Council approves new Fire Master Plan and Community Risk Assessment
News Release

Ensuring that community safety is the upmost priority, Oshawa City Council has approved the 2020 Fire Master Plan and Community Risk Assessment in addition to significant investments in Oshawa Fire Services.

The 2020 Fire Master Plan was informed by public input, legislation, industry best practices, Oshawa Fire Services and the Oshawa Professional Fire Fighters Association and will serve as strategic direction for the City of Oshawa's fire services for the next 10 years.

The Fire Master Plan process was initiated by the City andapproved by Council on January 21, 2019. The project also included developing a companion Community Risk Assessment (C.R.A.) to address the municipality's legislative requirements contained in the new Ontario Regulation 378/18.

The 2020 Fire Master Plan also considered the legislative requirements of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 that defines a municipality's legislated responsibilities to provide fire protection services, including that the City shall "establish a program in the municipality which must include public education with respect to fire safety and certain components of fire prevention; and provide such other fire protection services as it determines may be necessary in accordance with its needs and circumstances."

Prepared by Dillon Consulting Limited, the Fire Master Plan assesses OFS's current and future levels of service and programs while the Community Risk Assessment Final Report identifies the needs and circumstances of the community based on fire risk.

"The health and safety of our residents, businesses and Fire Services staff remains our number one priority. On behalf of Council, thank you to our dedicated Fire Services staff for their commitment to protecting our community each and every day," said Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter. "The 2020 Fire Master Plan addresses the needs of our growing city and at the same time ensures that Oshawa Fire Services will continue to deliver excellent public education and prevention programs and protect the community through emergency response, fire safety standards and code enforcement."

During a Special Council Meeting on November 26, 2020, City Council endorsed and approved the 2020 Fire Master Plan and Community Risk Assessment along with implementing operational recommendations and strategies to reduce the existing dispatch time and turnout time components of the OFS current total response time. This includes a comprehensive review of the current alarm processing time for dispatchers to receive the emergency call and alert the firefighters along with improvements to decrease turnout times for the firefighters to receive the emergency call and respond. 

As a step towards modernization of the fire service, at the November 26 Special Council Meeting, Council approved a two-year pilot program and the acquisition of a rapid response vehicle at Fire Station 1, supported by existing staffing of two firefighters.

"The rapid response vehicle will provide our fire service with a more efficient and effective deployment response model. Of our annual call volume, Fire Services has experienced a larger volume in medical calls (26%), false alarms (22.51%) and motor vehicle accidents / rescues (19.82%) compared with fire incident calls (4.33%)," said Oshawa Fire Chief Derrick Clark.

"I am proud of all staff at Oshawa Fire Services and our highly trained and dedicated teams across all divisions - thank you for your commitment to serving our community and protecting the residents of Oshawa," said Fire Chief Clark. "The approval of the new Fire Master Plan will help ensure that Oshawa Fire Services continues to deliver and maintain our core values of commitment, dedication and excellence in carrying out our mission to provide fire protection and emergency services to the community."

Maximizing the three lines of defense for public fire safety, the Fire Master Plan identifies public education (the first line of defense) and fire safety standards and enforcement (the second line of defense) as key to increasing public safety. Thethird line of defense, fire suppression, is informed by the identified risks in the C.R.A. Ensuring all three lines of defense, the Council-approved 2020 Fire Master Plan ensures that the City continues to provide the highest level of public education and prevention, fire safety standards, code enforcement and emergency response for the community while meeting the safety needs of a growing population.

Last fall, as part of the 2020 budget deliberations, Council approved five new full-time positions within Oshawa Fire Services: 3 Fire Fighters, 1 Communications Officer (responsible for the dispatch centre) and 1 Assistant Deputy Fire Chief. In addition, an additional Fire Prevention Inspector was hired in 2019.

"The approval of the Fire Master Plan and Community Risk Assessment along with investments in our Fire Services support the City's commitment to public safety, the safety of our fire staff and the protection of property across our community," added Mayor Carter.

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