• fireservice_compressed

    The Answer To Better Fire Services in the City of Thorold

    The City of Thorold conducted a fire services review with the first public meeting held in Dec/2012. Followed by 2 more public meetings during Nov/2013. And a report being released in late spring 2014.

    In fact, I was the only individual from the public to make a presentation at the Dec/2012 meeting. I then made another presentation at the first public meeting in Nov/2013.

    I wish to note: That at all 3 public meetings   the  I.A.F.F   (full time) did not make any attempts to make a presentation. Even though several members and the president were in attendance. They basically refused to voice any concerns or make suggestions on how we could better our Fire Services in the City of Thorold.  They did though make a presentation at Thorold city council. Where they stated they were in favour of the model that had Thorold full time amalgamate with St. Catherine’s. Eliminating  % 50 of our volunteers.

    Members of the public and some volunteer firefighters did make a presentation  at the 2nd and 3rd meetings and voiced their concerns. And I can honestly say, that a vast majority of the public that did voice their concerns. Their biggest issue was why is it we have so many full-time firefighters when other similar municipality have next to none.

    All the info I provide with-in, in regards to statistics of any kind. Has been obtained from area/Ontario municipalities, stats Canada and  the final report from the fire review.

    I will use Pelham, West Lincoln, Niagara on the Lake and Fort Erie as a comparable.  Since the report uses 2012 stats. All my info is from 2012 sources.

    Since our full-time firefighters are stationed at  Stn. 1. I will use the stats in regards to Stn.1 calls.

    It should also be noted that even though there is full-time staff in Pelham, N.O.T.L., West Lincoln and Fort Erie. None are front line firefighters, all are administrative positions. Thorold has 18 front line fire fighters.

    If we do as suggested in the review we can save the taxpayers substantial amounts of monies.

    I would like to make it clear to all. I’m in no way out to eliminate all full time fighters.  But utilize  them in a ways as stated in report.  More effective and at  less cost. 

    Page 109 of the review gives us the answers in regards to the savings opportunities. It states: The recent downturn in the economy and subsequent budget problems faced by local municipalities have forced communities to look at other staffing options for their fire departments, including staffing that is based on the demand for service as determined by how many calls for service are expected at different times of the day.

    The consultants then say. An opportunity for cost savings does exist in the area of staffing apparatus. During non-peak hours,   staffing levels could be reduced to still allow for the ability to respond to calls by volunteer firefighters. By placing the full-time fire fighter focus on peak periods reduces the impact on delayed and/or reduced volunteer response during those times.

         Also stated on page 109 and the start of 110 is this recommendation: The department should investigate the option of a demand- based staffing system that can be based on a combination of 10 or 12 hour day shifts (as required) with the utilization of volunteer fire fighters during the off ours.

         Released Aug/18/2014

          A follow up will appear with in the next few days. At this time I will present data and info in regards to costing.  Compare our costs with the municipalities mentioned.  And present different staffing options and the savings related to such.

        

     

    -As always please direct any feedback to my contact number or the message board below.     

2 Comments

  1. Rick Honsberger says: August 23, 2014 at 10:27 pmReply

    First of all, as usual you speak half truths. The Professional Fire Fighters through consultation with the he Chief thought it would best to not present at the public meetings. The employees both full time and volunteers met with the consultants. We all had our input prior to the public meetings. So it was not that we were not interested, IT WAS FOR THE PUBLIC. Secondly we did not support the reduction of any part time fire fighters, in fact all would have been hired by the City of St. Catharines. Thirdly full time fire fighters respond to all calls in the city not just district one. What you are doing is misleading the public, but I doubt you will post my comments for the public to read.

    • Jim Handley says: August 30, 2014 at 2:25 pmReply

      Rick I have no problem posting all your comments. Let me reply:
      1st You state through consultation with the chief “ best not to speak at public meetings”. But yet you made a presentation to council with-in a month of the last public meeting to voice your opinion. What is the difference?

      2nd Yes it was for the public and members of your union are members of the public and stakeholders in Thorold. Unlike yourself neither a resident or a taxpayer. I guess your members from Thorold are satisfied with the status quo that’s why they did not comment.

      3rd Your comment that all volunteers would be hired by the City of St. Catharines is a total lie. For St. Catharines eliminated all their volunteers years ago. And want nothing to do with volunteer fire fighters. You in fact support the integration with St. Catharines Fire and Emergency Services as on page 113 of the report. Which states.” There has been significant discussion at meetings with the city and fire department staff with regards to the potential of a partnership with St. Kitts as an option for cost savings/ cost avoidance.” With the recommendations on page 115 that you support. Which states:

      “If a merger of fire services with St. Catharines is successful then the city should consider the closing of 2 stations-station 1 and station 3. This would still leave stations 2 and 4 open, thus still ensuring coverage by having a station on each side of the canal.”

      The elimination of 50% of our volunteer fighters. Rick I ask you. On what page of the report and in what recommendation does it state the volunteers would be hired by St. Catharines? It doesn’t. No where to be found. At least I present the facts.

      Lastly on page 89 of the report it states. Thorold Fire Services operates from 4 stations, #2, #3 and #4 utilize volunteer firefighters EXCLUSIVELY for response and #1 is staffed 24/7 by full-time supplemented with volunteers.