A petition has now been presented to the CRD protesting a new workplace rule that requires the showing proof of vaccination for COVID-19.
Axel Hvidberg is a member of the Bridge Lake Volunteer Fire Department.
He says a lot of volunteer fire fighters will be forced out of their departments after January 17th.
“For any of us to be members of the volunteer fire department we are required to have a statement from our personal physician dictating that we are fit for duty. That is all the Cariboo Regional District should require. Showing my private health information is none of their business when they have a signed document from my physician stating that I am fit for duty.”
Hvidberg also questions how showing a piece of paper increases the safety of the community.
“A fire fighter shows up on scene, and if it is a fire call, we are wearing gloves, we are wearing face protection, we are wearing eye protection. We even bring our own breathing air. If it is a medical call, we are outfitted with gloves, we are outfitted with eye protection, we are outfitted with masks, and face shields if so required. How are we a risk ?”
Hviberg says the public will actually be less safe once they lose fire fighters, adding that some departments were on the low side already.
He says School District 27 in the Cariboo/Chilcotin area doesn’t have a mandate, so why are volunteer firefighters being asked to comply with one.
Hviberg says having fewer fire fighters could also end up costing homeowners.
“Yes, the Fire Underwriters Survey is an organization that the CRD reports to, and the Fire Underwriters Survey rates each district, and if we don’t have enough manpower in our halls we will eventually be downgraded a level of protection. That of course will be reported to individual home insurance companies and commercial insurance companies, degrading our fire protection, which of course will result in an increase in fire insurance rates.”
Hviberg says there were more than 11-hundred names on the petition that they presented to the CRD on Friday, and that the overall total is now up past 2,300.
The Chief Administrative Officer with the Cariboo Regional District confirms that they have received the petition.
John MacLean defends the rule, saying they are responsible for ensuring as safe and healthy a workplace as they can provide, and he says that includes firefighters.
McLean says they feel that this is appropriate action in doing that.