Fire fighters want on next council agenda


In light of Monday’s pending motion by Mayor Provenzano to refer the issue of the Fire Suppression staffing reductions to the CAO’s office for a 90 day review and report to council on the new deployment effectiveness as well as the need for an Independent Comprehensive Risk Assessment, the Sault Ste. Marie Professional Firefighters have requested standing at the February 8th Council meeting.

The Firefighters have requested that an association representative as well as Former Fire Marshall of Ontario Patrick Burke be added to the council agenda to address council and discuss the obvious need and the inherent value in the Independent Comprehensive Risk Assessment offered to the City through the Office of the Fire Marshall at no cost. Sault MPP David Orazetti has also urged Mayor and Council to utilize the OFM’s services for clarification on the Fire Service Staffing reduction issue.

The Agenda review committee has deferred their meeting until Wednesday afternoon, after which we will be informed whether our request for standing is approved. A brief outline of the Independent Comprehensive Risk Assessment from the OFM is attached and further information is available upon request.

Click here to view the Comprehensive Risk Assessment

Assessing the fire risk within a community is one of the seven components that comprise the Comprehensive Fire Safety Effectiveness Model. It is the process of examining and analyzing the relevant factors that characterize the community and applying this information to identify potential fire risk scenarios that may be encountered. The assessment includes an analysis of the likelihood of these scenarios occurring and their subsequent consequences. In essence, fire risk assessment attempts to answer the following questions.

  1. What could happen?
  2. When could this happen?
  3. Where could this happen?
  4. Who could this happen to?
  5. Why could this happen?
  6. How likely is it to happen?
  7. How bad would it be if it did happen?
  • An evaluation of the probability of an event can be categorized into 5
    levels of likelihood:

Likelihood Levels

  • Rare
  • Unlikely
  • Possible
  • Likely
  • Almost Certain

Note: The frequency of incidents provided should only be used as a general guide when determining this value. It should be complemented with consideration of events that occur within other communities. Events that have not taken place for a long time in your community may occur more frequently elsewhere. This may serve as an indicator that there could be a strong likelihood than what historical data indicates.

Consequence Levels

The consequences as a result of fire are the potential losses or negative outcomes associated with the event. Estimating the consequence level due to fire involves an evaluation of four components:

  1. Life Safety
  2. Property Loss
  3. Economic Impact
  4. Environmental Impact
  • An evaluation of the consequence due to fire can be categorized into
    5 levels based on severity:
  1. Insignificant
  2. Minor
  3. Moderate
  4. Major
  5. Catastrophic

Overall Level of Risk and Priority

The overall risk assessment is completed by assigning probability and consequence levels to potential adverse events or scenarios due to fire and combining the two to arrive at an overall risk level. The Risk Analysis Matrix is an analytical tool that can be used for this purpose. This tool also allows the analyst to rank and classify the scenarios for the purpose of prioritizing risk reduction measures.

  • The risk and priority levels are defined as follows:
    L = Low Risk
    M = Moderate Risk
    H = High Risk
    E = Extreme Risk

Community Fire Risk Factors

Assessing fire risk should begin with a review of all available and relevant information that defines and characterizes your community. Eight key factors have been identified that contribute to the community’s inherent characteristics and circumstances. These factors
influence events that shape potential fire scenarios along with the severity of their outcomes:

  1. Property Stock
  2. Building Height and Area
  3. Building Age and Construction
  4. Building Exposures
  5. Demographic Profile
  6. Geography/Topography/Road Infrastructure
  7. Past Fire Loss Statistics
  8. Fuel Load

The review should consider the factors independently as well as in combination with each other to identify potential fire related concerns within the community.

Assessing Fire Risk Scenarios

The first step in conducting a fire risk analysis is to identify and define the community(s) being analyzed. The second step involves assessing the community(ies) based on the eight risk factors and compiling a list of potential fire risk concerns associated with these.

  • Risk Factors:
  1. Property Stock
  2. Building Height and Area
  3. Building Age and Construction
  4. Building Exposures
  5. Demographic Profile
  6. Geography/ Topography/ Road Infrastructure
  7. Past Fire Loss Statistics
  8. Fuel Load

The third step involves reviewing and analyzing the individual concerns independently or in combination with others to develop potential fire risk scenarios. For example, a risk factor involving the presence of a residential highrise building creates the simple risk scenario of “a fire originating in a residential highrise building”. However, there may be situations where it would be appropriate to combine two or more risk factors to accurately reflect an existing condition. Expanding on this example, the presence of a residential highrise building that is
primarily occupied by non-English speaking senior citizens and does not meet retrofit requirements, introduces additional concerns. This produces a more complex scenario that is riskier than the original one. The ability to combine individual factors to generate these multi-risk scenarios requires one to have in-depth local knowledge on how these issues interact with each other.

The fourth step involves assessing and assigning probability and consequence levels to each of the potential fire risk scenarios.

The fifth step involves applying a Risk Analysis Matrix to each of the potential fire risk scenarios to determine overall risk for the purposes of prioritizing management decisions.


Assessing a community to determine its inherent fire risks is a fundamental exercise for establishing the types of scenarios that may be encountered. The outcomes derived by the exercise serve as the basis for formulating and prioritizing fire risk management decisions to
reduce the likelihood and adverse impact of these events.

In summary, assessing the fire risk within a community consists of:

  1. Defining the community boundaries.
  2. Assessing how the 8 key factors contribute to a community’s inherent characteristics and circumstances.
  3. Compiling a list of potential fire risk scenarios.
  4. Assigning probability and consequence levels to each scenario.
  5. Applying the Risk Analysis Matrix to establish overall risk levels for each scenario to prioritize management decisions.

Please do not hesitate to contact for further info or clarification,

Rob Shaughnessy
Sault Ste. Marie Professional Firefighters


  1. I’m losing respect for the fire department on a daily basis. The endless fear mongering, the constant up hyping of their job, it’s tiresome. Over the past 30 years, the need for fire departments have decreased while wages and plush working conditions for fire fighters have blossomed. Cook, sleep and lift weights on the taxpayers dime. I for one am sick of this and many of my neighbors feels the same. Their union just doesn’t take no for an answer. My grandson would love to make $100,000 a year while answering 1-2 calls per day. We need more ambulance workers and we need less of you.

  2. The Sault Fire Chief should resign. He lied to council by not presenting all the facts .Exaggerated the truth to make firefighters look bad mislead council.City Council made a bad decision by not studying the issue with fire services.The cost to thousands of people with increased insurance rates will do more harm than good.You cannot make an informed decision without having all the facts in a two hour period this issue should have been deferred.
    What firefighters get paid is not the issue.What you have is a Fire Chief who through his Fire Services under the bus,The Fire Chief has broken his trust with the people he serves and the firefighters he is supposed to command.He has no respect in this community.Respect is earned not given.He needs to resign .

  3. As a very concerned taxpayer in a Northern Ontario community, I am completely dumbfounded with why this liberal Ontario government is not addressing this “BROKEN” arbitration system that continues to pay fire and police extravagant salary increases of 3-6- and 9 % annual “retention” increases while SSM taxpayers are losing their jobs at Tenaris and Essar Steel. In simple language, Orazietti wants SSM City Council to address the matter of an independent risk assessment and meanwhile his government is failing to do its job of being responsible to the taxpayers of this city. I just don’t get it.

    • Interesting comments Frank, but you seem to have no gripe with the millions of dollars in bonuses that Essar just paid a handfull of their executives while under bankruptcy protection. You think that these types of mismanagement decisions just might be one of the reasons that people are losing their jobs at Essar. Perhaps we should just lay all police, firefighters, city works crews, heck lets get rid of all top paying jobs in this city as well as the Hospital, Schools (lots of wasteful redundant spending of tax payer dollars in schools, 2-3 teachers aids per class room, multiple vice principals in one school, yeah we should clean house there too) . Lets just turn this city into a total welfare state Frank…and let the only remaining employees (city councillors) support the masses that will join all the others on social assistance Frank. Sorry, we all know how much you hate the ‘W’ word Frank (welfare)…You know what Frank , why do we need 2 councillors per ward? Why not have one councillor and go to an 8 ward system thus eliminating 4 councillors at a savings of $100,000/ year? I challenge you to table that plan Frank and put your money where your mouth is cause otherwise your rants mean nothing but drivel. ‘ I just dont get you ‘

  4. Firefighters still trying to do an end run around the Fire Chief… Sooner or later they are gonna have to start getting along with their boss, and that’s not Council… If council is gonna do an independent risk assessment, do an INDEPENDENT assessment, without imput from people with a vested interest in getting their own way……

Comments are closed.