The Chestermere Fire Services (CFS) Fire Chief, Brian Pomrenke reported a 16 per cent increase of service calls during the June 2 Regular Meeting of Council.
Emergency medical services make up 68 per cent of the total call volume that CFS receives, while the remainder were fire supported responses.
“We live the three P’s, pride, professionalism, and proficiency and that ensures that every element is integrated into the incidents that we’re called in for,” Pomrenke said.
Through February and March, the CFS had a decline in regular incidents, which Pomrenke believes is because more residents were staying at home due to the COVID-19 prevention measures.
“The majority of our calls have been straight to a residence, and less motor vehicle collisions with the stay at home measures the province put in place,” Pomrenke said.
“Q1 definitely was a different one, bringing very unprecedented times around the world and in Chestermere,” he said.
“CFS responded relatively quickly and responsibly at our rapidly changing environment,” he added.
In response to COVID-19, many internal efforts were made to ensure the safety of the frontline personnel, such as increased sanitizations, reviewed procedures, and sourcing and securing proper and adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Moving into quarter two, CFS will focus on the business continuity plans while ensuring personnel are safe and properly supported.
“Through all of this, CFS continues to be the first on scene at residential and commercial fires, medical emergencies, motor vehicle accidents, aquatic rescues, hazardous material incidents, and technical rescues,” Pomrenke said.
Although CFS continued to operate under the previous level of service, training opportunities were cancelled due to COVID-19.
“Given the response time, CFS members must peruse relentless training to provide a level of service and care that can be delivered to the community,” Pomrenke said.
“We work collaboratively with other regional fire departments in our area, and with COVID, we have cancelled all training until further notice with our regional partners,” he said.
However, CFS has begun to conduct internal training in order to maintain skills, such as purchasing props to practice vehicle extractions.
“Ongoing medical emergency training is always paramount for what we do,” Pomrenke said.
Going forward, CFS will be visiting local businesses that have taken the opportunity to do renovations during COVID-19.
“We will be making sure with our planning and development and inspections community that everything is good to go for when they stage the reopens,” Pomrenke said.
“I want to say a giant thank you, I know that this has been crazy. Your department along with many of the departments in the city have been right there firsthand while exposed to this,” Deputy Mayor Michelle Young said.