The following was issued to SaultOnline.com by the Sault Ste. Marie Professional Firefighters Association :
Sault Ste. Marie’s professional fire fighters have learned that the city is quietly putting forward
a plan that will decimate the fire department’s emergency response capabilities by cutting 20
frontline firefighters, almost 25 per cent of its personnel.
The firefighters warn that the city’s plan, devised behind closed doors without any consultation with residents and any proper study of its impact on public safety levels and
insurance rates, could have disastrous effects if it is implemented.
“This sounds like a dangerous plan,” says Marty Kenopic, President of the Sault Ste. Marie Professional Fire Fighters Association. “A reduction in frontline resources like that will definitely
mean it will take us longer to reach your door and limit what we can do, whether it’s a fire
where someone needs to be rescued, a medical call like a heart attack, a haz-‐mat call or
any other emergency.”
The firefighters are calling on the city to hit the pause button and delay any formal action
until the plan is properly studied and its full ramifications on public safety, firefighter safety
and insurance rates are known, and until the public and other stakeholders such as firefighters and business owners have been consulted ” The people and business owners of Sault Ste. Marie have a right to know exactly how this plan will affect them, and they should have a voice in the process,” Kenopic said. “They deserve no less”
The average Sault Ste. Marie household pays just 66 cents a day for 24/7 response from the fire department, from skilled professionals who are on scene of any emergency in minutes. Firefighters respond to fores, medical calls such as heart attacks, ice/water rescue, vehicle accidents , haz-mat incidents, and every other kind of emergency.
The firefighters say an element of the city’s plan is to take away fire department resources and divert them to ambulance.
This ignores the fact that firefighters respond to many other kinds of emergencies than fires and again lacks study and consultation about the real issues and the best way to solve them.