Wellington North Fire Service call volume up this year

Volume of medical-related calls for fire service continues trending up

KENILWORTH – Medical-related calls continue to be the most prevalent for the Wellington North Fire Service, an ongoing trend since last summer at least.

But the 79 medical calls volunteer firefighters were dispatched to, along with paramedics, was not top of mind for one councillor at a Sept. 11 meeting.

Fire Chief Chris Harrow presented a half-year report to Wellington North council looking at data collected between January and July.

Councillor Sherry Burke asked about 35 “false fire calls,” one of the types reported by Harrow, and if the number could be reduced with public education.

False alarms or calls about a fire where there is none account for the call type, council heard.

“Education is something we’re definitively looking at,” Harrow said, adding the service is examining data to find out where the calls are coming from so the service’s approach can be tailored.

The township has a bylaw allowing the fire service to bill for responses after three false alarms at an address, but the fire chief said it’s rare to get to that point, adding the service prefers an education-first approach.

Looking at the overall picture of data presented in Harrow’s report, calls this year are up by five per cent over 2022, as of Aug. 18.

The service had responded to 264 calls, compared to 252 by the same time last year.

In fourth place for the most prevalent type of call – after medical, rescue and false fire calls/other response – are property fires and explosions, with 26 calls or 10% of the service’s overall call volume.

In the first half of the year, June was the busiest month, with more than 40 calls, and February the slowest with between 20 and 30 calls.