Staff shortage: firefighters attend emergency calls instead of police

Staff shortage: firefighters attend emergency calls instead of police, Iryna Chyrkova

In Winnipeg, there has been a significant shortage of police staff.

Therefore, firefighters have to take over their functions in critical situations. The union that represents Winnipeg firefighters is worried about the situation.

Recently, firefighters arrived at the hotel instead of the police, when they received a call saying that a drunk person does not want to leave the building.

When they arrived and saw the situation, the firefighters realized that the presence of the police was necessary. The police arrived only two hours later. When the officers arrived, the drunk man took out a gun.

The president of UFFW Alex Forrest said that these firefighters could seriously suffer or even die.

"It is clearly an incident that required police presence, not the presence of unarmed firefighters from the outset," he added.

The police said that the gun was a big surprise for everyone. The man probably fell asleep or lost consciousness, so the staff of the hotel called fire paramedics. Arriving at the hotel, they saw that a man should be detained due to severe intoxication.

As WPS Deputy Chief Gord Perrier said fire paramedics were not at risk when they arrived at the hotel. The man also added that firefighters know that they need to leave any crime scene if the situation gets out of control and requires immediate police intervention.

Christian Schmidt, deputy chief of operations and communications for WFPS, explained that, unfortunately, not always information which dispatchers own corresponds to reality. Therefore, such situations occur periodically.

"These are dangerous calls. We need to know why we are being sent to these calls now because we are not prepared. We are not police officers. We're firefighters and we aren't equipped to deal many of these calls we're going to," Forrest said later.

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