Pictou County pondering insurance coverage for firefighters over age 70

Published on February 15, 2017

PICTOU County council is considering changing the age of the firefighters it insures.

Abercrombie Fire Department recently wrote to council asking that it change its insurance policy so that it will include firefighters over 70 years of age.

The Abercrombie department expressed concern that the matter was brought to council’s attention in May 2016, but it still had not been addressed as of the February council meeting.

“The department has decided to obtain additional insurance coverage of our members over 70 years of age as well as receiving improved coverage of the remaining members of the department,” said Dan Young on behalf of the department.

The Municipality of the County of Pictou responded to The News Wednesday saying the municipality has been working on the issue with a firefighters liaison committee.  

The request for the increased coverage came after the May 2016 policy was already approved so the committee has been looking at making changes for May 2017, the county said.

Barney River Fire Department Chief Joe MacDonald said the committee is currently collecting the number of firefighters with each of the 18 departments including all members who are 70 years of age and older.

MacDonald said not all county departments have members over age 70 and some that do are part of the executive and not considered active.

However, he said, having experienced firefighters on the executive or in active duty is important to departments because they are knowledgeable and usually close to home when a fire call comes in.

MacDonald said with so many younger people working away, on shift work or in different areas, older, retired firefighters are usually in the district and can drive a truck or operate a pump in a time of need.

The 2017 insurance policy will be tendered and it will go to the financial services committee for review. Council will then make the decision on the level of coverage and premium that will be paid.