Fire fighters conduct emergency drill

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Low water levels in town prompted the Pictou Fire Department to hold an emergency training drill Wednesday.

Deputy Chief Jason MacLeod said typically, Pictou fire fighters rely on the town’s municipal water system via hydrants strategically located on the streets within the town. However, on Aug. 1, the Town issued a Water Conservation Order to address what it referred to as “current shortages” within the town’s water distribution system. The order gives the town the ability to ensure conservation measures are observed and enforced.

The exercise held by the fire department utilized a system of moving water more often utilized by Pictou’s rural neighbours, a water tanker shuttle. Pictou Fire Department responded to a mock call at the elementary school in Pictou. While fire fighters stretched hose lines and set up large porta-tanks capable of holding 1,500 to 2,000 gallons each, Caribou, Abercrombie and Scotsburn fire department’s tankers (fire trucks carrying more than 1,500 gallons of water) responded as if to a real call from their respective stations. An engine from Scotsburn Fire Department made its way to a full site near the Advocate Print Shop. The tankers proceeded to dump water into the ranks and make their way to the fill site.

“Overall, the exercise went well. We learned from it as to what changes and improvements we would make during a real emergency,” MacLeod said.

Town officials say they continue to work with the fire department to ensure appropriate protection is in place during this shortage. The town is also working to locate the source or sources of leaks in order to ensure necessary water services in the short term and a reliable water supply for the long term.

“Having close mutual aid partners who work closely with us and have the ability to fill and transport water from a static source to fires in town is a huge benefit to us as we don’t have tankers to do it ourselves. We would like to thank Caribou, Abercrombie, and Scotsburn for coming out on such a warm evening and showing that our mutual aid system works so well.”

Fire fighters in Pictou take part in an emergency water training exercise. (Cameron photo)