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Saskatoon officials propose relocating fire hall to help response times

Click to play video: 'City moves to decommission fire hall, build new' City moves to decommission fire hall, build new
WATCH ABOVE: The city has unveiled plans to decommission an existing fire hall and build a new one in a new Saskatoon community. Meaghan Craig explains the reasons behind the new service model that is being put to residents for feedback – May 26, 2016

In order to adapt to Saskatoon’s growth, fire officials are proactively pursuing a property that should improve response times. For the second time in its history, fire hall number three could be relocated.

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“Every minute counts when it comes to a structure fire and those first four minutes especially with new home construction are crucial,” said fire chief Morgan Hackl.

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READ MORE: Careless disposal of smoking material causes Saskatoon garage fire

Critical time that has the Saskatoon Fire Department thinking ahead and looking to move number three hall.

At this point, Saskatoon fire crews are required to meet some of the highest standards in the country if not North America. According to the chief, this means responding to an emergency in four minutes or less, 90 per cent of the time.

“The majority of the time, the current fire station location here on Taylor Street and York, we are achieving a four-minute response,” said Hackl.

“The concern is south of its district which is Stonebridge and Exhibition Industrial area, we are not meeting those targets for most of our calls into that area.”

Receiving 1,500 calls a year, crews at three hall respond within four minutes approximately 70 per cent of the time compared to the city-wide average of 83 per cent.

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By building a fire hall on Clarence Avenue South and Wilson those response times should improve without compromising safety or service elsewhere.

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For a land purchase price of $500,000, St. Martin’s United Church has given the fire department its blessing to build on its second parking lot just north of church.

“We’re happy to be part of something that is going to be good for our community overall,” said Reverend Michael Webster of St. Martin’s United Church.

Extensive consultation has been conducted with the congregation, with the build  meaning less parking for patrons and perhaps a few interrupted sermons

“They tell us they respond to three or four calls a day and try to be as respectful of their neighbours as they can.”

Of the more than 1,500 calls received a year by hall three, fire officials say approximately 785 of those calls required fire trucks leaving with lights and sirens.

An estimated 260 of those calls occurred during hours area residents would have been asleep and that it’s up to the discretion of the crew to sound sirens depending on traffic flow.

If passed at Monday’s standing policy committee meeting, a report will then go before city council on June 27. If everything goes according to plan, construction on this site will start in 2017 and be complete by 2018.

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