Comment 79825

By NoSugarAdded (registered) | Posted August 15, 2012 at 14:59:09

Very interesting article you have written. I ran into an old friend last night who is a fire buff (someone who likes to chase fire truck) and I brought up your story. Some interesting items he told me and I wrote down. I also did a little research on line to confirm some of the numbers.

As the city has grown in the last 30 years or so from 306,000 in 1980 to 520,000 today and from around 40 sq. mi to 431.32 sq. mi, the fire department has not kept up with growth. 30 years ago they had 9 stations with full time staff in Hamilton and maybe a handful of full time staff in the region mostly chief’s and ambulance staffing for the Ancaster’s fire department.

Today they have full time firefighters in 17 stations (plus 10 volunteer stations), but have one less vehicle in service today with staffing than they had 30 years ago. That includes 2 vehicles that they staffed at the airport that they do not do today. They have less full time vehicles in service then volunteer vehicles.

They also had more staff on the vehicles 30 years ago than they have today. The heavy Rescue vehicles ran with 4 personnel but today they usually run with 2. Some pumps/engines ran with 5 persons but today they struggle (with a little overtime) to have a max of 4. Even the on duty chief’s had a driver that gave them an extra person to fill in staffing holes at a call.

Their calls have gone from around 5,000 in the mid 70’s to almost 30,000 today. During the week from 8 am to 5 pm they send at least 1 full time vehicle to all volunteer call just in case no one shows up to take a volunteer vehicle. And even then they sometimes only have one volunteer on the vehicle going to the call. All fires in the rural/volunteer areas have at least 2 full time and sometimes 3 full time vehicles going to the call 24/7.

They had more full time personnel in the early 90’s than today and that is even after incorporating full time staff from the other 5 departments they amalgamated with.

This is the list of changes in the number of vehicles in a station from the late 70’s and early 80’s to today. This would be the area from Dundurn to the Red Hill valley where there is most likely 85% of the fires in the city.

1980 Vehicles vs 2012 Vehicles

11 Ray & George St. 3 vs 1

1 John St. N. 6 (1 is a Chief) vs 4 (1 is a Chief)

6 Wentworth St. N. 3 vs 1

9 Kenilworth 4 (1 is a Chief) vs 2

8 Melvin Ave 2 vs 2 (1 is a Chief)

Totals

1980 18 staffed vehicles

2012 10 staffed vehicles

Also in 1980, the lower city has a 6th station at Main by McMaster. Station 10 had 1 vehicle. The mountain had 3 stations, 3, 4 & 12 with a total of 5 vehicles plus the airport with 2 vehicles.

Comment edited by NoSugarAdded on 2012-08-15 15:03:22

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