M.D. of Smoky River Regional fire chief Marcel Maure gave his 2022 annual emergency response total breakdown to council on Jan. 11.
Fire services in the Smoky River Region are split between the five municipalities in the area: Falher, Donnelly, Girouxville, McLennan and the M.D. of Smoky River. Last year the five municipalities had a total of 187 calls between them and provincial callouts.
“They have increased since 2021 where we had 162,” says Maure.
“We have had higher numbers, the 187 calls for service is about average.”
Maure says the calls were for 83 medical calls, 46 false alarm calls, 15 fire with no loss, 14 motor vehicle collisions on provincial highways, nine call investigation/public hazard, fire calls, seven motor vehicle collisions, three STARS calls, and two all-terrain vehicle rescues.
The split of calls between municipalities saw McLennan residents use the service 41 times, 18 Donnelly calls, 44 calls to Falher, 13 Girouxville calls, 54 M.D. callouts and 17 provincial calls. The towns and villages accounted for 116 (or 62 per cent) of the 187 calls.
The agreement set between the municipalities sees the M.D. pay roughly 70 per cent of the total emergency services cost, with their budgeted contribution set at $355,644.80. The number could be higher should regional annual emergency service expenses be higher or anticipated revenue be lower than the regionally budgeted $508,064.
Falher pays 14.19 per cent, McLennan 8.6 per cent, Donnelly 4.07 per cent and Girouxville 3.14 per cent.
“Calls on provincial highways could be fire, but they’re mostly motor vehicle collisions,” explains Maure.
“Any loss to one home or belongings is never minor, extinguishing fire is all dependant on when we get the call and what the fire conditions are.”
Maure says that the municipal fire department is well staffed with 28 volunteer firefighters, but they are always happy to have more people join their team.
He says they would like to see the callout numbers go down, and he gives some friendly, quick advice to reduce fire risk.
“Ensure you are being fire smart,” he says.
“Unplugging things that do not require being plugged in, check and maintain your equipment. Keep flammable items away from large heat sources. Just basic everyday fire safe things to do.”