Local fire department adopts new operational policies

·2 min read

The Strathmore Fire Department presented to Town Council during the May 18 regular meeting to discuss proposed policy changes for the detachment.

Fire Chief David Sturgeon spoke to council suggesting that after review, some aspects of the detachment’s policies were outdated and would benefit from adjustment.

“In Q1 of 2022, the fire department underwent an internal review with help from a consultant to deep-dive into five areas — administration, operations, health and safety, training and infrastructure,” said Sturgeon. “Through this process, it was identified that the Town’s policy (for) level of service should be refined to ensure the fire department’s operations and training are focussed and aligned with council’s expectations and that the public understands what the fire department’s capabilities are.”

Sturgeon added there are misnomers in the public as to what the fire department does, what they respond to and how their procedures are operated.

“This policy … reflects a realistic benchmark for the fire department to meet, while striving to reduce the unnecessary burden on ratepayers and ensure the delivery of high-quality response for all hazards within the Town of Strathmore,” said Sturgeon. “It is to be noted that in the past, I think the fire department has been trying to do too much with too little. They have been trying to do everything they can without all the proper resources.”

Sturgeon stressed that an emphasis needs to be put on training and allocation of assets to protect town property in the interests of the Town.

Councillor Denise Peterson inquired whether there were allowances for the department to engage in a wide variety of professional development opportunities and innovations.

“One of the things I looked at … was the opportunity for our firefighters to engage in professional development in terms of new strategic initiatives,” said Peterson who also regarded an apparent increase in fires within the local area, along with the increase in fatalities in urban areas, inquiring about how to help prevent such losses.

Sturgeon explained the topic is something that is considered on a regular basis, particularly as fire services progress in technology and standard operations.

“We really put the emphasis on protecting the first responders, their health and safety, their mental stability, their mental safety, their mental health, their families – that’s all part of everything we do, every single day,” said Sturgeon.

One section of the new policy proposal, explained Sturgeon, talks about first responder life safety, including both mental and physical health.

Sturgeon also wants to prioritise networking, accreditation and training to improve the department’s best practices

Council approved a motion to adopt the amended policy as presented, which was carried without opposition. More information about the new policy is available to the public via the May 18 Town Council agenda.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times

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