The fire services quarterly report shows an increase in all call types however, Fire Chief Jordan Newton believes it is not a cause for concern.
Newton presented his quarterly report to the Governance and Priorities Committee on October 21. The report showed the fire department responded to 159 calls this quarter compared to the 107 calls in the same quarter last year. He says while the numbers show a high number, they do fall in line with what they were expected considering the changes in the way the fire department has been running this year.
“Our service model and service delivery have changed for the fire services in 2019 with the implementation of full-time staffing and 24/7 continuous staffing, we’re able to provide better services to the community. It’s an inaccurate depiction to compare it year over year.”
Newton says, this summer, they’ve also changed the way they collect data for the reports to provide a better understanding of the work done by the fire service.
A number that caught the eye of the committee was the fire department receiving 170 false alarms to date this year. The fire department has implemented a service fee for if they are called to the same location for two false alarms. Newton says they have only had to implement the fee once this year.
“The goal of the fire department is to work with the community, business owners and homeowners to eliminate those types of repeat calls. So far, we’ve been successful and if there is a faulty detector in a commercial business we will work with the business owner to eliminate that rather than bill them everytime we go out.”
Mayor Gerald Aalbers says it costs money every time a fire truck is sent out to respond to a call.
“With the number of home security systems, commercial systems; there’s a responsibility on those individuals and businesses to ensure they’re maintained because the fire service does cost money. Anytime the firetruck rolls there is wear and tear, fuel and demands on the truck and staff.”
Newton also gave a small update on the Fire Service Master Plan which help the fire department to grow within the industry and may lead to changes in the city fire bylaws. He says the plan will be complete within the next two months and will implement the recommendations in 2020.