Calgary fire chief says department stretched thin, but happy with results - 660 NEWS
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Calgary fire chief says department stretched thin, but happy with results

Last Updated Jan 9, 2018 at 2:08 pm MDT

Photo courtesy City of Calgary.

It was a busy year for the Calgary Fire Department, but Chief Steve Dongworth said his team has handled it well.

However, in his year-end-interview with 660 News he warned the department is stretched to the limit.

Dongworth said they’re doing their part to do more with less, explaining they were given a target and came up with reductions.

“Recognizing the economy has changed so much in Calgary since the action plan of 2015 through 2018 was developed, that was all signed off just before the economy took a turn,” he said.

But they’ve reached a tipping point.

“If we were to see another round of reductions, almost certainly we would have to do some things that would be noticed in terms of front-line service and response times,” cautioned Dongworth.

One of the challenges has been a 13 per cent increase in call volumes, and a lot of that has to do with opioids.

“In 2016 we responded to less than 400 opioid overdoes calls,” said Dongworth.

This year they’ve almost hit 1,100, with a 250 per cent increase.

“On 326 occasions we actually administered Narcan, Naloxone, that’s a nasal spray, to patients,” he explained.