Minto assists Mapleton on Master Fire Plan

MAPLETON – Fire chiefs Rick Richardson and Chris Harrow, of Mapleton and Minto respectively, presented Mapleton council with a joint fire plan established by the two departments on Oct. 22.

The in-house fire master plan, a first for the Mapleton department, includes updates – most to take place within the next five years – in the following areas: administration and communication, public education, fire prevention, apparatus and equipment, training, fire suppression, health and wellness, shared services and IT and infrastructure.

“The process is a very different one than you will see in the consultation-based one and other fire master plans you see out there,” Harrow told Mapleton council.

The Minto fire department is no stranger to the in-house approach, having established master plans internally in 2012 and 2018. That’s one of the reasons Minto is assisting Mapleton with its fire master plan.

“The way that we approach this is this is truly a plan that is collaboration between the firefighters and management and it brings forward that collaboration through the recommendations,” said Harrow.

“A lot of the recommendations … are specific in nature but that’s because that’s what the firefighters … truly believe in and … with them and management working together, it’s a truly workable plan we believe.”


Among the Mapleton Fire Rescue changes listed under administration in the first two years are:

– reviewing/updating standard operating guides yearly to ensure they are current;

– ensuring internal meetings include a structures agenda and records process;

– either updating or creating a new standard operating guide to include more severe repercussions for firefighters that do not do truck checks or attend enough training; and

– going through a rebranding process to ensure its identity better reflects the values of the department.

Recommendations for years three to four include:

– distributing minutes of officer meetings to firefighters to increase internal communication; and

– investigating casual clothing options for firefighters and e-commerce distribution platforms.

Fire prevention

Changes outlined for the first four years include:

– exploring partnerships with Mapleton businesses to increase fire prevention within downtown cores; and

– possibly creating a task force to ensure proper pre-plan completion for all identified buildings in Mapleton and coordinating walk-throughs of buildings requiring more than a one-station response from neighbouring departments.

Apparatus and equipment

The apparatus and equipment section of the plan includes the following changes to be implemented over the next five years or more:

– allocating a portion of the budget to each station to use annually for updating and acquiring equipment;

– creating an orientation program for new recruits to learn about equipment maintenance and inventory on all apparatus;

– discontinuing the use of separate colours for each station and instead having one colour of bunker gear for all members; and

– investigating the viability of purchasing off-road utility vehicles to enhance the fleet, such as motor boats, utility vehicles etc.

Other changes include:

– diversifying training instructors to better utilize knowledge within the department;

– expanding the trainers list to include those with specialized knowledge on various subjects;

– implementing an on-scene smoking policy and an in-apparatus no-smoking policy; and

– creating programs for spouses and kids to increase understanding of the job.