As the Chief of the Surrey Fire Service, I know that the men and women of Surrey Fire take great pride in serving and protecting the people of Surrey. The dedication Surrey firefighters bring to their role is boundless. In these challenging and anxious times, it is vital that we present a united front in the fight against COVID-19. To bring any uncertainty on the preparedness or capability of Surrey Fire is a disservice to the people of Surrey and to the legacy of our proud department. As front-line emergency workers, our role is not only to fight the fires and attend emergency calls, but it is to instill confidence to the people we serve that we are able and ready to respond.

I ask that the Union leadership reflect on its actions and the potential harm and worry it is causing to the people we serve.

To all Surrey firefighters, we will all get through this, the contingency plans I have put in place has been done to ensure that SFS will be response ready not just today or next week, but for the full duration of the crisis. I have put staffing plans in place to ensure we are not over extending our staff over the short term because no one has an answer to when this will end. Your well-being and making sure you can continue to perform at the consistent high level you do is the driving force here. The strategy is about pace, not a race.

I want to be clear, this is not about budgets, and it is all about the long-term well-being of my staff and the availability of SFS members to meet the challenges ahead.

I respectfully ask that we refocus our efforts to collectively fight this unprecedented challenge before us. It is the right thing to do as members of the Surrey Fire Service and it is the right thing to do for the people we so loyally serve.

Chief Larry Thomas

Surrey Fire Service

City of Surrey