POUCE COUPE, B.C. – As the Village of Pouce Coupe enters the by-election campaign’s home stretch, statements have been made about conduct at the Volunteer Fire Department that warranted a response from the mayor.

According to a statement from Mayor Lorraine Michetti, accusations were made about the Village’s Volunteer Fire Department related to the use of alcohol while on shift, as well as the number of firefighters that actually live in the Village of Pouce Coupe.

“Drinking should not be allowed in the fire hall under any circumstances. It’s not a party, you’re going there to serve the community? Serve the community, that needs to be enforced,” said one candidate.

Michetti pointed to a comprehensive drug and alcohol policy already in place at the fire hall.

“The fire department has a comprehensive policy addressing the use of alcohol and drugs by its members,” reads the statement. “No fire department member shall report for duty while impaired by alcohol or drugs, nor shall any member consume drugs or alcohol while on duty, or while riding on or in any fire department vehicle. This policy has been in effect and has been rigidly enforced since 2014.”

On the subject of firefighters’ residence, Michetti responded to claims that members of the fire department did not reside in Pouce Coupe.

“Of the seventeen members of the department in total, five of the members live in the Village of Pouce Coupe, and three members live in the rural fire district. The department is highly trained according to provincially mandated certification criteria, and includes several members with training instructor certifications. The department also includes four active members of the BC Ambulance Service. The department regularly conducts recruitment drives locally to attract new members.”

Michetti wrote that the department provides high-quality, responsive, professional service to its residents and the surrounding area.

She said the fact that people from outside Pouce Coupe are willing to dedicate their time and effort to protect the village is a testament to the level of cooperation and support throughout the region.

“Of that, the Village is proud and appreciative.”