A last effort is being made to keep the volunteer-strapped Mirror Fire Department going.
Only five volunteers are left, less than half of the 12 that are required to keep the fire department viable. A public meeting has been set for July 25 at the Mirror Community Hall beginning at 7 p.m. to discuss the future of the department and the repercussions if it folds.
Lacombe County has spent the last 18 months unsuccessfully trying to recruit new volunteers who can meet the necessary requirements and are available for the extensive training required.
“Up to now, there have been zero qualified applicants,” Lacombe County Fire Chief Drayton Bussiere told county council on Thursday. “Revitalizing the fire department has been unsuccessful so far.
“We not only require 12 committed individuals to join this department, but they also need to complete adequate training to be able to safely respond to calls,” he said later.
“Currently, the Mirror Fire Department’s training is limited and we rely heavily on Alix to provide the manpower needed to safety and efficiently fight fires or respond to motor vehicle accidents.”
While Alix is close enough and staffed enough to cover Mirror, and mutual aid agreements with other departments means there is other help available, losing a local department will likely have an impact in the hamlet.
Mirror homeowners may see their house insurance costs rise because they no longer have the same fire protection.
Bussiere said volunteer shortages have occurred in a number of small fire departments.
County council considered a staff recommendation to close the fire department by Aug. 31. However, several councillors supported delaying a decision until after a public meeting to explain how serious the situation is and see if enough volunteers will step forward.
Coun. Brenda Knight said the community should know the situation before a decision is made.
“Give them a month to try to rally the troops and wrap their mind around what’s going to be happening.”
There may be more interest in volunteering when Mirror residents realize what losing the fire department could cost them.
“Maybe they’ll pull someone out of the woodwork who hasn’t been pulled out of the woodwork yet,” said Knight.
Coun. John Ireland said given the recruiting problems closing the department is likely a “foregone conclusion” but the community should have its say.