Fire chief says more budget cuts would force layoffs
Department would have to let firefighters go if city cuts continue, Bruce Burrell says
The chief of the Calgary Fire Department says any more budget cuts will force layoffs of front-line firefighters.
Like every city department, except police, Bruce Burrell had to trim this year's budget.
“The last cut was pretty hard on the fire department. We could not accomplish it without cutting out four positions that were funded for this year and that the next cut will likely be front-line positions. We just don't have anywhere else to save money,” he said.
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Instead of hiring 36 new firefighters for a recently opened station, the department was only able to hire 32.
The department's dive team is also not operating between October and April, Burrell said.
“There are a number of cuts that we had to take in order to meet the budget numbers and that was one of them. We looked at the risk in doing that. The risk is pretty small,” he said.
“Doesn't mean that it can't happen but the risk is actually, if you look at our call history, pretty small that we would have an event require that would require that team when it wasn't staffed properly.”
Burrell said some training is also being cut this year because there aren't enough firefighters to replace those who would be off regular duties for the learning sessions.