The Dryden Observer

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Dryden Fire Service meeting targets, planning for recruitment

Following a change to Dryden’s fire service model, the service is working to provide transparency into operations with quarterly reports, the latest of which fire chief Ryan Murrell presented to council January 14.

Longtime volunteer and captain Ryan Murrell was recently named Deputy Fire Chief for the Dryden Fire Service. Photo submitted

Murrell’s report outlined recruitment, response data, risk management and response standards, inspections and enforcement, public education and programming, and financial implications for the city.

Recruitment in 2018 produced 11 firefighters, Murrell highlighted, with another recruitment program starting this March and running through October, geared toward Hall Two personnel. Presently, Hall Two is short six volunteers.

When asked the rationale behind waiting until March to recruit, Murrell explained, “We have some other time frames coming up here with some other projects that have to be started first. We want to make sure that our current work experience program folks are not focused on those projects, because they are the heavy lifters when it comes down to training our new people… right now is not a great time, until March. We know that’s adequate time to start to recruit people and prepare those new people throughout the summer months when we have a lot more time to be hands-on with them.”

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There is currently more than adequate response at both halls, Murrell assured. There were 238 calls for service in 2018, three less than the year before.

For risk management and response standards, the fire service is striving to have a defibrillator to a patient within six minutes of a medical call, get a pumper out of the hall within 240 seconds and to calls within 480 seconds, reducing false fire and false carbon monoxide calls through education, and increasing fire safety by offering free alarms installed door to door.

The service is also striving to reach standards set out by the National Fire Protection Association.

Presently, the service is meeting its requirements for conducting fire inspections by providing them on request or complaint, and meeting requirements for approval of fire safety plans through conducting evacuation and fire inspections for each building housing vulnerable occupants.

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“We are proud to show below a 155 per cent increase in inspections year over year since 2016,” Murrell said in the report. “Our hope is that this increase in safety inspection activity decreases the risk of fire in our occupancies and at a minimum increases the exposure of our residents to fire safety and the fire code life safety provisions meant to protect them.”

Future plans include further public education and smoke alarm programming, and the inclusion of carbon monoxide alarms in public outreach.

The fire service is operating within its budget and has completed capital projects within budget and on time, Murrell reported.

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