THUNDER BAY – The Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association has reviewed the City of Thunder Bay’s proposal with respect to the development of a new “Strategic Plan” for TBFR. The proposal lays the groundwork for a very unorthodox and expedited strategic planning process. Despite highlighting increased calls for the fire service, one of its key objectives is to identify ways to avoid responding to emergency calls.
It is vital that strategic planning for the fire service give due consideration to emergency response standards, collaboration with the insurance industry, and the safety of the public. OPFFA District Vice President Eric Nordlund had this to say regarding the plan: “It is disappointing to see that, immediately after being elected, Thunder Bay City Council has given a mandate to its Executive Management Team to identify cuts to the fire service which will result in a reduction in emergency service response available to the taxpayers.”
Local firefighters and their families were blindsided by this information as city council was elected without campaigning on the issue of reducing emergency services. We hope the public shares our concern that council should take the appropriate time to ensure a process with objective deliverables, not simply plan to make cuts to emergency response without properly assessing TBFR’s ability to meet appropriate response standards and conducting a proper Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA).
In the past, the strategic planning process took the time to include open-minded collaborative efforts with members of city council, fire management, industry experts and the public. In contrast, this process is clearly designed to elicit a specific result: the only logical explanation for a proposal with this purposeful lack of objectivity is that city council intends to eliminate a fire station.