City council spent most of tonight talking about the fire comprehensive risk assessment and the fire master plan.
It’s a comprehensive evaluation of a fire department’s current operations, staffing and service delivery, an assessment of current services in relation to legislated standards and municipal best practices and the creation of a strategic, multi-year plan to deliver services based on the ‘needs and circumstances’ of the community.
The risks that were found:
- 57.4 per cent of homes were built prior to 1975 (pre-current building and fire codes)
- 25 buildings were registered as vulnerable occupancies within the city
- almost half the fires in the last few years did not have a smoke alarm
- seniors, those 65+ represent one of the highest fire risk groups (22 per cent compared to 17 per cent in the province)
- 30 per cent of current population is between 45 and 64 aging towards the seniors demographic
- 24 current buildings registered as vulnerable within the city would be deemed as high-rise in excess of 18 metres, most located within the downtown core area, several identified as residential occupancies
Through the questions from city councilors a few points that were notable were:
- the water based fire rescue vehicle will not be reinstated
- residential multiple false alarms will result in a charge
- the deployment of firefighters on a scene are minimum of 4
- to provide a full scale search and rescue residentially requires 14 firefighters, 15 if an aerial is needed
These studies were done by an independent third party and accounted to several hundred pages of the city council agenda.
- The Fire Master Plan be approved as the strategic framework for the delivery of fire protection services within the City of Sault Ste. Marie for the next 10-year planning horizon; and
- Council direct the Fire Chief to implement a minimum on duty staffing of fifteen (15) firefighters at all times as the interim Fire Station and firefighter deployment model; and
- Council approve Option 3 contained within the Fire Master Plan as the preferred Fire Station location and firefighter deployment model and direct the Fire Chief to develop an implementation plan for Option 3 for Council’s consideration and approval; and
- Council direct the Fire Chief to report further on the implementation of recommendations presented in the Fire Master Plan in accordance with the financial resources available through the annual budget process of the City of Sault Ste. Marie.
All recommendations were passed unanimously.