Sturgeon County has active year for Protective and Emergency Services

By MorinvilleNews.com Staff

Sturgeon County – Fire Chief Pat Mahoney, in his capacity as Manager of Protective Services, provided County Council with an update of the year to date Tuesday.

With respect to enforcement services, Mahoney said the County currently has five peace officers and one animal control officer. Those officers have responded to 329 requests for service this year as well as 141 animal control calls.
Additionally, the Towns of Bon Accord, Gibbons and Legal, who contract County peace officers, have put in 245 requests for service and another 128 animal control calls.

County peace officers issues 574 traffic violation tickets for a total of $74,980 in fines thus far in 2011. An additional 16 mandatory court appearances are still to come. A total of 87 traffic warnings have been issued to date.

In addition to responding to calls, Mahoney told council Sturgeon County’s peace officers made 855 proactive patrols and 477 animal control patrols.

Next year could see the vehicles those patrols are done in changing. Mahoney said Protective Services will be looking to shift away from the Ford Interceptors and Crown Victoria in 2012 to Ford 150 pickups as a gas saving method and because the current vehicles will no longer be available for the fleet.

On the Emergency Services side, Mahoney told Council the County’s Municipal Emergency Plan update was completed and that staff had taken several courses to upgrade their skills in new equipment and procedures.

The fire chief said demands on volunteers had led to a decrease in volunteers throughout the County, but the County was maintaining approximately 150 volunteer firefighters between the seven departments. Training for those volunteers has been vigorous over the past year and the in house training – began in 2010 – continues to be successful. Mahoney said 18 volunteers have achieved National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Level 1 qualifications and a number are going on to achieve Level 2, expected to be completed by the summer of 2012. Mahoney said another group of 15 are expected to achieve Level 1 in 2012.

The county’s three wild fires in the spring of 2011 cost $187,000 to fight. County firefighters responded to 78 calls

during the spring fire season (April and May). Fifty-one of those calls were related to wild land or grass fires. To date, County firefighters have responded to 606 calls to date county wide, a number that is 70 calls ahead of where they were this time last year.

In addition to fighting fires, County firefighters responded to a number of collisions within Sturgeon County, several of which involved fatalities.

Mahoney said he is hoping to have a mobile command support unit to be used in emergency and disaster situations in place in the future. Additionally, 2012 could see updates to the County’s aging radio system. Next year will also see discussions under way to replace Namao’s aging fire hall.

Mahoney also would like to see a Fire Smart and fire prevention education program in place, something that could lead to the addition of a fire prevention officer to County staff.

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