PRINCE ALBERT — A report from Fire Chief Kris Olsen states that Prince Albert’s existing fire station was built in 1975 in a location that was considered suitable for its time. Since then, the city has expanded, and the current station is not providing adequate response coverage according to industry best practices.
Distance between stations, travel time and identified future growth of the city will influence the decision-making process when choosing a location for future fire stations, says Olsen’s report.
“This is critical as future fire station locations must be situated to achieve the most effective and safe emergency responses in the community,” said Olsen.
Over the past 37 years, several reports have been prepared, detailing the need for more fire stations, as well as recommending potential locations for future sites. Four separate reports done in 1985, 1989, 2007 and 2008 all came to the same conclusion — Prince Albert needs three fire stations.
Today, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1710 is used to determine safe staffing levels and fire station locations so a fire crew can arrive at an emergency scene in a specified time to provide a timely and effective response. The standard requires that 90 per cent of the time, firefighters must arrive at the emergency scene within six minutes and twenty seconds of a call being made.
The NFPA 1710 recognizes a 4-minute travel time for fire departments, not including a one-minute call processing time and one minute and 20-second turn-out time.
According to Olsen’s report, it was identified in 2009 that the Prince Albert Fire Department only meets this standard 43 per cent of the time.
Two locations are being recommended to Council that Administration believes to be suitable sites for future fire stations – Across from Messiah Lutheran Church on 1700 Block of 15th Avenue East and the 1000 Block of 28th Street West. Both locations are City owned.
To provide an accurate response map, a Geographic Information System (G.I.S.) Analysis was completed by the city that compared travel times from both current and proposed station locations via various roadways and directions. The data was collected throughout the week and at different times of day to account for potential fluctuations in traffic flow.
Utilizing the collected data, Administration found that the current and proposed West and East Fire Stations meet the NFPA 1710 standard 95.5 per cent of the time.
The 2008 Fire Department Master Plan identifies the need for the construction of one additional fire station within five years, with a third station to be developed within 10 years. Consideration may also be given to creating a multi-service facility to increase emergency response.
City Council will review administration’s recommendations for the proposed future fire station sites following a presentation by Olsen at Monday’s meeting.