The Lloydminster Fire Department presented a new staffing model to council on Monday. They look to add 4 full time firefighters at an approximate cost of $150,000.
Fire Chief Jordan Newton says the revamp of staffing will allow flexibility for the volunteer firefighters.
“The cost of actually paging out volunteers to come in, as well as attending practices, duty days all the other things that volunteer firefighters have to do would go down because this new model allows firefighters to pick and choose their volunteer time.”
In 2016, Lloydminster was the largest municipality completely served by volunteer firefighters. The majority of the firefighters have 0-3 years of experience and 8 of 30 have 4 or more years of experience. Newton says that turnover is what lead to the new model.
“We were experiencing turnover rates of about 1/3 of the department for at least the last 8 years.”
This model would include having firefighters at the fire hall staying overnight on evenings and weekends to reduce response time from eight minutes to four. Mayor Gerald Aalbers says that keeping firefighters is ideal and is in the budget to do so.
“These ladies and gentlemen train a great deal. We put a lot of value into them and we put a lot of training into them. So retaining them is very important.”
This is the first step in modernizing fire services provided by the city.