Council approves Regina Fire's master plan
Regina city council unanimously approved Regina Fire & Protective Service’s (RFPS) fire master plan Wednesday.
RFPS said the master plan is a roadmap for decision making and a guide to position fire services as Regina grows.
“The fire master plan identifies the department’s future needs to help keep Regina residents safe,” Regina fire chief Layne Jackson said. “The fire master plan assesses present and future population statistics and anticipated growth by evaluating past and present service levels provided by RFPS, coupled with its service goals and expectations.”
This is a 25-year plan, broken up into five year phases, which can be expedited or slowed based on the landscape of the city.
The plan focuses on growth, community safety & wellbeing, diversity & inclusion and innovation.
GROWTH IN REGINA
In the growth section of the plan, the fire department will look at how the city has grown, both residentially and industrially, and the needs that need to be met.
Currently, firefighters respond to more than 9,000 calls for service each year, with that number expected to grow as the city does.
Jackson said he hopes the city will build a new fire hall in the southeast corner of Regina.
“(The plan) really did identify the southeast as some of the longest response times and seeing some of the most growth in the city,” Jackson added.
In the second phase, years five to 10, it looks at building another new hall in the Harbour Landing neighbourhood as it is another fast growing area.
Jackson said these decisions do need to be approved by council.
“You’re going to be in the neighbourhood of about $1.5 million for a new facility,” Kim Onrait, executive director of citizen services at the City of Regina, said.
Onrait added there will also be additional costs for equipment, fire trucks and staff.
INNOVATION, COMMUNITY SAFETY AND WELLBEING
The fire master plan also looks at how the department can improve fire response using technology, including the use of drones.
“Having a view from 1,000 feet above to see exactly what is going on with that large scale emergency is only going to benefit firefighter safety, first responder safety and public safety,” Jackson said.
He added identifying hot spots or highly flammable material in the area will allow firefighters to better navigate an emergency situation safely more effectively.
Regina Fire said it did just implement an electronic mapping system in all its stations.
The maps are updated with road closures and construction across the Regina by city employees.
“What it’s designed to do is to give the driver of the truck the best ability to get the information they need to get to the incidents as quickly as possible,” Gord Hewitt, deputy chief with Regina Fire, said.
The department is also looking at more environmentally friendly ways it can do its job effectively by using electric apparatuses and battery-operated tools.
“We are even in the process right now of changing some of our day-to-day practices,” Hewitt said. “When we talk about firefighting foam, we’ve moved over to a much more environmental sustainable product.”
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
The inclusions and diversity section of the master plan outlines the foundation to build a more diverse, welcoming and inclusive workspace.
Regina Fire will be looking at its recruitment process and ongoing education programs.
The hope is to work with local schools and partners to encourage people to look at firefighting as a career and properly educate them on what schooling and programs they need to complete before applying.
RPFS intends to achieve a short term goal of increasing its applicant pool by 25 women, 13 Indigenous people and 13 more people from a visible minority group.
The plan also outlines cultural workshops for all employees to understand each other and how to approach certain situations in an appropriate matter.
Jackson said the master plan is a living document and can be changed, sped up or slowed down depending on the needs of the city over the next 25 years.