A Made in Deep River-Public Fire Safety Model Transition Summary
On October 17, 2022, the Town of Deep River will move to phase 2 of its transition to a composite fire department model comprised of full-time and on-call (volunteer) firefighters. The new model will deliver exemplary and cost-effective protection services, organized around what the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) calls the “Three Lines of Defence”, Public & Life Safety, Fire Prevention/Code Enforcement, and Emergency Response.
Highlights of Composite Model
- The department will consist of a full-time Fire Chief, two full-time Captains, two full-time firefighters, and a total of twenty-four on-call volunteer firefighters including four Lieutenants
- The fire hall will only be manned during the business day while a robust on-call system will be in place during non-business hours
- This transition will ensure the Town can continue to deliver high-quality fire protection services in a way that is cost effective and appropriate for our small community.
- Community members will continue to use the ‘911” system to activate all emergency services
- Initial response times for fire will increase by 5-10 minutes during non-business hours however the response will be substantially more robust with a range of five to ten qualified fire staff responding.
- The new Agreement is the first contract achieved through negotiation between the Town and the DRPFFA in many years. The Town and the DRPFFA are proud of the new Agreement and look forward to working together along with the Volunteer fire staff to deliver fire protection services.
- The new model is more appropriate for a community of our size. Deep River will continue to have more full-time firefighters than similar communities in Ontario.
Phase 1 (April 2022 to October 17, 2022)
- During this phase both full-time and volunteer firefighters have completed the first phase of an enhanced training program
- All department members including volunteers are fully qualified firefighters
- During this phase fire services continued to be provided with around the clock coverage utilizing full-time Deep River firefighters and CNL firefighters under the Fire Protection Services Agreement combined with a limited volunteer response.
- New legislation was introduced in Ontario that will require all fire departments to fully certify all firefighters by 2026 (Ontario reg. 343/22 under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997)
- Annual operating expense continued to be in excess of $1,700,000
Phase 2 (October 17, 2022 to June, 2023)
- A new schedule for the stand-alone model will be implemented Oct. 17, 2022, with the fire hall staffed only during business hours.
- Also effective on Oct. 17, 2022, an on-call system will be implemented for non-business hours for emergency response.
- The Town of Deep River will work with CNL to draft a new Fire Protection Service Agreement that focuses on joint training opportunities and mutual aid.
- The second phase of the enhance training program that will be completed has a focus on:
- Public & Life Safety Education
- Prevention and Code Enforcement
- Annual operating expenses will be reduced by an estimated 38%.
The target date of June 2023 has been set for the end of the transition. Once the transition is complete the Town of Deep River will have a fully integrated composite fire service model in place with fully qualified and certified fire staff.
The Three Lines of Defence
Public & Life Safety Education
- In both phases 1 & 2 of our enhanced training program the full-time fire department staff have and will continue to participate in several National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) courses related to the design and delivery of public education and life safety programs
- The new model will provide time for our full-time staff to focus on designing and delivering a strong Public and Life Safety Education program through;
- Increased fire safety programming
- Increased participation in community events to promote fire safety
- Enhanced design and delivery of training programs for volunteer officers and firefighters to support public fire and life safety education programs
- Full-time fire staff will provide training, with support of volunteer fire staff, to various businesses, community groups and institutions such as our hospital and long-term care facilities.
Fire Prevention/Code Enforcement
- In both phases 1 & 2 of our enhanced training program, the full-time fire department staff have and will continue to participate in several NFPA courses to certify them as Fire Prevention Inspectors.
- Since 2017, an inspection program to meet the requirements of the Town’s Fire Prevention Policy has been jointly managed by Deep River and CNL. Effective October 17, 2022, full-time staff will be able to focus on the design and implementation of the program with the support of the volunteer staff.
- Department staff will participate in and facilitate fire drills and emergency exercises with businesses, community groups and institutions such as our hospital and long-term care facilities.
- With our new composite model, emergency response capacity will be significantly improved with more trained officers and firefighters able to respond to emergencies.
- An on-call system for non-business hours will ensure a robust initial response with the capacity to increase that response if required with more departmental resources.
- Enhanced training, drills and exercises will improve the quality of emergency response, ensuring the safety and well-being of the community.
It has taken significant effort by all parties to design a new “made in Deep River” solution to what has been an ongoing challenge for a long time. The new composite model will enhance the fire services that are provided to the community while significantly improving the financial sustainability of this critical service.
A presentation regarding the details on the new model are scheduled during the upcoming Fire Prevention Week:
- Saturday October 15, 2022 @ 11:00 am & 1:30 pm (Council Chambers in Town Hall)
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the new fire service delivery model please contact;
Suzanne D’Eon, Mayor of Deep River
Sean Patterson, CAO of Deep River