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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Fort St. John firefighters responded to 1,029 calls for service throughout 2022.
The incidents were broken down into types, including fire and alarms, motor vehicle, medical and hazmat.
Deputy Fire Chief Matt Troiano said fire and alarm calls accounted for over half of the incidents in 2022 and included residential fire alarms, commercial fire alarms and “anything that has to do with wildfires.”
In 2022, 16 per cent of the incidents reported were motor vehicle related, according to a chart the department shared.
As Troiano said previously, medical incidents have seen a significant increase over previous years, and that trend continues into 2023. Approximately 23 per cent of the incidents the department responded to in 2022 were medical calls.
Out of the 1,029 incidents in 2022, 4 per cent were hazmat calls, which include carbon monoxide alarms.
Overall, Troiano said incident responses were fairly standard across the board.
“We do have an increase in incident responses compared to previous years, we’re up about 15 to 20 per cent over previous years, and we’re continuing to see that trend going into this year as well,” he said.
Fire department staff participated in 3,885 training and development hours over the course of 2022.
Due to the continuation of the pandemic, some of the group staff training was limited in the first half of the year, Troiano explained.
“Near the later part of last year, and as we’ve seen going into this year, it’s picking up again. We’re starting to be able to conduct that essential training again, and it’s good to be back.”
Approximately 60 per cent of the training conducted last year was on foundational skills.
“Foundational training and skills would be the typical type of training we would do for hands-on training when responding to calls,” Troiano explained.
“Anything you would see firefighters do, wearing our personal protective equipment and wearing our breathing apparatus, deploying hose line, in addition to technical rescue skill sets.”
About nine per cent of the department’s training hours had to do with apparatus operations, which includes the fire engines, the aerial rescue apparatus and the tender apparatus.
The firefighters also take part in several scenarios during training.
The training the department took part in included high-angle rope rescue, confined space rescue, and hazardous material responses, according to Troiano.
The department held 58 public education events, hosted 1,458 participants during those events, and conducted 1,745 fire inspections and 42 fire investigations in 2022.
Troiano said the department also launched its Community Safety Academy last year.
“We get school groups coming into the fire hall to learn about fire safety and community safety aspects of it, [and] get a fire hall tour,” Troiano explained.
He expects those sessions to pick up again in the spring.
To give community members more insight into the fire department, Troiano mentioned that the fire prevention division is the team that conducts fire inspections.
“They’re at it every day going around, making sure that the businesses are safe for everybody,” he said.
The fire investigations determine what caused the fire in instances of structure fires and motor vehicle fires.
“We default to conducting the fire investigation within our department. When it gets determined that it would be suspicious, then it gets handed over to the RCMP entirely,” Troiano explained.
The department kicked off February 2023 with National Burn Awareness week from the 5th to the 11th with the theme of “Hot Liquids Burn Like Fire!”
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