Fort Saskatchewan's fire department is looking for some much needed upgrades in the new budget.
 
Fire Chief Shawn McKerry came to council with his $2.1-million proposal.
 
"The fire department is one of those services that is a necessity to the community for public safety," said McKerry. "The challenge for the fire department is that it's very expensive for us to do our job."
 
He asked for council to consider working towards new fire trucks, as the current units are all approaching the end of their service years or are ready to be moved to a backup role. Typically, engines are demoted to backup after 15 years of service and retired after 20.
 
McKerry's ask of two engines is a big step, seeing as the cost of a new fire truck has jumped well over 180 per cent since 1998.
 
"When we purchased the original engines 15, 20-years ago, they were about $300,000, but now we're looking at $900,000 for a fire engine, so it's a big cost to the community but it's very important for public safety."
 
Other things McKerry asked council for includes:
- $55,000 for annual occupation medical assessments to ensure firefighters are fit for the job mentally and physically. It will also help to catch service-related cancers sooner.
- $26,500 for firefighter development and training.
- $12,000 for new tires, along with other pieces of equipment that will help crews battle fires.
 
He also wants $8,000 for an Insurance Grade Report that has some potential benefits for residential insurance.
 
Every five years, the report looks at how well protected the city is, from that, a fire protection rating is given.
 
Currently, the city has an insurance grade of 3A for dwelling protection and a five for public protection. These are good ratings, but there is room for improvement.
 
Insurance companies take these ratings into account for residential and commercial insurance rates - the better the fire department is rated, the less citizens will have to pay for insurance.
 
City council will present their final budget on December 2.

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