Canada Calgary's fire chief warns future cuts will impact response times

19:23  11 december  2017
19:23  11 december  2017 Source:   metronews.ca

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UK government cuts to fire services across the country have hampered their response to Storm Desmond and further spending reductions could "undermine" how the services react to future emergencies, the FBU has warned .

Chief Steve Dongworth of the Calgary Fire Department says his crews will stomach its most recent budget cut, but more cuts next year will mean service reductions and longer response times.: Calgary's fire chief warns future cuts will impact response times© Helen Pike / Metro Calgary's fire chief warns future cuts will impact response times

Calgary's fire chief is sending out a warning about cuts to the department's budget, and what it could mean for response times in the city.

Chief Steve Dongworth said the cuts to the Calgary Fire Department (CFD), which ended up totaling about $4.5 million from the force's $236 million budget, will not impact front line services this year, but he added that the cuts can't continue.

"This is the third or fourth round of reductions we've seen in this (4-year budget) cycle," said Dongworth. "I don't believe we can reduce our budget any more without serious impacts to our frontline services and impacts to our public safety."

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Fire Chief Bruce Burrell is warning that cuts to his department would affect response times . ((CBC)). Cutting .1 million from the Calgary Fire Department' s budget would slow response times , Chief Bruce Burrell warned Wednesday.

Calgary ' s fire chief doesn't agree with a move to lower the target for responding to fire calls on the outskirts of the city. City council's planning and urban development committee voted Monday to recommend a 10-minute response time for future communities on the city's edges.

The cuts came in the same budget where the Calgary Police Service received at $14.3 million boost to hire new staff and purchase body-worn cameras.

Dongworth said the force is going about the cuts this year in such a way that they don't impact response time or front line services, and with "minimal" impact to staff.

The chief noted that CFD has seen its calls for service spike 12.5 per cent this year. He attributes that primarily to the increase in opioid-related calls members have had to respond to in the wake of the fentanyl crisis.

Coun. Shane Keating said a review of fire response times is coming up at council. He noted that the province's ambulance service has much higher target response times of about 12 minutes.

He said council needs to look seriously at whether fire should be responding to medical calls.

"Are we actually funding – at great operational expense – something where the province has a 12 minute response time, and are we artificially increasing the province's response time?"

Former B.C. fire chief found not guilty of sex assault .
A former Fort St. James fire chief has been found not guilty of sexual assault involving volunteers. Robert Harold Bennett was initially convicted in 2015 of sexual assault after three women who volunteered at his fire hall — Kirsten Rudolph, Lisa Button and Joy Reierson — went to RCMP with allegations about years of abuse. […]Robert Harold Bennett was initially convicted in 2015 of sexual assault after three women who volunteered at his fire hall — Kirsten Rudolph, Lisa Button and Joy Reierson — went to RCMP with allegations about years of abuse.

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