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Fire department in La Ronge, Sask., reports more needle pick ups, cooking fires in 2023

The La Ronge Fire Department announced on Friday that 2023 was its busiest year to date, despite seeing a decrease in calls for bush fires.

A Facebook post from the La Ronge Regional Fire Department showed fire crews responded to 268 calls for service in 2023.

Deputy fire chief Jay Wood said multi-year tree thinning projects and disaster mitigation funds kept wildfires more manageable in 2023 but noted firefighters saw an increase in calls for cooking incidents gone wrong and sharp object pick-ups in the community.

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“It’s a concern, especially to the safety of the firefighters, picking up needles and stuff like that. But it is what is it, we are here to serve the community in whatever form that looks like.”

Fire crews disposed of 534 sharp objects on service calls in 2023, a 73 per cent increase from the year before.

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The department also completed 1,900 hours of training, increasing training by 26 per cent.

Wood said the department is working to exceed minimum training requirements set out by the province and have each firefighter be fully certified.

In 2024, La Ronge firefighters will continue to visit local schools to teach programs on safe cooking in an attempt to mitigate kitchen disasters that result in fire.

“We want to teach kids about fire alarms and how to escape your house and making escape plans,” Wood said. “Education is the big thing that will help prevent those.”

Last year, the department hired 13 firefighters, bringing the crew to a total of 30 firefighters.

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