A fire at the Tom and Al’s warehouse in Wallaceburg on December 23, 2017 (Chatham-Kent Fire & Emergency Services)

Chatham-Kent Fire & Emergency Services say over the course of the last 40 days the department responded to 53 motor vehicle collisions and 19 fires, including two significant commercial warehouse fires in Wallaceburg.

“The stamina and determination of all our staff has been tested over the past month, working in arduous conditions for long periods our teams have done a fantastic job to safeguard communities and protect homes and properties,” stated Chris Case, assistant fire chief.

“Despite these challenges their commitment and dedication has never wavered and they are a credit to their communities. The support and assistance we have had from colleagues in the police, EMS and municipal teams has been vital to allow us to achieve the safe outcomes we aspire to during operational incidents.”

Fire Department officials say for the first time in five years nobody lost their lives through the tragedy of fire death in a home in Chatham-Kent.

Crews visited thousands of homes in 2017 with the implementation of innovative programs such as CHiRP Home Fire Safety Checks, After the Fire Reassurance and My Apartment.

The approach is all about ‘getting into people’s homes’ and educating face-to-face.

This has significantly increased the interaction of firefighters with members of the community, Fire Department officials say.

“Our frontline firefighters are constantly providing fire safety education to the public and we work very closely with our community partners, who help us connect to residents,” stated Whitney Burk, public educator, in a press release.

“Without these relationships our reach would definitely be restricted.”

Contact CKFES for a CHiRP Check by calling 519-360-1998 or visit www.ckfire.ca.

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