The Fort Saskatchewan Firefighter's Association is working alongside the city to help bring faster and more effective service to the community.
Darrick Graff, president of the firefighter's association, is concerned that the current state of the fire department is not enough to serve Fort Saskatchewan.
"Our municipality has grown exponentially over the last decade," said Graff. "The fire department itself has not grown in numbers to match the demand that's required by our community."
The department currently employs 10 full-time firefighters, 27 paid-on-call firefighters, a supervisor and three other firefighters who work a combination of full-time and on-call shifts.
On top of that, the department has one 24/7 firetruck as well as a pickup truck that is driven by the supervisor. This allows for a maximum of four firefighters to immediately respond to an emergency.
Graff told MIX 107 that the department's response time significantly increases when incidents are on further ends of the city.
"Call volumes are increasing, the severity of calls is going upwards... for us to be able to get [to fires] and be effective with the amount of members we have available is becoming more difficult for us to do our jobs."
Work is being done behind the scenes to solve this problem. The fire department and the city are currently in the process of determining how to move forward.
"We are working collaboratively with the city to form a plan; they have an independent agency right now that has come in to evaluate the response and provide recommendations," said Graff.
Of course, more firefighters on the team would be helpful, but Graff says another truck would go a long way in solving their current issues.
He added the department is leaning on Strathcona County's team for help more often. However, their response time is generally 10 to 15 minutes.
"A majority of our members are paid on-call firefighters that have lives outside of the fire station so we're relying on members to give up their time to come to these calls. Even if we have significant members responding it doesn't slash our response times."
This full-time on-call model has been in place since January of 2020.
In the end, Graff added a balance of more equipment and more firefighters is what's needed in order for the Fort Saskatchewan Fire Department to achieve what it wants.
"At the end of the day, all we're asking for is the tools to do our job safely."