Saskatoon fire department sees record number of calls

Last year, the Saskatoon Fire Department (S.F.D.) was busy, seeing a record-setting 20,000 calls for service, which is an 11-per cent increase since 2021.

“Since 2017 we have been looking at the data and it’s been continually rising with significant increase in call volume over the last several years,” said Mike Ralston, Saskatoon fire department deputy chief.

The same increase is being felt in Regina. “We’ve seen steady increases for the past five years,” said Regina Fire Chief Layne Jackson.

“From 2021-2022 we’ve seen an increase of about 11 per cent in our emergency calls and our total service calls we’ve just over 15-per cent increase.”

Read more: Saskatoon Fire responds to multiple fires in matter of hours Saturday

Both stations classify as all-hazard response agencies. Fires are the core business, but they also respond to overdoses, vehicle crashes and general medical calls.

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“Heart attacks, choking, those types of things; people in distress, all those calls have increased,” says Chief Jackson.

In S.F.D’S 2022 year in review report, it noted that over 9,000 calls they received were emergency medical.  Along with vigorous firefighter training, new recruits are also expected to be able to provide medical assistance when they arrive on scene.

“All of our employees are hired with their primary care paramedic. That is a significant undertaking, and knowledge and skills. It requires constant maintenance to keep up with that important skill,” said deputy chief Ralston.

“We’re looking at ways to train multiple skillsets at the same time so that we maximize that time for training so that we are better in the community when we are asked to respond.”

Both fire departments attribute some of the increase in calls to growing communities and growing community demands for the service.

“We’ve always had a role, because we respond to emergencies and emergency medical calls and they will typically have a medical issue to it,” said Chief Jackson.

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