After two years of trying to revitalize the membership and viability of the Mirror Fire Department, Lacombe County Council opted to cease operation of the organization, effective October 31, 2018. This decision comes after significant efforts by Lacombe County, as well as current Mirror Fire Department members and residents of the hamlet, to bolster membership.
“It’s not an easy decision to close this department, but we were unable to get the membership necessary to safely operate this fire department,” explained Paula Law, Lacombe County Reeve. “Unfortunately, we didn’t receive enough viable applications to increase the membership of the fire department to a suitable level.”
Over the past couple of years, a major focus on training standards for volunteers has been in the forefront. Best practices also require a minimum standard of 12 trained volunteers to make the department viable, while safely and efficiently responding to calls. Since a public meeting was held at the end of July, the roster of firefighters in Mirror dropped to three individuals. Since January 2016, Mirror has relied on the Alix Fire Department to provide the manpower needed to fight fires or to respond to motor vehicle accidents.
“While closing the fire department in Mirror is not the ideal or desired outcome, it is a reflection of the unfortunate realities of rural volunteer fire organizations,” said County Fire Chief Drayton Bussiere. “In order for us to ensure the safety of not only the citizens in Mirror, but also the members of the fire department, we needed to have suitable numbers and a significant amount of training to take place.”
“Over the last nearly two years we have made significant efforts to increase membership in Mirror and it’s become evident this is not sustainable. For a Fire Chief, closing a fire hall is an absolute last resort, but eventually, the tough decision had to be made.”
As of October 31, 2018, the Mirror Fire Department will cease operations, and Alix Fire Department will officially absorb the Mirror Fire Department’s response district. Lacombe County will determine an equipment and apparatus distribution plan and will help the three remaining members of the Mirror Fire Department with the transition to Alix, should they choose to continue.