With the latest fire report to the City of Estevan showing that the fire department brought in $4,470 in revenue in January and February combined, Estevan fire chief Dale Feser explained what contributes to these bottom line numbers.
Feser clarified why the fire department receives money for attending motor vehicle accidents, which accounted for most of the revenue.
"When we respond to a motor vehicle collision, especially outside the city limits there, we are actually paid by SGI as an auto fund to respond to these particular types of collisions," Feser said. Any time that a vehicle fire or extrication is required, or scene control, debris clean up, anything of that nature is paid for by SGI."
Feser added that this includes collisions inside city limits involving drivers from out of province or the United States.
He clarified that the false alarm category on the report should actually be fire alarms instead, as it often includes domestic smoke alarms in houses or commercial alarms in buildings. These calls contributed to the fire department's expenses, as there were 10 in January, totaling over two thousand dollars.
"If you're cooking supper, or making breakfast, you're burning toast, or something accidently got away from you, generated some smoke, set off the system, but there's no real emergency occurring, the monitoring agency will contact you first, and then the fire department will typically not be dispatched at that time," Feser said.
"However if there's nobody home, the secondary point of contact will always be the fire department, so that way we can get there and investigate to ensure that there's no emergency occurring."
He said people can takes steps to avoid having the fire department called unnecessarily.
"Anybody who may be in the home needs to be aware of their passwords and passcodes for the system, and always when the monitoring agency is calling, please answer the call," Feser said.
Still, he added that 10 in a month is pretty typical.
He also said nearly five thousand dollars in revenue over two months is not the norm.
"The fire department isn't really a revenue generating entity within the city, or any city for that matter," Feser said. "It's just trying to show transparency for what's outgoing and what's incoming there as far as wages and what not. It's always a bonus if we can show some figures in the black but typically if we're breaking even we're doing really really well."
Feser said city council reallocates the funds brought in by the fire department.