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Langham fire chief tells town to end agreement with City of Saskatoon for emergency assistance

Saskatoon fire

Langham’s fire chief is advising his town council to sever ties with the City of Saskatoon when it comes to emergency services.

He said in a letter to Langham Council that the City of Saskatoon approached the town with an offer to work together and share an Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) coordinator.

“I voiced my opinion at the time, that it was not a good idea, it is still not a good idea,” Bill McCombs said in the letter.

“The claim was that they would help us should an incident occur, and this has not happened once,” he wrote. “We have never, ever had any assistance from the City of Saskatoon, even if requested.

“The City of Saskatoon will look after the City of Saskatoon first.”

A statement from Saskatoon’s deputy fire chief of operations, Rob Hogan, said there was no such agreement.

“The emergency response services that the Saskatoon Fire Department (SFD) provides to neighbouring municipalities are most often covered off through either a response agreement or a mutual aid agreement,” the statement said.

“The Town of Langham does not have a response agreement or a mutual aid agreement with the Saskatoon Fire Department.”

Hogan said that the partnership Saskatoon has with Langham and several other communities signed in 2020 was to build regional resiliency.

“The program provides for one regional resiliency specialist position to support all member municipalities. This position is funded through a cost-sharing arrangement between the SFD and all the member municipalities. In any emergency management program, no one person can be the only person available for response – the goal is to build resiliency and backup so that there are multiple people within a community who are able to respond and lead.”

McCombs said the deal was not beneficial for Langham.

“This has cost the Town of Langham a substantial amount of money with zero return,” he wrote.

He also wrote that they have had a better working relationship with the fire department in Dalmeny. They have their own EMO, something that McCombs advised for Langham.

Langham Mayor, Gary Epp, said he was not sure what direction council will take.

“They've never been involved in anything,” he said, referring to the EMO in Saskatoon.

He pointed to a recent emergency that happened in his town.

“Alerts on everybody's telephone about the incident, people all the way to Winnipeg were aware and we had no response from Saskatoon," Epp said. 

Langham council will be meeting with the EMO in September and make a decision after that, Epp said. Top Stories

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