Within Leduc County, the Nisku Fire Department is seeing a decrease in calls this year over 2015.
“Our volumes are down. We’re about 30 per cent down from last year,” said Leduc County deputy fire chief Brad Gurmin.
The department has had approximately 168 calls this year and saw 325 last year. Around 30 to 40 per cent of the calls the department receives are motor vehicle collisions.
“Our actual fires in the Nisku Business Park are down,” said Gurmin. There were 25 last year and 11 so far this year.
Gurmin says most of the department’s calls are located within the Nisku Business Park; and with the economy in a recession there is less business and traffic volume in the park, leading to fewer calls.
Due to the recession, availability and call times within the department are also affected. Gurmin says many of the volunteer members worked in the business park and were close by when needed. Now that not all remain located in the park accessibility has changed. “It’s a catch-22 for us. It used to be everybody was busy at work when on call.”
Similar to other fire departments across the province, the Nisku Fire Department is faced with the ongoing challenge of recruitment and retention.
Another challenge the department faced earlier this spring was the possibility of a drought season. A fire ban in the county from April to June helped keep fires in check. “It definitely helped because we didn’t have the number of ground cover fires we usually have,” said Gurmin.
The Nisku department did not make any major purchases in 2016 but is looking to acquire a ladder truck within the next two to three years.
Fire Prevention Week is an important time for fire departments as they continue public education of fire safety and pressing issue affecting the world of firefighters.
Many departments visit schools and interact with residents their areas, the Nisku department adapted to a different strategy. “Because we’re mostly an industrial area … Most of our Fire Prevention stuff is done with the buildings in the Nisku Business Park,” said Gurmin.
Throughout the week the department holds fire drills and training with county staff.