The Weyburn Fire Department has been very busy during 2010, according to Fire Chief Steve Debienne, due to an increase of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) incidents and responding to other calls of service in Weyburn and the surrounding area.
In fact, when Debienne was explaining the call volume that the Fire Department handled during September, he noted that with 36 calls it was one of the most active Septembers for the Fire Department in their recorded history.
One key area that contributes to the high call volume is the new EMS services, which the Fire Department has started responding to since 2009. "We are responding to a lot of emergency medical calls from requests of the ambulance services," explained Debienne.
Out of the 188 calls that the Fire Department have handled year-to-date, there were 83 EMS-related calls of service. "It's a big addition to service that has impacted numerous lives in the Weyburn area," said Debienne. "It has contributed to a greater number of services that are responded to by our career staff."
Other calls in the last year have included 32 fire-related, 21 motor-vehicle collisions, 12 hazardous materials (HazMat), one service, four "Good Samaritan" calls, 24 false alarms, four carbon monoxide and seven that were put into an other category.
From the 32 fire-related calls, the Fire Department have been to seven structures, five grass, 16 vehicle and 13 other.
The majority of these calls, 160, were handled in Weyburn, and the others were handed in the various RMs in the Fire Department's area of service. They handle an area from Francis to Halbrite, south to the border, and all the way to Lang.
Big turning points for the Fire Department in the last year have been the hiring of Evan Littlejohn as the deputy Fire Chief, and the city council's approval of purchasing two new pieces of equipment.
In regards to their staffing, Debienne said, "I like to say that we are too big to be small, but too small to be big. We have enough efficient career staff who are able to multi-task and maintain their duties; and in addition to that we have a phenomenal volunteer firefighter crew."
In regards to the fire department activity, Debienne would like to encourage residents to do what they can to be proactive. "A very common call is from fires in the kitchen, so keep care and be cautious. We are geared to customer service, and if anyone ever has a question or concern they are welcome to let us know. We will do fire safety checks free of charge."