Sault Ste. Marie city council will hear all about the Fire Chief’s plan to reduce the number of firefighters and increase the resources for Emergency Medical Services Monday night.
Fire Chief Mike Figliola will present his report that outlines the number of fire calls are on the decrease while calls for EMS have seen a 100% increase since 2004.
Figliola is basing his report on data that shows actual property fires are about 1 – 2 per week, medical assist accounts for 55 percent of the 2,600 calls in a year.
Marty Kenopic , President of the Sault Firefighters Association will also be addressing council with his concerns of the Chief’s report. Kenopic, who is all for increasing EMS resources, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of firefighters.
Kenopic penned a series of questions for council to consider surrounding the current compliment of services , asking; Are there sufficient firefighters on duty to adequately respond to the building occupancy types and their associated risks within our community’s boundaries? (i.e. sufficient firefighters to perform all of the critical tasks required for an offensive interior fire attack including rescue) Are we sending sufficient firefighters on initial response to handle the critical tasks required in a safe and timely manner? In your opinion, how many firefighters are required (number or range)? To be more specific, Do we have sufficient firefighters on duty to perform the critical tasks required for an offensive interior fire attack including rescue and exposure protection at a single family dwelling? Are we sending sufficient firefighters on initial response to handle the critical tasks required in a safe and timely manner? In your opinion, how many firefighters are required?
Council has the authority under section 2(1) of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act to determine the level of service provided to the community. In face of continuing rising costs, services and the priority to protect life and property is based on real call experience, actual risk and the likelihood of an event occurring. Balancing the risk with fiscal concerns, managing the risk based on calls for service, likelihood and realistic expectations rather than maintaining resources for rare, extreme or historical circumstances provides the rationale for the level of service.
Council will be asked to approve the Realignment Recommendations that includes Continue to have 10 respond to fires, no change. Adjust daily staff level to
be more flexible at 10-13 from present 17, 3-4 per truck as is present practice with a 6 minute response time. Platoon complement at 17 from present 22. Presently 5 vacancies and remainder through attrition during 2016-2018 for a total of 16 positions. (-16)
Close Communication Room and contract to Central Ambulance Communication Centre. Achieve through attrition.(-4) Reallocate positions as follows: (+20) 8 Paramedics, 4 Paramedic Supervisors 2 Public Education Officers 1 Training Officer 1 Mechanic 1 Emergency Planning Officer 3 Additional allocation or eliminated.
Council meets Monday night.