Volunteer firefighters in Stewiacke, N.S., will be visiting local homes this week not to put out fires, but to deliver supplies to residents in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The town’s municipal government is currently completing its preparations for the new service, which will include grocery and prescription drop-offs, particularly for seniors.
“We have a high percentage of seniors within the community, and with things shutting down and seniors being more susceptible to the disease, we want to make sure they’re safe,” said Stewiacke Deputy Fire Chief Kara McCurdy.
“We want them to feel comfortable knowing they still have a service.”
The Town of Stewiacke, about an hour northeast of Halifax, has 23 volunteer firefighters. They’ll use two utility trucks to complete the deliveries, dropping packages off at the doorstep to reduce the risk of infection spread.
“We wouldn’t make any personal contact because of the virus, but at least we’re in a position where we can help out the residents of the town, said Stewiacke’s chief administrative officer Dale Bogle.
“We’re very focused on helping out but mindful of not becoming sick ourselves.”
Bogle and his team are still figuring out logistics when it comes to paying for the supplies delivered to homes in the community. He said they’re also examining personal protective equipment options for the firefighters involved.
Bogle said the town’s collaborative response is inspired by its experience with Hurricane Dorian in September last year.
“When we had dealt with Dorian, we got to see how the town really gelled together,” he told Global News. “Everyone looked after each other. It was really, really impressive way when that way happening.”
Even now, as the COVID-19 case numbers — and accompanying fears — rise in Nova Scotia, McCurdy said Stewiacke’s residents are working together to keep everyone safe.
Bars, dining rooms and close contact services, such as massage therapy, have also shut down to promote social distancing, but “our local grocery store has been awesome in keeping the shelves stocked,” she said.
“Overall folks are staying home. When I’m driving to work I drive right through the town and the streets are bare, so folks are heeding the stay-at-home rule, which is good.”
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McCurdy reassured residents that the new service will not impact her team’s ability to respond to an emergency should one arise.
The town will announce details of how residents can request the service shortly.
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