A few weeks after launching a plan to hire 40 more firefighters over four years, Langley Township council has increased that number to 44.
Councillor Tim Baillie, the former firefighter who put forward the plan for the expansion in November, noted that since then he’d spoken to outgoing Langley Township Fire Chief Stephen Gamble.
Gamble noted that based on the number of crews the new plan hoped to create, there would still be a need for a few extra members to fill in when firefighters were sick, on holiday or leave, or away for other reasons.
“I agreed with Chief Gamble, and I want to move this to 44, 11 a year,” said Baillie.
Coun. Kim Richter asked about the cost of the increase in the firefighting crews.
According to Township administrator Mark Bakken, each firefighter costs approximately $100,000 a year to the Township.
So the change from 40 to 44 new hires over four years would mean a change from a cost of a further $1 million per year, to about $1.1 million, for each of the next four years.
Baillie’s amendment to his original proposal was carried by the council, with only Richter opposed.
Township firefighters have been asking for staff increases since last year, when their union spoke to council about a concern that there were often not enough members at work in the full-time fire halls to respond with four firefighters to a truck.
When responding to a fire, a crew of four is considered the minimum safe number to begin attacking a fire.