Regina Fire Master Plan to improve service diversity, technology

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Over the next five years, the City plans to build a new fire hall at a capital cost of approximately $ 10.5 million.

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The roadmap for the future of Regina’s fire and protection services includes, among other things, maps.

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Technological innovation is just one aspect of the newly approved fire master plan, which is sprawling just like the city it intends to cover for the next 25 years.

However, electronic mapping is a tool that firefighters see as a way to manage response times, which have started to lengthen on some calls as the city expands to the outskirts.

“The faster we can get out of the station, the faster we can cross the streets, the more we can get out,” Fire Chief Layne Jackson said during a technical briefing on the master plan, held at city ​​hall on Thursday. .

Each station in the city is now equipped with an electronic mapping system. Data on road closures, whether from an emergency, a construction crew, or work done by Crown utility providers, is transmitted to the City of Regina who develops a traffic adaptation plan. Once this plan is approved, it is downloaded and becomes available to fire stations.

“So when the call arrives at the station, the station will answer. The driver goes to the map. He has up-to-date information, ”said Kim Onrait, executive director of citizen services for the city.

Kim Onrait, Executive Director of Citizen Services for the City of Regina, speaks Thursday at a technical briefing on the recently approved fire master plan.
Kim Onrait, Executive Director of Citizen Services for the City of Regina, speaks Thursday at a technical briefing on the recently approved fire master plan. Photo by TROY FLEECE /Regina Chief Position

The integration of technology into the workflow of service firefighters is an ongoing process.

“We are currently working on the actual routing, around the construction,” said Deputy Fire Chief Gord Hewitt.

Additionally, the ministry is considering the use of drones, which could provide a bird’s eye view of an emergency scene below.

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That said, mapping and drones will not be enough to bolster the department’s service over the next quarter century.

Over the next five years, the City will consider building a new fire hall, which Onrait says will cost around $ 10.5 million before the cost of trucks and personnel is factored in. Each truck would increase the cost by over $ 1 million.

Once the “dollars and cents are gathered,” Onrait added, spending approval would have to go through city council.

The plan identifies three areas of need for a station, the most immediate being in the southeast of the city.

Staffing requirements for the next new station will be determined by location and size. But if the fire department is successful in another part of its master plan, the staff may well be more diverse.

Diversity goals were briefly discussed after the plan was approved by city council on Wednesday. However, Hewitt on Thursday expanded on the department’s approach to achieving those goals, saying there was awareness regarding the costs and travel associated with the education elements of pre-employment requirements.

“We are working on potential partnerships with schools, but are also looking at our own internal recruitment process, to remove some of these external barriers that exist there,” said the deputy head.

In addition, the department has a Diversity and Inclusion Committee that focuses directly on ways to strengthen diversity and helps facilitate staff training that aims to build on a ‘culture of inclusion’. .

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And while the physical demands on firefighters remain, a University of Regina program is now available for potential firefighters. Students would receive “one-on-one coaching and counseling” on how to meet the fitness requirements for a job as a Regina firefighter.

Of course, Regina Fire and Protection Services do more than fight fires. Responding to emergency medical situations is part of the work of frontline service workers. As such, around 120 firefighters are employed by the department.

Motorists are familiar with the department’s trucks and flashing lights at the scene of vehicle collisions, but firefighters are also often called in to deal with overdoses in a city currently struggling with an opioid crisis, in the shade of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regina Fire and Protection Chief Layne Jackson speaks at a technical briefing on the recently approved fire master plan on Thursday.
Regina Fire and Protection Chief Layne Jackson speaks at a technical briefing on the recently approved fire master plan on Thursday. Photo by TROY FLEECE /Regina Chief Position

Jackson noted that the department has seen an “increase” in responses to medical emergencies.

“At the moment, we are well equipped to handle this situation,” said the chef. “We’ve been watching this all along. “

The ministry has what’s called a “mutual aid” agreement with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, which Hewitt says can be improved and updated.

Staff paramedics, he said, are essential not only to respond to medical emergencies faced by community members, but also to keep the firefighters themselves safe while on the scene.

The multifaceted plan, not all of which are discussed here, is “fluid” and will be reviewed annually by the service, which will then produce a progress report, as mandated by the municipal council.

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