The City of Swift Current Fire Department saw a small decrease in calls during 2018 compared to 2017.
They went from 731 in 2017 to 672 in 2018, and Fire Chief Darren McClelland said there were two main factors that influenced the drop.
"Probably the biggest notable difference in why we had a few less calls would be the fact that we didn't land STARS at the hospital in 2018. In 2017 we had 35 STARS landings. When you take that number of 2017 we had 696 calls."
McClelland said the second significant reason was that the RM of Swift Current 137 is now responding to all motor-vehicle collisions in their jurisdiction.
"Whether it was five or 10 calls over the year, I'm not sure exactly how many they went to. So those numbers, with that and STARS, would, say, total 45 calls and that might be the reason for decline in this year."
Like 2017, 2018 was dry, but unlike 2017, there weren't a lot of grass fires in the area. McClelland noted that came as a bit of a surprise.
"I think with the fire ban and everybody just being a little bit more aware and more cautious with their outside burning and that sort of thing, we definitely didn't see any trouble with that this year, which is obviously good because people are using common sense and being more aware of it," he said, adding that the October, 2017 wildfires around Burstall and Tompkins might have led to the increased awareness. "Those situations, and everybody's just a little bit more aware because that was pretty dramatic and there were some major injuries and a fatality and that sort of thing. Everybody's just a lot more aware and more conscious of what they're doing."
If the fire department helps out as an emergency assist, it still counts as a call.
McClelland said they've been trending downwards in calls over the last 15-20 years, and added that he's happy with how their fire prevention has gone.
"Whether it's through inspections and public education. Our inspection program, whether the businesses really enjoy it or not, the guys are out there at all times doing fire code inspections on the businesses, and I'd like to believe that that's the reason for our decline in fire calls - and it's not just in the last three to five years, we're talking the last 15 years or 20 years. Everybody here is a level-two fire inspector, and the crews get their assigned inspections, and they're out there making sure that the businesses in town are fire safe."
Looking back the fire chief said no calls in particular stood out to him. And looking ahead he said it's business as usual.
"The RM's still going to be responding to motor-vehicle accidents and rescue within their jurisdiction, unless something changes there. And as far as medical calls, we need to take them as they come. There's no rhyme or reason why things happen on certain days. And as far as the STARS landing, they probably won't be coming back with the new landing site at the hospital. I would suggest that things would be within that 600-700 range again."