News Release – Changes to the Moose Jaw Fire Department
CHANGES TO MOOSE JAW FIRE DEPARTMENT
MOOSE JAW – The Personnel Committee of Moose Jaw City Council passed a number of motions at a meeting that occurred following the regular meeting of City Council on Monday, July 27, 2015.
Provincial Emergency Communications Centre
The first motion was related to the decision to utilize the Provincial Emergency Communications Centre for the Fire Department’s Dispatch Services. “This is a change that brings our Dispatch Service to a level that matches fire services across the province,” said Deputy Fire Chief Brian Wilson. “The technological enhancements and ability to respond more quickly will improve safety to the residents of Moose Jaw,” he added. This change will enhance safety by reducing the amount of time required to dispatch firefighters. Before this change, all 911 calls originating in Moose Jaw were being answered by the Provincial Call Centre and were then being transferred to Moose Jaw`s local centre where the caller would have to repeat the information initially given. By eliminating that step in the process and utilizing the technological improvements offered by the Provincial Call Centre, service to the public and fire safety will be vastly improved. The Provincial Call Centre has a minimum of seven dispatchers available at all times. The local call centre only ever had one staff member at a time.
Office Manager Position
The second motion was related to the filling of an Office Manager position for the Fire Department. The person in that role will lead the Fire Department in administrative tasks such as handling confidential personnel files, assisting with the budgeting process, and answering inquiries from the public.
Fire Department Mechanic
The third motion directed Administration to leave the Fire Department`s Mechanic position vacant. The City’s existing Fleet Services has been performing these duties on a full-time basis since the position became vacant in April and had been assisting and filling in with these tasks prior to the position being vacant on a permanent basis. The City’s Fleet Services will maintain a routine maintenance schedule, and any specialized work required of the Fire Department’s fleet will be outsourced to shops with specialized equipment, which is the same process that existed when there was an in-house mechanic.
Responsibility for Staffing
The fourth motion transferred the responsibility for setting manning levels from City Council to the Fire Department. The change will give the Fire Department greater flexibility to appropriately staff the Department in the manner they determine to best fit the public’s requirements. “It’s highly unusual for Council to dictate specific manning levels for a City department, as was the case here in Moose Jaw with the Fire Department for many years,” said Mayor Deb Higgins. “Council sets budgets and expectations of levels of service. Ultimately, it’s up to the experts in that department to determine how to best meet those service levels,” she added.
Funding for These Changes
The fifth and final motion directed Administration to reallocate funds within the Fire Department as necessary to put into place the changes from the first four motions.
A list of the technological, operational, and organizational improvements being implemented along with their associated costs is attached.
Brian Wilson, Deputy Fire Chief
City of Moose Jaw
PHONE # (306) 692 2792
The following is a list of technological, organizational, and operational improvements that the Moose Jaw Fire Department has started to implement. These improvements will update the City’s Fire Department to match the current standard across the industry.
These are not annual costs. In the future, most of the anticipated $240,000 in annual savings will result in lower operational costs for the Fire Department while the enhancements will increase public safety and service to the public.
Computer-Aided Dispatch Licensing – $20,000
- The licensing for CAD software will equip the Moose Jaw Fire Department with the ability to receive information from a call immediately to the Fire Department’s vehicles. Information such as the call address, nature of the call, property information, information on vulnerable occupants, closest hydrants and routes to the call including updated road closures.
Computer and Docking Stations – $36,000
- The hardware will be installed in the Fire Department’s vehicles to be able to receive the information from the new Computer-Aided Dispatch system.
Tele-staff – $32,000
- With this new system, call-outs will be automated and allow the Fire Department to appropriately staff major events much faster. For example, a major fire that requires more firefighters will now be able to staff an additional truck for the fire much more quickly.
- Presently, during major events, call-outs to increase staffing levels occur manually. It involves going down a list of all the firefighters and calling each of them individually to attend the event.
Provincial Emergency Communications Centre contract costs for remainder of 2015 – $20,000
- Callers of 911 were already connected to the provincial call centre by default. By utilizing the provincial centre for Moose Jaw’s calls, the step of transferring emergency calls to a local call centre will remove a step in the process of responding to calls, allowing for a faster response time.
- With a minimum of seven dispatchers on staff at all points in time, there is greater redundancy for 911 calls in Moose Jaw. The Moose Jaw dispatch centre only had a minimum of one staff member available at a time.
- Every Fire Department in Saskatchewan except Regina and Saskatoon utilizes a centralized dispatch centre.
Update phone system – $10,000
- The new phone system will include the ability to handle non-emergent calls, including the ability to send text messages to out-of-office personnel.
- Presently, non-emergency phone messages are distributed manually by pen and paper, an unreliable system for the public looking to have their calls addressed and for personnel who are often out of the fire hall.
15 Wing Alarm System – $12,000
- The Fire Department’s responsibilities include monitoring the fire alarms for Canadian Forces Base 15-Wing. This cost is associated with properly equipping the Provincial Emergency Communications Centre with the hardware to continue to monitor those alarms.
Severance and the hiring of an Office Manager position – Dollar value is confidential
- Will work with the Moose Jaw Professional Firefighters Association Local 553 toward the hiring of an office manager position to lead administrative work of the Fire Department.
- Will work with the Firefighters’ Association and impacted employees with a view to a fair settlement based on past service.