An effort to reorganize firefighting services in Wheatland County has raised an alarm for some of the local fire departments within the county limits.
 
The proposed bylaw would put all departments under the authority of a regional fire chief and deputy chief appointed by the county manager.
 
"Our fire department is operated by our municipality and our local volunteer firemen are employees of this municipality," noted Rockyford Mayor and volunteer firefighter Darcy Burke. "The bylaw that Wheatland County is proposing talks a lot about the employees of the fire service; we need to get clarification on who this bylaw is going to impact and in what ways."
 
More than 30 firefighters attended a meeting of Wheatland County Council last month to hear first reading of the bylaw and complained that they had not been consuilted.
 
"We understand that we have to have policies and procedures in place, but you also have to find some medium ground between what is acceptable by the firemen and and what is legislative," argued Burke. "If we start to mix too much legislative into operations that's where it's going to begin to cause friction."
 
"Probably the two biggest issues with the bylaw is the command structure and the funding now; that is the two main concerns we see in the proposed bylaw," he added.
 
The rural fire associations have asked to meet with the county a second time to go over their concerns and see if they can be addressed.

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