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Municipality of the District of Chester
Fire & Emergency Response

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Safety Recommendations for Fire Services

March 26, 2020

Good day,

The Office of the Fire Marshal has been receiving many questions from fire services organizations in light
of all that is happening regarding COVID-19 and current state of emergency put in place to help prevent
the spread of the virus.

The health and safety of all Nova Scotians the top priority at this time, and first responders are an
essential part of public safety.

Based on our current situation, the self-distancing and groups of 5 or less requirements would not apply
to emergency services in the course of their duties; however, we would encourage all emergency
responders to make every effort to limit their contact to essential duties only.

Although training and maintenance activities are an important component to maintain readiness,
ensuring the health of the service providers is also a key concern. Non-emergency activities at the local
fire station and unnecessary contact between organization members only increases the risk of exposure
which could more significantly hamper the effectiveness of the provider than postponing a training
event. As indicated by our Premier, we all must make every effort to “flatten the curve” on this
outbreak.

At this time, I would recommend that all fire departments limit the activities at their stations to the
absolute minimum necessary to be prepared for and respond to emergency calls. If some very critical
maintenance and training (such as safety practices related to covid-19) needs to be carried out in order
to maintain operational readiness, it should be done in a manner to limit contact between members as
much as possible, following all the recommended safety practices.

In addition, the province has banned open fires in an effort to reduce the risk of wildfires, which would
place further pressure on our province’s firefighting resources. The ban prohibits setting open fires for
any purpose in woods or within 305 metres (1,000 feet) of woods in any part of the province. The ban
does not apply to private parks and campgrounds.

Accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets can be found at
https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus .

Yours truly,
Fred Jeffers, Fire Marshal