Fire Chief provides update on Fire Services Master Plan progress

 by Colin Smith

The Morinville Fire Department has completed 16 of 35 recommendations put forward in two studies done to provide direction for future planning for the department.

An annual update on the status of the list of recommendations, incorporated into the Fire Services Master Plan, was presented to Town Council at its Tuesday Committee of the Whole meeting by Fire Chief Brad Boddez.

The Fire Services Study was done in 2013 by Morrison Herschfeld. It was followed in 2019 by the Fire Services Master Plan produced by Behr Integrated Solutions.

Nine of the recommended services and activities were accomplished in 2021, while seven had been completed the previous year.

The number one recommendation completed this year was the establishment of a cyclical fire inspection program for higher-risk fire and life safety occupancies.

“In December of 2020 we hired a full-time fire prevention officer to help provide the necessary steps to accomplish this very important complement of the fire service,” said Boddez.

“Lieutenant Fred Nash has been an incredible asset to our organization in the short time he has been with us. He is working closely with Planning and Development, and the businesses, to help establish an inspection program that is both current and beneficial to not only the business community but to the Town Morinville and its residents as well.”

The second completed recommendation was a review of the Fire Services Agreement with Sturgeon County.

“As you are aware, our current Fire Services Agreement is set to expire at the end of June and we have been working on our own agreement for the past 11 months,” Boddez said. “Administration is looking at delivery of the finalized document in the next two weeks.”

The Fire Chief indicated that the COVID emergency has led to progress on the recommendation to work closely with Alberta Health Services in the delivery of the Medical Fire Responder Program.

“During the difficult times of the pandemic our relation with AHS has grown stronger,” he said. “We have equipped our members with the best possible protection we can provide in order to protect our patients and our firefighters’ health when reacting to these types of emergencies.

“AHS has taken a great lead in these types of calls and by being part of the Medical Fire First Responder Program we are always there to support them when needed.”

Boddez said a contract has recently signed with Wisconsin-based Pierce Manufacturing for a new fire engine to replace fire apparatus Pump 3, with delivery to take place in the early summer of 2022.

“This piece of apparatus will provide the necessary safety and protection for our community.”

A high-priority item on which work is in progress is developing a Standards of Cover policy defining service level protocols for Morinville. Among other in-progress recommendations are reducing alarms ringing responses, continuing with Firehall upgrades and researching retention opportunities for senior members.

Recommendations identified as ongoing or to be scheduled include researching the weekday staffing challenges, researching the building of a live-fire training facility, implementing an asset management program and other staffing measures.

In response to a question from Councillor Sarah Hall, Boddez stated that the Morinville Fire Department has an ongoing relationship with Alexander First Nation and its chief George Arcand and hopes to further develop it in terms of mutual assistance.

The Morinville Fire Department will update Council on an annual basis until all recommended actions have been completed.

The report was received by Council as information.

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