service throughout our province even stronger. I was pleased to experience their dedication first-hand."


Media contact:

Bradley Power
Public Relations Specialist
Fire and Emergency Services � Newfoundland and Labrador
709-729-0857, 697-5216

2008 07 15                                                    10:55 a.m.

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