The Lloydminster Fire Department looks to keep up with the needs of the growing community. On Monday, Lloydminster Council approved a new interim staffing model for the Fire Department.
Currently, the department has four full-time and 40 paid on-call employees. This model will increase full-time staff to eight. The interim strategy is to move the firefighters to 24/7 continuous staffing of one truck with three firefighters. This plan will have a four crew rotation of two full-time employees and one paid on call. The department believes there will be major benefits with the model such as faster response times. Councillor Jonathan Torresan says it would be challenging to find a city the size of ours with a volunteer model like Lloydminster.
“I think that it was something that was a matter of time that was going to get to us. This is a band-aid solution until we have an operational review done that says what level of staffing we need.”
The changes also include a third-party review of how the department works, at a cost of $50,000. The department hasn’t been reviewed since the 1940s. Mayor Gerald Aalbers says the standards of today are a lot different to how they were in the past.
“Policies and procedures that have been followed for a long time do not adhere to the modern day procedures that should be in place to ensure that people have adequate protection. We want to ensure the safety of people and ensure the safety of firefighters.”
The current model costs Lloydminster just over $1 million, and an extra million will be added on through the new staff plan. It’s believed part of that can be covered by new revenue, like charges for false alarms. Councillor Aaron Buckingham says Lloydminster fire receives a lot of calls that can potentially bring in revenue.
“We will have to look at the bylaws and the fire fee bylaws within that to see how we can try and do that to offset the cost of this new interim policy.”
The staff model will be temporary while The City and Fire Department figure out the best way to operate in Lloydminster.