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The Saskatoon Fire Department responded to a record number of calls in 2023


The Sasktoon Fire Department saw another record year of demand in 2023.

Last year, the fire department responded to 25,176 calls, the second year in a row the service marked a record year.

The figure represents a 15 per cent increase compared to 2022 and a 57 per cent increase since 2019.

"It's not the same fire department as it was five years ago, and certainly not 10 years ago," Mayor Charlie Clark said during Wednesday's committee on environment, utilities and corporate services.

As part of its 2023 year in review, the fire department says calls in nearly every major category have increased, with overdose and unconscious fainting reports seeing the largest increases.

There were 902 calls for overdoses in 2022, compared to 1,301 last year. Unconscious fainting calls increased from 2,098 to 2,416.

More than 15,000 needles were disposed of by firefighters last year.

City council is thankful for the department’s new human-centric approach to social issues and safety, which it says is being looked at by other fire departments across the country.

Last year, firefighters interacted with 1,020 homeless people, with 366 being offered some form of support. Crews responded to 42 fires due to unsafe housing and cleaned up 382 encampments.

The fire department said encampments were counted in 60 of the city's 66 neighbourhoods.

"I remember assistant chief (Yvonne) Raymer bringing forward strategies around boarded up buildings several years ago, and it sort of evolving into this," Clark said.

"Now she's been called the aunty of the fire department by members who are out there in the community because of the trusted relationship."

Courtesy: Shane Dion

More than $80 million worth of property caught fire last year with crews saving more than $72 million worth from going up in flames. Nearly $8 million worth of property was lost in fires last year.

One place the fire department is looking to improve is on response time.

The fire department lags behind the National Fire Protection Association standard in turnout time, travel time and overall response time for fire calls.

While there were improvements in response compared to 2022, travel time is still one minute and 33 seconds behind the target. Top Stories

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