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Merging fire halls makes Winnipeg Fire Department more efficient: Report

Windsor Park fire hall on Friday Sept. 11 2015. Lorraine Nickel / Global News

WINNIPEG — A new report out of city hall recommends merging two fire halls and closing all the ambulance stations.

The Fire Underwriters report was conducted for the Alternative Service Committee to find efficiencies and money saving measures with the Fire Paramedic Service.

The report says the department could save $17-million by selling the fire halls in Windsor Park and on Marion Street, merging them to build a new station near Dugald Road and Lagimodiere Boulevard and close the last three remaining ambulance stations, and renovating existing halls to accommodate those paramedics.

“Anytime you can reduce your footprint like that you’re reducing the number of costs associated with each building,” Fire Chief John Lane said.

The report also says the department needs to reallocate ladder trucks to different areas in order to meet the need in those areas.

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“Because of urban sprawl and because of changing technology we need to reallocate resources into different areas,” Alex Forrest, with the United Firefighters of Winnipeg said. “We need to have a new fire hall and fire truck in Waverley West we need some aerial ladders in the north end, Henderson Highway, St. Boniface area.”

“What we need for a ladder truck is we need it to be able to respond the fires with 8 minutes travel time 90 per cent of the time,” Lane said. “I’m sure we’re not meeting that right now.”

This is just a suggestion and a larger more in depth study will be done to determine if there are more areas the department can move around resources to better serve a growing city.

“It doesn’t matter where you live in the city you need the same fire paramedic protection,” Forrest said, “you all pay the same taxes and your life means just as much as any other life in the downtown core.”

For a detailed look at the city report, click here.

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