85 Mississauga firefighters are now self-isolating amid coronavirus outbreaks at four stations


Mississauga firefighters are sounding the alarm on the staffing shortage caused in part by multiple COVID-19 outbreaks among firefighters.

There are currently 85 Mississauga firefighters isolating themselves due to possible exposure to COVID-19 and 14 staff members have tested possible for the virus.

Speaking to CP24 on Thursday, Mississauga Firefighters Association president Chris Varcoe expressed concern about the pressure on the system.

“The impact of this is a significant staff shortage,” Varcoe said. “It’s a real challenge right now to have enough firefighters to properly staff fire trucks and keep residents safe and be able to respond in a timely manner.

He said combined with pre-existing factors, the situation is worrying. Varcoe pointed out that about 10% of the department’s fire trucks are out of service and a study several years ago said the fire department’s resources were not keeping pace with population growth.

“They are now moving quickly through the budget. This administration, this council, this mayor and this commissioner are working quickly to rectify this position, but decades of neglecting investments in the fire service have left us with very little time.

“And when numbers like that hit us, we’re jostling when there’s not a lot of room, not a lot of extra room in the margins to pull enough firefighters and bring trucks into the area. street.

Speaking to CP24 on Thursday, Mississauga Fire Department Deputy Chief of Operations Stéphane Malo said that while the service tries to contain the spread of the virus among its members, it continues to provide the level of service expected by residents.

“We are in good shape. In fact, despite the fact that we have a staff shortage due to COVID-19 – there is no doubt it is having an impact – but I can assure you that the safety of the public and of our firefighters is our number one priority. a, priority and has not been compromised in any way, form or form, ”said Malo.

He pointed out that four out of 21 stations are currently affected by outbreaks. He also noted that call volumes are down about 20 percent compared to the same period last year.

“I can assure you that tonight, five minutes ago, we were able to provide the service and that when someone calls 9-1-1 in Mississauga, they will receive the service they expected,” said Malo.

He said the service has implemented more extensive use of masks and other measures to try to curb the spread of the virus, but added that the outbreaks are compatible with the rampant community spread of the virus in the province.

The number of COVID-19 cases has skyrocketed in recent weeks, reaching an all-time high of 2,447 infections on Thursday.

Peel Region has been under a provincial lockdown for weeks to help curb the spread of the virus.


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