About the Local

Fire Prevention Fire Suppression Fire Department Dispatch Emergency Medical Services Training

Fire Prevention – Inspection and Investigations

Like all Fire Departments and Union’s we have changed with the times. When the department first started we just did Fire Suppression and Dispatch. Since then we have grown to a multi disciplined department. Fire Prevention Services were added very quickly with one member to start, now we have six full-time members and will be adding in the near future several members working while on shift in Fire Suppression, who have been designated as Safety Codes Officers – Fire.

Fire Suppression

The Fire department was organized in 1950 as a volunteer organization, until 1975 when the first full time paid members where hired from the ranks of the volunteers. Later that same year we became affiliated with the International Association of Fire Fighters as Local 2494. It was during this time that a rapid expansion of Fort McMurray and area, because of the Oil Sands reserves being developed that the department started to expand to its present size. In 1992 it became a requirement that all members would be trained to NFPA 1001/1002 for Firefighters and all Officers to NFPA 1021 qualifications. All new members to the Fire and Medical Services Branch would also require certification to Emergency Medical Technician – Ambulance as a minimum. 

Fire Department Dispatch

The Fire Department Dispatch started out as just one of the members answering the emergency phone and then jumping on the pumper and going to the fire. Today, we have six dedicated full time dispatchers, a dispatch supervisor  and will be adding six more dispatchers who will be trained in the EMD and EFD systems. They now handle all E911 calls for the municipality as well as dispatch duties for the Fire Department and surrounding rural fire stations.

Emergency Medical Services

On January 1, 1978, we added the Ground Ambulance Service to our duties. At that time we only had fire fighters with first aid training as the attendants. Within 6 months we had our first Paramedics hired and working on the ambulances. Today we have three Firefighter/Paramedics per shift and at least three members per shift who are qualified as Emergency Medical Technicians-Ambulance. Our Firefighter/Paramedics and EMT-A’s provide Emergency Medical Services from Fort McMurray north to Fort Smith (150 miles -300 km), west of the City (75 miles – 167 km), East to the Saskatchewan boarder (50 miles -122 km) and south to the Hangingstone River (90 miles – 194 km). This encompassed approximately 50,000 square miles (or 200,000square kilometers). Our Air Medivac service is Rotary Wing only, covers all areas of our response area that Fixed Wing flights cannot reach. We still on occasion do Fixed Wing for out of Province patients when requested too. 


Training is provided to all members of the department on an annual basis by our Chief Training Officers and by other organizations, such as Fire ETC.. All firefighters are required to be NFPA 1001 qualified by the time they reach first class status (three years). Along with the Chief Training Officer we have approximately 15 members who are qualified to teach various Fire ETC. courses from Firefighter level up to and including Officer level. At the present time our members are also providing assistance in the training of other Volunteer Fire Departments within the Municipality.

Mutual Aid

Mutual aid agreement have been struck with the Industrial Fire Brigades at the Oil Sands Plants, Suncor,  SyncrudeAlbian Sands and CNRL.

Public Education

We provide programs to the schools, in the Fire Halls and special events. This is an expanding area to the public and will continue to grow as the need arises.


Our focus like most locals is to see most of our fund raising money stay in the community. Some of our charities we support are: Muscular Dystrophy Canada, The Dave Richard Memorial Lifeline Fund, Centre of Hope, The Food Bank and Canadian Cancer Research.

The Future

Like any organization today we are changing with the times and becoming more progressive in the services we provide. This means that there is always ways to improve our services, not only as a Union but as a department. In 2004 we opened out third manned Fire Station # 4 in Timberlea, Fire Station # 3 was also renovated in 2005. Our new Fire Station # 2 construction is set to begin the fall of 2009 with an opening in the spring of 2011. Over the last few years we have hired 60 new Fire Fighters, purchased three fire trucks, three ambulances, two rescue trucks, two quints (pump/ladder) trucks, a Haz-Mat unit and trailer and a new forestry rapid attack unit.