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Saskatoon Fire Department saw increase in call volume in 2022

Saskatoon fire crews were called to battle a blaze in the 1500 block of 7th Avenue North. (Dan Shingoose/CTV News) Saskatoon fire crews were called to battle a blaze in the 1500 block of 7th Avenue North. (Dan Shingoose/CTV News)

The Saskatoon Fire Department answered calls for nearly 22,000 incidents in 2022.

Data compiled ahead of a Saskatoon council committee meeting on Tuesday shows the fire department were alerted to 21,848 incidents last year, an increase of nearly 2,000 compared to 19,932 incidents reported in 2021.

"The Saskatoon Fire Department has persevered through an increasing volume of incidents, bringing exceptional service to residents and surrounding communities," fire Chief Morgan Hackl said in the report.

"Increases in calls for service and incident response were realized in all areas, but especially those connected to unsafe housing, mental wellness, and addictions.”

The report says firefighters picked up 15,976 discarded needles in Saskatoon.

In 2022, the department investigated 174 fires, with $47.74 million worth of property and infrastructure going up in flames. Firefighters saved $43.62 million worth of property and $4.12 million worth of property was lost to fires.

The top three causes of accidental fires last year were misuse of a material or product, abandoned materials or products and fires sparking up a second fire, labelled as "exposure fire" in the report.

Calls were answered and dispatched to the necessary fire station in time to meet the national standard with 88 per of calls processed in one minute. Many of the other response time information listed in the report lagged behind national standards.

It took firefighters an average of 89 seconds to grab their equipment and be travel-ready. The national standard is set at 80 seconds.

Travel time from the fire station to the destination averaged at five minutes and 38 seconds, well above the national standard of four minutes.

The total response time from when a call was answered to when a fire truck arrived on scene averaged seven minutes and 44 seconds, compared to the national standard of six minutes and 24 seconds.

The set of response time standards is set by the National Fire Protection Agency, an American-based international non-profit.

As for what's to come in 2023, the department will open a new fire hall in the summer along Preston Avenue near 108th Street to replace the 56-year-old Fire Station No. 5 currently located on Central Avenue in Sutherland.

The new station is expected to decrease response times. Once the new hall opens, Fire Station No. 5 will be decommissioned.  

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