The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire
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James Feeney is burning with a passion that is fireproof.

Deputy Chief with Loyalist Township Emergency Services, Feeney is proud of the department he has served for 18 years.

“It’s awesome,” says the former Correctional Service of Canada worker. “It is one of the most composite fire departments in Ontario, if not Canada.”

Speaking from a fire hall in Amherstview in the summer of 2018, Feeney, 43, is clearly passionate about the vibrant department that extends to Bath, Odessa and Amherst Island.

“We get a mixture of calls,” explains the senior firefighter about the department’s diverse work. “We respond to medical emergencies, fire alarms, water rescues, ice water rescues and motor vehicle accidents.”

Perched on the shore of Lake Ontario just west of Kingston, Loyalist Township is a mixture of rural and urban. It is bordered to the north by one of North America’s busiest roads, Highway 401.

Known for its well-trained auto extrication team, Loyalist Township Emergency Services is gaining a reputation for its world-class service and equipment.

“The aerial truck arrived in June of this year,” says Feeney about the department’s new vehicle valued at approximately $1 million.

“It’s a really nice piece of equipment,” he says about the pumper equipped with a 78-foot ladder which thrilled children when it was extended at Helen Henderson Care Centre’s annual Family Fun Day on July 18,

“It’s pretty neat up there,” Feeney says with a smile.


Thankful for the department’s ongoing support of the retirement lodge and long-term care home, Assistant Administrator Angela Gibson notes, “Loyalist Township Emergency Services is more than a faceless department of first responders, it is an efficient team of caring people who are our neighbours and friends. Helen Henderson Care Centre is fortunate to have such a wonderful group of people guarding and supporting our most precious resource: our residents and staff. We are grateful for the department’s hard work and long hours. It is reassuring to have these heroes protecting us.”

Passionate about promoting and preserving the health & safety of the community, including Helen Henderson Care Centre located next to the department’s Amherstview station, the deputy chief talks about prevention programs such as Wake-Up Loyalist.

According to him, firefighters visit the same residential areas every four to five years to voluntarily inspect carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms to ensure they work.

It is just one of the many ways the department is trying to decrease smoke related deaths in Ontario.

“We do 600 to 700 homes a year. That’s our goal,” he confirms.

Other issues the department is addressing is a complete burn ban invoked on July 10.

“When it will be over, we have no idea,” says Feeney thoughtfully. “It’s still pretty dry. This year has been extremely bad for forest fires. It’s been taxing resources in northern departments. Last year, we were dealing with floods. Now, it’s a drought. We seem to be experiencing a lot of extremes.”

Feeney credits the department’s superior training, top-notch equipment and asset management process to strategic planning by Chief Fred Stephenson and the support of Loyalist Township Council.

Guided by this strong leadership, the department’s 100 members are at a remarkable state of readiness.

“8 to 4 doesn’t really cut it in a service that is 24/7,” Feeney remarks gratefully.

Helen Henderson Care Centre is thankful for the good work of Loyalist Township Emergency Services which supports our Family Fun Day and Spring Fling. To learn more about the department, please call 613-386-3762. To learn more about living or working in our home, please visit www.gibsonfamilyhealthcare.com

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