Chilliwack Professional Firefighters Association are publicly endorsing five out of a total of 20 candidates running for council in the 2011 election.
“The candidates we have selected are willing to work towards safety for the community and safety for firefighters,” said Keith Corbett, president of Local 2826.
The five candidates include: Jason Lum, Ron Browne, Phill Bruce, Ken Popove and Stewart McLean.
Some of the candidates have added stickers to their signs that read: “Endorsed by Firefighters.”
The union recently called on the city to rekindle its plan to hire additional firefighters to improve response times and rescue capability, and help meet the “four firefighter” rule. The hiring plan had to be scrapped for financial reasons, union officials said.
According to provincial legislation, four firefighters must be on-scene before a burning building can be entered, and that has the potential to affect safety in cases when the rule can’t be met. Until four are on-scene, firefighters must wait outside structure for back-up to arrive, sometimes letting precious minutes pass.
Firefighters’ Association members drafted questions and sent them to all candidates recently, as well as attending all-candidates’ meetings and other election events to decide on endorsements.
Educating candidates about firefighter safety issues has been a top priority for the group during the election campaign, and the knowledge gained during in that process led to the selection of the five candidates.