The Estevan Fire Rescue Service (EFRS) remained steadily busy throughout 2020.
Fire Chief Dale Feser shared the statistics for the department in an interview with the Mercury.
Last year the EFRS receive 218 calls for service. Firefighters also participated in 77 training nights and community engagement activities, which included public education events that took place before the pandemic, birthday drive-bys, fundraising activities for the Angel Tree and more. The training and activities were on par with the previous year.
"We had a total of 295 fire-related events, which translates into being active every 1.2 days," said Feser.
While some weeks were pretty quiet, other days fire crews were working non-stop for many hours, responding to multiple calls.
Of the calls for service, 65 were related to fire alarms, which include both active and false alarms. Another 40 calls involved motor vehicle collisions of different scales. There were also 16 calls related to gas leaks, which include carbon monoxide (CO) and other noxious substances.
Besides, there were 97 fire-related activities, which encompass outdoor structure fires, structure fires, wildland fires and other types of actual fires. And there were several serious incidents in the area over the past 12 months.
"This year has definitely been one of those years when we had some fairly significant calls," Feser said.
He added that the most significant call for service in 2020 was related to the explosions at Regens Metals that occurred in April.
The general call volume in 2020 was a bit lower than in 2019. It partially could be related to changes caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that affected all spheres of life. However, for the EFRS the decrease in call volume is a positive tendency on all fronts.
"We did see a little bit of a low, which was a good thing considering that we do run a paid-on-call fire department here. But our firefighters … were still pretty busy," Feser said.
"We'd like to take the opportunity to thank all the businesses that help and support the fire department in the city of Estevan by allowing the firefighters to attend these calls, as well as the firefighters themselves for dedicating themselves to the city and protecting the citizens, as well as to training evenings that it takes to maintain our skill sets."
Feser also pointed out that the number of calls created by false alarms was slightly down. While oftentimes alarms are activated by mistake or some malfunction, and there is no emergency, unless firefighters assess the scene in most cases it's impossible to say what exactly happened. So activated alarms are always treated as emergencies, and if the devices are found to be faulty, contractors are informed and asked to come in and repair the system.