City endorses Airdrie Fire Department's 10-year plan
Airdrie Fire Department (AFD) recommended the City build its next fire station in Williamstown or Reunion in its 10 Year Fire Master Plan, presented to council, March 4.
The $815,000 fire house, which is expected to be completed in 2014, will replace the Main Street location originally slated for the Gateway area in Airdrie’s northwest.
The move is being made due to possible congestion at the Gateway site, which is located directly across from the future Koinonia Christian school. Also, the roadway system in this location doesn’t provide direct access to major response routes, which will increase response times to both the northeast and northwest portions of the city, according to the long-term planning document. Airdrie will also need a fourth station in the northeast, likely targeted for industrial and commercial development, as the city grows.
Airdrie Fire Chief Kevin Weinberger said acquiring the land now is necessary to ensure the department can meet future demands for the service.
“The actual (timeline of) building of the fire station is unknown right now, but we want to make sure when development starts we have the land out there,” he said.
The 10 Year Fire Department Master Plan, which provides long-range direction for AFD, has been in the works for 18 months. It was completed by consulting firm, Behr Energy Ltd., in four phases, which included assessing response capabilities, current staff and deployment; conducting a Community Risk Assessment; developing a Fire Department Staffing and Deployment Model; and compiling the information to create the 10-year plan.
The document revealed that from 2005 to 2010, the majority of the calls received by the AFD included those involving emergency medical assistance, motor-vehicle incidents (about 33 per cent last year), fires and Hazmat (dangerous good including natural gas).
The emergency response statistics indicated a steady increase in the volume of calls, except for those dealing with emergency medical, which dropped from 40 per cent of the AFD’s total calls to 25 per cent after Alberta Health Services took over ambulance service in 2010. The report made several short-term recommendations, including hiring the equivalent of four full-time firefighters at a cost of $2.78 million as the city grows. It also recommended the City conduct a complete assessment of hazardous materials in Airdrie, further train fire investigators, review the false alarm bylaw to ensure cost recovery, and work with AFD administration to develop clear levels of service expectations.
Medium and long-term goals include conducting fire pre-planning on all assembly occupancies and high-hazard buildings and legislating residential fire sprinklers in all new construction, something currently not allowed under the Municipal Government Act.
Staff will now complete a document that will outline how AFD will move forward in the future. It is expected to be completed in by the end of 2013.