Fire report reveals increases in emergency, traumatic calls

MAPLETON –  The Mapleton fire department has seen a 28 per cent increase in emergency events between 2015 and 2018.

The increase was outlined in a recent report from Fire Chief Rick Richardson.

Traumatic events – involving fatalities, severe injuries or auto extrication – have tripled for the department over the same time period.

In 2018 Mapleton Fire Rescue attended 190 emergency events. The majority (30.3%) of those were rescue calls, with medical resuscitation calls accounting for 24.5% and property fires and explosions at 22.9%.

The department attended 175 emergency events in 2017, 177 in 2016 and 148 in 2015.

Traumatic events are tracked separately.

In 2018 the department attended 24 traumatic events. The numbers were 14 in 2017, 12 in 2016 and eight in 2015.

“Last year was just a tremendous, horrendous year… We were getting fatal accidents and we had a couple house fires where they were totally burned out and just the awful ones,” Richardson said.

“To have them week after week was just awful last year and the total numbers were up of course.”

Despite the reported increases, Richardson told the Wellington Advertiser there is nothing the department can do differently, as the number of emergency events comes in waves.

“I wish I had something that you could put in the paper saying … ‘this is responsible for all of these accidents and all of these calls last year,’ and there is not,” he added.

Projections for this year indicate there will likely be fewer total emergency incidents than in 2018.

“At this point it is going to be a much different year,” Richardson said.

The department has attended 38 emergency incidents as of June 23. By June 23 last year, the department had attended 55 incidents.

“That’s pretty significant, but again, I can’t say … one thing, percentage wise, is way down … There has been less calls this year, less traumatic calls for sure,” he said.

The Critical Incident Stress Management Program (CISM) program and training was made mandatory by the Ministry of Labour in 2017 to address post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experienced by firefighters and OPP officers, Richardson explained.

“We have all of the firefighters trained in what to identify … we had all of the spouses in for a separate training, then we had our officers all in for training so they would be able to identify people in our crew that are maybe having effects that don’t want to admit it,” he said.