Firefighters Urge City Council – No Cuts

Thunder Bay Fire Rescue Aerial Ladder Unit
Thunder Bay Fire Rescue Aerial Ladder Unit - Photo by James Murray ©2019

THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay Professional Fire Fighter’s Association (TBPFFA) is urging Thunder Bay City Council to reject recommendations to cut essential Fire Rescue services across the Municipality. A draft of the new Thunder Bay Fire Strategic Master Fire Plan that will be presented at Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, proposes several budget decreases that will negatively impact Fire Rescue response times as well as the general safety of on-duty firefighters.

If the recommendations included in the plan developed by Emergency Management & Training Inc. are approved and implemented, the proposed budget cuts will result in:

Service cuts in Northwood, Westfort and McKellar

Closure of 2 or more Fire Stations

Loss of 4-minute response times

Elimination of access to a Fire Pumper

Elimination of 2 Entry Control and Accountability Officer positions

· Cutbacks to core central supports and safety standards for all on-duty Firefighters through the loss of Entry Control and Accountability Officers who are responsible for monitoring the safety and well-being of Firefighters during all rescues.

Since the plan regarding Thunder Bay Fire Rescue was announced, Thunder Bay Professional Fire Fighter’s Association and its members have become deeply concerned about the potential effects to community services and safety.

Says Thunder Bay Professional Fire Fighter’s Association President, Dennis Brescacin, “We understand that City Council is facing budget pressures and looking for new ways to reduce municipal spending. What we can’t understand however is any proposal that recommends minimal cost savings that forfeit public safety and the lives of on-duty firefighters. Research tells us that Thunder Bay residents value their local Fire Rescue services. There has to be alternative ways to find budget efficiencies without putting people’s lives at risk or jeopardizing the on-the-job safety of our 205 members.”

The duties of Thunder Bay Professional Fire Fighters have increased considerably in scope over the years. In addition to fire response and rescue services throughout the City of Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay Fire Rescue is also responsible for the delivery of fire prevention, community safety and education, auto extrication, hazardous material spills, industrial accidents, tiered medical response, high/low angle rescue, ice and water rescue, confined space rescue, structural collapse, urban search and rescue, fire and safety inspections and public service calls.

Thunder Bay Fire Rescue responds to approximately 15,000 calls for service per year from eight Fire Stations. Each Fire Station is strategically located to ensure all areas of the city can be provided with emergency fire service within a four-minute response time.

SOURCECommunity Submission
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