He has asked the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, on behalf of the Port au Port Regional Fire Department, to allow volunteer firefighters the use of a green courtesy beacon, which is essentially a flashing light volunteer firefighters can mount on their personal vehicle.
Chaisson said the important thing about this light is that it would indicate to other drivers who see it that it’s a volunteer firefighter approaching and that person is on his/her way to an emergency.
He said the green flashing light doesn’t give special privileges to volunteer firefighters, such as speeding or going through red traffic lights but if safe to do so, other drivers could pull over and let them pass.
“It would be completely up to a driver whether they pull over or not,” he stressed. “But I think most well-meaning people would pull over.”
Chaisson doesn’t believe there would be any abuse of these lights since volunteer firefighters are already trusted with the highest responsibility in an emergency situation and such a tool would only help them get to an emergency location faster and more efficiently.
He doesn’t want his young age of 20 years, nor his heading for just three months on the fire department detract from what he is hoping to do in getting the Getting the Green Light project legislated.
Chaisson said he has viewed many YouTube videos on the subject and talked to fellow firefighters about being caught up in traffic on their way to an emergency and because of that he has received the support of the department in applying for this.
The mechanical engineering student at Memorial University of Newfoundland said with the department’s support, he put the request into words. He said if accepted and proven to work, it could even be extended to other fire responders, like Search and Rescue.
Although Chaisson currently lives in Kippens, he grew up in Port au Port and said his serving as a volunteer firefighter is his way of giving back to the community.
John Finn, MHA for Stephenville-Port au Port District, said he believes the Getting the Green Light project put forward by the Port au Port Regional Fire Department is a great idea.
“Any time suggestions are made to improve emergency services, it’s important we (government) consider them, particularly when it would make a benefit to the public,” he said.
Finn said the fact this is being done in other jurisdictions, they are not looking to re-invent the wheel; however there are a number of considerations that would need to be looked at.
“I’m committed to having the conversation on this issue with the government departments and ministers responsible and further follow-up dialog with the Port au Port Regional Fire Department,” he said.
Finn said Eddy Joyce, Minster of Service Newfoundland and Labrador, has directed his officials at Fire and Emergency Services to review the proposal put forward by the Port au Regional Fire Department.