The call for amalgamation around the region is strong, but in a variety of cases Oak Bay is finding its own way to manage working with its neighbours.
A great case in point is the work the Oak Bay Fire Department and Saanich Fire Department have been up to over the past couple of weeks with their joint fire training.
The two departments have had a mutual aid agreement for several years, as most departments in the Capital Regional District do.
The invisible borders separating our municipalities are not cement walls holding residents hostage or bars keeping criminals at home, just as they do not keep small fires to small departments.
The training done between the Saanich fire department and the Oak Bay department benefits both communities.
The home scheduled for demolition in Cadboro Bay gave both departments a great opportunity to train their own members and for crews to learn to work together.
Members of the two departments were able to get to know their fellow firefighters better and to learn how each other’s specialized equipment works in a realistic situation.
One of the more interesting points to this practise is that the firefighters have not trained in this manner in more than seven years. This is likely due to a limited number of homes available in which to train.
In this case, a home donated temporarily to the Saanich fire department offered the perfect opportunity for our firefighters to train for a fire large enough that it requires the aid of another department.
Having a home slated for redevelopment does not happen every day in Oak Bay, but the overall benefit to our community of donating your home to the fire department for training is a wonderful opportunity to give back to your neighbours.