The next time there’s a fire or other emergency in Calmar region of Leduc County, taxpayers can rely on the brave and professional firefighters of the Calmar Fire District. What taxpayers won’t see, though, is that the district is under new management.
On January 1 Leduc County took over management of the Calmar Fire District.
“The borderless fire service, which is managed and operated by Leduc County, became effective Jan. 1, 2017; fire service in the district was previously provided by the Town of Calmar,” stated a Jan. 3 press release from Leduc County.
Leduc County Mayor John Whaley said residents won’t see any effect on fire service. “The service level is going to be the same,” said Whaley by phone Jan. 4.
The mayor said that regionalization, or borderless fire service, seems to be the way to go for emergency services. “There is a lot of this across Alberta,” he said.
Whaley said fire departments seem to be having more and more trouble keeping part-time firefighters, as work and other commitments keep moving people around. As smaller centers cannot afford full-time firefighters, borderless agreements ensure consistent fire protection.
Darrell Fleming, Leduc County Fire Services fire chief, said Calmar was already part of the family. “Our relationship has been very good over the years,” said Flemming by phone Jan. 4. “It was received very well by the firefighters.”
He noted Leduc County and Calmar districts already trained together in the past and have a very similar culture. Fleming stated Calmar area residents should expect the same firefighters and trucks to be showing up at emergencies, just with a different manager behind the scenes.
Fleming said Calmar has already had two call-outs since Jan. 1 and things have gone smoothly. “It’s not surprising me,” said the chief. “They’re a good bunch there.”
Whaley noted Leduc County will start building a new fire hall in Calmar this year valued at over $3 million, and the parcel of land has already been acquired. It’s located south on Sec. Hwy #795, just before the railway tracks. Whaley said the parcel has quick, straight access to the highway, something the firefighters will appreciate.
Mayor Whaley also stated in the press release, “Leduc County will build off the great work by the Town of Calmar and is committed to maintaining the service levels received by both urban and rural ratepayers in the Calmar Fire District.”
The press release stated borderless fire service enables Leduc County to respond to emergencies seamlessly, regardless of where an emergency occurs in Leduc County fire districts. Leduc County will deliver all fire and disaster services in the Calmar Fire District with the Town of Calmar paying Leduc County a fixed fee for service.
“We welcome all firefighters from the Calmar Fire District to the Leduc County Fire Services family and are proud to have such a skilled crew providing a vital service to our residents,” added Fleming.