Fire Department sees increase in calls for service in 2018

A Prince Albert firefighter watches over a controlled burn on May 6, 2018. -- Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald

The Prince Albert Fire Department experienced a small increase in calls for service last year, according to numbers from their 2018 Year in Review.

Fire crews responded to 1,205 incidents in 2018, a 13 per cent increase over 2017 when they responded to 1,063 incidents. City of Prince Albert residents were largely responsible for the increase, since the number of service calls from the Rural Municipality of Prince Albert dropped by 13 per cent. The department responded to 25 incidents in the R.M. last year, with grass, brush and natural vegetation fires making up the bulk of the calls.

The increase in total calls was largely due to Other Hazardous Responses, a category that includes carbon monoxide calls, natural gas calls, and motor vehicle collisions with no entrapment. The fire department responded to 276 such calls in 2018, compared with 150 in 2017.

The number of structure and outdoor/wildland fires increased for the second straight year, but only slightly. Fire crews responded to 71 structure fires and 169 outdoor or wildland fires in 2018. They put out 68 structure fires and 151 outdoor or wildland fires the year before.

Although structure, outdoor and wildland fires increased, the number of vehicle fires dropped by more than 50 per cent. Fire crews responded to 17 burning vehicle calls in 2018. That’s well below the 36 such calls they received in 2017.

The department conducted 1,573 building inspections last year and found 2,045 code violations. The three most common violations were for fire separation deficiencies, broken or defective portable fire extinguishers, inadequate emergency lighting and exit signs.

Fire Department representatives also made roughly 175 public fire safety presentations to various groups within the city.