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Toronto fire fighters union says more than 1 of 10 trucks are out of service due to staff shortages

Last Updated Oct 26, 2020 at 4:47 pm EST

The Firefighters' Association says only 129 of the 142 vehicles are expected to be in service throughout 2020. Terence Burke

A new audit from the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association says nearly 1 in 10 fire trucks in Toronto regularly sit idle due to staffing shortages.

The report, conducted and finalized by the Eckler firm, found that only 129 of the 142 vehicles are expected to be in service throughout the year.

It also finds that only 126 of the 142 vehicles will be in service if the full staffing requirement of four firefighters to a truck is met.

On Monday, Toronto Fire Chief, Matthew Pegg, said he isn’t surprised.

“What concerns me most is the acknowledgment and the assessment by the firm with respect to the rise and increase in unplanned absences and the fact that those are on the rise and most notably, the fact that the leading cause of those absences in fact, both incidental sick time, and WSIB approved illness and injury,” Pegg said.

“What disturbs me significantly is that the overwhelming majority of those WSIB absences are as a result of things like post-traumatic stress and other occupational stress injuries.”

Pegg says the City provides world-class fire protection to its residents and everyone of its visitors.

Also mentioned in the report, the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association and the Eckler firm are calling on the City to “update its staffing practices to adequately staff fire trucks and allow Toronto Fire Services to use a staffing projection tool to accurately plan for staffing needs.”

“We hope elected officials and Torontonians understand that being understaffed places extra and unnecessary risks on citizens and firefighters,” the report states.

“Our goal is to work together with the City of Toronto and we ask that they take action to support our fire services.”

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