Today is International Firefighters Day and with that in mind, we decided to answer the question has there been an increase in the number of fires locally, we also want to provide a few other stats about firefighting.
Looking back at annual reports for Sault Fire Services, from 2015-2019 the actual amount of fires averaged 141 per year.
So far this year, SaultOnline has reported on, to our count 24 fires, most of which have caused some sort of damage, all of which require firefighters to attend, and we know we have missed a few.
With that said, we know we don’t report on everything the fire department may mark down as a fire response for statistical purposes.
At this rate, with a third of the year past, there will be 75 stories of this type. Every time a fire breaks out in Sault Ste. Marie, a shift of 16 firefighters, a number down dramatically over the years due to cuts, most recently 20 positions in 2015, put their personal safety on the line. They run into a situation most run away from.
Although not as dangerous as it used to be, The National Fire Protection agency in the United States reports an average of 75 line-of-duty deaths for firefighters between 2009 and 2019.
According to an article written by Canadian Firefighters Magazine, cancer is still the top killer of firefighters in Canada while mental health is an increasing concern, according to nationwide insurance claims data.
Locally, although there have been no deaths while fighting fires in Sault Ste. Marie, every firefighter we spoke with locally and across the province knows a comrade who has fought and beat/lost a battle with cancer. Firefighters are frequently screened for colon cancer as it is known to be statically higher in their profession.
So next time you see a firefighter, stop and say thank-you, we here at SaultOnline do as often as possible.