Thunder Bay

New master plan for Thunder Bay, Ont., fire department could consolidate stations, reduce medical calls

A new master plan for the Thunder Bay fire department will be presented to city council on Monday, which, if eventually approved by councillors, could result in some major changes for the fire service.

36 per cent of all calls to the Thunder Bay fire department in 2018 were medical

A new master plan for Thunder Bay Fire Rescue, and the possible reduction of the number of city councillors, are on the agenda for Monday's meeting of Thunder Bay City Council. (Matt Prokopchuk/CBC)

A new master plan for the Thunder Bay fire department will be presented to city council on Monday, which, if eventually approved by councillors, could result in some major changes for the fire service.

The final Strategic Master Fire Plan includes recommendations around staffing, vehicles and equipment, training, and even the "realignment" of the city's fire stations.

The plan will be presented to council on Monday, but councillors won't vote on actually implementing any of its recommendations; rather, city administration will report back to council "with respect to its implementation."

The recommendations are broken up by the time it would take to implement them.

Among the short-term recommendations are:

  • Reviewing and, if necessary, updating the of the service agreement between Thunder Bay Fire Rescue and Fort William First Nation
  • Ensuring all firefighters engaged in "primary fire prevention activities" are qualified fire inspectors and fire and life safety educators
  • The creation of a public education campaign about preventing false alarms
  • Working with Superior North EMS to reduce the number of medical calls firefighters are dispatched to
  • Designating the fifth person on pumper trucks as floaters, which the plan states will "help offset overtime costs"

Longer-term, the plan recommends the realignment of fire stations, either by consolidating two stations into a new facility, or assigning firefighters at one station to medical responses.

According to the master plan, 36 per cent of all calls to the Thunder Bay fire department in 2018 were medical.

Fire alarms made up 28 per cent, while rescues were eight per cent of calls.

Also Monday, Coun. Kristen Oliver will ask administration for a report on reducing the number of councillors from 13 to nine. If council approves the request, the report would be due back by Oct. 26.

As well, council is scheduled to ratify its Aug. 10 vote to put a proposed, $33-million indoor turf sports facility out for tender.

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