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Canmore fire department cuts unsafe, union says

Canmore's mayor is playing down union concerns about cuts to the town's fire department.

Canmore's mayor is playing down union concerns about cuts to the town's fire department.  

There are 13 full-time emergency responders for both fire and emergency calls. But the number of firefighters will be trimmed to eight in April, when Alberta Health Services takes over ambulance services.

The head of the Canmore firefighters union is worried about the possible effect of cuts to the department. (CBC)

First responders in Canmore are currently trained as both paramedics and firefighters.

Canmore Mayor Ron Casey said the new arrangement will simply be a different way of providing service.

"The truth is we have more people dedicated in the hall dedicated exclusively to fire than what we’ve ever had before," he said.  

But the local union leader said the cuts will put people's safety at risk.

"The significance of that is that, with a working fire, we’re always battling time," said Dan Irvine, president of the Canmore Fire Fighters Association.

Cutting the size of the fire department could result in slower response times, he said. 

In the next few weeks Canmore residents will be asked what they think of the changes.

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