The Fort Saskatchewan Fire Department is settling into their new ways.
After a long wait, the fire department has finally made the change to a full-time, 24-hour model. Over the last two years around $1.5-million has been invested into the switch.
"The 24-hour shift is a big thing and it involves a 10-hour day shift and a 14-hour night shift and that revolves a 28-day cycle with all of our crews working on four different shifts," explained fire chief Shawn McKerry.
Now that the model is in place, the station has 12 full-time emergency responders as well as three full-time administrative staff to support them.
The biggest impact the 24-hour model will have is the large reduction in their response times. Traditionally, firefighters would have to leave their homes or place of work to come to the station; a trip that could take up to 15 minutes. Now they're ready, reducing response times to just 105 seconds.
A typical shift, according to McKerry involves quite a bit of cleaning both the firetrucks and the station itself, but of course, training activities and responding to calls do take up plenty of their time.
With such a big change, McKerry added the team has been trying to adapt.
"For lots of people, what they originally signed up for 10-20 years ago is changing drastically," he said. "We're definitely working with all of our staff to make sure it's a healthy transition from one point to another. We've got some amazing people here and we don't want to lose anyone to this transition."
To accommodate those who are working 14-hour night shifts, there are sleeping quarters so they can rest between calls.
Switching to a full-time fire department was first approved back in 2018.