Fire Chief’s Stats don’t Jive

20

Since the Fire Chief’s Mike Figliola’s report to city council on October 26th, 2015, the numbers and stats that have been thrown around have been skewed and misinterpreted.

His report to council was “by contrast, Fire Services calls involving actual property fires are down 80% over the period of 1984-2014 and currently represent just 3-4% of the roughly 2,500 emergency calls dispatched annually, or approximately 1-2 per week in 2014.”

This is actually quite false.

There were 1,049 fire calls in 1984 resulting in almost $2.5-Million in damages or $23.42 per capita.

In 2014 those fire calls were up, to 2,616. Now Chief Figliola’s report doesn’t show the cost to the citizens of Sault Ste. Marie but the 2013 report does.

$4,304,525 in losses to the city due to fires or $57.26 per capita.

That’s a 150 per cent increase in fire calls and a fire loss or damage increase of $1,827,034.

That’s a cost to the taxpayers of more than double.

Here are some images from various fire reports to city council as posted on their website:

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And as far as fire rescues we are only down 3 from 130 rescues in 2014. And property fires are actually higher in 2015. Here are a couple more images to show it:

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2014 response types:

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Note: The October 2015 closed-door meeting with city council and the Fire Chief that SaultOnline.com posted in its entirety, was objected to by persons or entities unknown, directly to YouTube to be removed. It was kept on the site after information concerning its freedom of information, and how that act was used to obtain the video.

You can watch it again here.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Very poor statistical analysis Jeff!

    The Fire 2,616 calls you report in 2014 are actually the total calls. These include false alarms, medical calls etc.
    The actual number of property fires was 94 as shown by your graph. This equates to 3.6% of the total calls being actual fires, or 1.8 per week. Nothing the fire chief said was incorrect at all.

    The major issue is that “actual fire calls” are down 80% since 1984.

    His plan is to address the 782 “medical calls” the fire department took in 2014. If fires are down drastically, but medical calls are up drastically, doesn’t it make sense to reduce the number of fire fighters and replace them with paramedics???

    If in 2025 the stats are now 40 fires per year and 1,500 medical calls and we were at the same compliment of fire & paramedic personnel, wouldn’t we look even more stupid?

    We’re putting the public at a risk right now by being understaffed in paramedics and overstaffed in fire when the need clearly isn’t there.

    Obviously you’re an “artist” who believes union jargon protecting their own jobs more than a logical statistician who clearly can see the numbers support making our city safer by redistributing our resources!

    • It’s time for everyone to objectively contribute to doing more with less for the sake of tax payers. After all, it is the tax payers that pay our wages. As tax payers we have a right to paramedic services and fire services, but we should not be taken advantage of. I have long felt that the fire fighters have had a very privileged gig, which was the envy of most.

      Let’s realize that we are public servants and stop the entitled childish thinking.

      Every organization has to grow and change with the times. Fire fighters are no different. If a chief had been promoted from within, we would get what we’ve always got. The new chief was brought here to bring new ideas and help us advance these departments. Thanks chief!

  2. Why does the Sault have to have a Reject fire chief of another city. They booted him…did the Sault not vet all his negatives, The poor performance reviews from pervious employers. Grounds for dismissal on that alone. When there are so many other good Sault vetern firemen, good leaders of men is right here in town why import. Why does the town get someone who wears false metals.. its a crime, he does not show up for memorials..it a big shame…while he goes to his cottage and the liquor store….shame…shame… Does not live in town…he will never get to your fire to save you. Treats men who serve under him with disrepect. Well city council are you part of the problem or are you going to be part of the solution and bring harmony, respect back to the Sault Fire department.

  3. Unfortunately Mayor and Council have bought into this guy’s rhetoric without any effort to cross exam him, and the varying amounts of conflicting information, as shown by the author of this article. Which by the way is only the tip of the iceberg in this regard!

    Secondly, the public seems to be generally unfazed by the reduced level of fire suppression crews, with the exception of a very small portion of the community. Without a barrage of serious concern for public safety towards Mayor and Council, the level of emergency services provided during the past regime will be nothing more than a distant memory.

    I’m still waiting for tax relief resulting from this ludicrous plan………ya right!!!!!

  4. Seems to me that all this article speaks to is the loss of “stuff” None of this is direct cost to the community as they are having this covered by insurance. While I don’t doubt it is devastating one has to realize and acknowledge that something more important happened in this community.. The fire Chief recognized that there was a dire need for more Paramedics because the potential for loss of life far out weighs the potential for loss of property or “stuff”

    • Jeff. If you read the annual reports over the years you would see that they speak to more than just “stuff” as you say. They also mention the number of fire deaths, which cost the City much more than money. How much money would you put on those lives? Every emergency service (EMS, Fire, Police) in this City is just as important as the other and to say that it is a good idea to cut one to increase the other is total stupidity.

    • The fire chief appears to be an outright liar Jeff and council isn’t doing their homework. That’s quite concerning.

      Again the firefighters never argued that medics weren’t needed now did they? No they didn’t. They said there was a need.

      The Chief, Council and Mayor need to identify you can’t do more with less, the public needs to understand that. If they accept those liabilities along with the Chief, mayor and council then so be it and let’s roll the dice together.

      Ed

  5. Seems like SSM firefighters run around chasing ambulance calls and false alarms to justify their big budget. These two call types represent more than 50% of the fire departments workload. Through in CO false alarms and nearly 6 out of every 10 calls are false alarms or running a million dollar truck around the city with 3-4 very well paid first aiders trying to chase down paramedic calls (which by the way , paramedics have 2+ years of schooling… Compared to a week or two of basic first aid training firefighters receive). My two close friends are a firefighter and ones a paramedic… The firefighter has a second job he does right after his shift and is always well rested. Not fooling me anymore!!

    • Deb I know many fire fighters that have bachelor of science degrees in fire science, this meaning 4 years of schooling. Some of these individuals were also licensed paramedics. So I think your schooling point is moot.

      I believe the firefighters would be directed by the chief as to what medical calls to respond to, and as educated and important as our medics may be I would still want the closest available unit to respond to my medical emergency. These two services work fantastic together in my opinion.

      Also how many priority 4 medical calls (possibly the most serious) are in fact a serious call or rather minor in nature? I would equate this similar to a ‘false alarm’, wouldn’t you? You get the call, it’s either a priority 4 medical call or in a firefighters case and alarm ringing, sometimes it’s the real deal and sometimes it’s not correct? I’m sure there would be eye opening stats on the medical side as well.
      We need both these services and law enforcement in our community.
      Maybe it’s time for council to leave emergency services alone and look elsewhere in their departments to cut. You know, maybe where it won’t affect the citizens LIVES and personal property.

      Ed

    • Most firefighters have either a trade i.e. plumber, carpenter, electrician, gas fitter,etc or 4 year Bsc degree or 2 year diploma. And only until recently did they change the educational requirement of a paramedic from an 8 month to a 2 year course. According to Ministry stats listed on their website, 2/3 of the code 4 calls are over-prioritized and only 1% were actually CTAS1 calls. http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/content/annualreports/arreports/en13/304en13.pdf page 136
      Also in Sault Ste Marie there is a tiered response system. Firefighters don’t chase paramedics because fire hall locations are stragecially located around the city allowing for a quicker response. While paramedics deal with offload delays at the hospital, firefighters are able to get to the patient quicker and access the situation. All these facts are on the web, google them.
      Lets not get off topic, this isn’t about paramedics, this is about the facts. If you get called to 1 fire or 1000 fires the manpower needed to do the job properly does not change. But as you decrease the department size, risk increases for the firefighters and the occupants. And as for insurance, your premiums are based on municipal resources, risk and fire loss. That is why the insurance company audits municipalities and presents them with a fire underwiters report. For some reason people keep bringing up paramedics in these articles which have nothing to do with them and the comments from these people tend to downplay the firefighters role in our community. It makes me wonder who is writing these comments. Firefighters, police, paramedics, nurses and teachers are needed by our community and we should not lose sight of our needs.

  6. The OPFFA also got their numbers wrong as it didn’t acount for inflation…. 23.42$ vs 57.26$ capita, the taxes and cost of every as more than double since 1984, just saying….you can manipulate stats but the citizens can see through your numbers!

    • Andrea. If you read the article, these are the facts reported by the Chief and his Annual reports to the City. They have nothing to do with OPFFA. There’s no manipulation here on the OPFFA’s part at all. Have a look

  7. This city from past to present has failed us over and over .. we hire people thru connections within the councel .. the councel hides stats to hide their failures and to justify bad decisions . They sit on their butts when it comes to the city’s future . How about a community to bring in industry. Sending them to possible industries to set up here .. all these years over 20 years and one industry mdf plant . And this is called a success.. then being blackmail by Essar and not informing us year on year of the company not paying taxes . I want to know what other industry or business not paying their taxes . No I demand to know which companies owe us .. it’s because essar you are raising the taxes to cover the loss . You work for the people this continues we will March on city hall and demand it .. I want my children and my grandchildren to be able to live in our city with good jobs . Not to have to move hundreds of miles to work ..

  8. Great job bringing the truth forward and exposing the lies council, mayor and the chief are trying to pass on to their constituents. Sounds like there is something going on and the truth is impeding their efforts to unveil their hidden agenda. Unfortunately council needs to read the dictionary and find out what the term”expert” really means. The stats provided are staggering and concerns me! Come on council and do your job to investigate these claims made by the “expert”.

  9. It seems that every time the Fire Chief talks nothing but lies come out of his mouth. Wonder what else he has told Mayor and Council that is also not true.
    The bigger question is with all this information available to Mayor and Councin, why do they continue to hold the course with the Fire Chief’s “fluid and dynamic plan”.

  10. Just think, all of this BS would not be necessary if it weren’t for he billionaire deadbeats, ESSAR that owe the city 21 million dollars and many millions to numerous suppliers and contractors, some that are now bankrupt thanks to these billionaire corporate bullies. To add insult to injury a judge says that they can continue to not pay their taxes and screw the city over even more, while they conveniently lay off hundreds of workers.

    • Reg This BS was in the works long before Essar declared bankruptcy. I will not comment on Essar other than the city dropped the ball on the taxes and has yet to answer to the citizens on this. If you hadn’t been paying your taxes they probably would seize your property or put a lien on it. This has everything to do with a council that appears to totally ignore public and worker safety and bases it on the word of one “expert” who has yet to move into this city, something that the CAO declared a while back would happen by June of this year. I for one would like to see a proper assessment completed to ensure that their plan is what they say it is.
      I watched the videos attached to the link in this story and I would suggest you and everyone to do the same if you want to learn a little more about the “expert” opinion. have a great day.

  11. what else would be expected of an administrator??? He was brought here to trim the city budget at the cost of the communities safety. I would ask one that he not wear a uniform as if you don’t do the job you should not wear the colors. unless he has been a firefighter he should be in a suit only. that uniform is reserved for the men and women who work for it and wear it with pride. I’m sure this clown will disappear as his lies start to unravel. hope he takes the asinine councillors that brought him here with him when he leaves.

  12. Great work, Christopher.
    I have suspected all along the the Chief’s numbers were bogus. Fortunately, our #SaultFirefighters are dedicated professionals who continue to serve their community to the best of their abilities, despite the lack of support from Council and this Chief.
    The real question, for me, I’d why Council hired from outside, instead of promoting from within the ranks.
    It would seem Council wanted a hatchet man to slash costs.
    Hopefully this doesn’t backfire on them. Our safety should have greater priority than the budget.

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