Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service’s operating budget is on the rise again.
It will see a 6.6 per cent increase or $11.8 million to $190 million. About 86 per cent of that is going toward salaries a committee of city councillors was told Monday afternoon.
“Because our dependency is so significant on staffing that is logically where the greatest impact is seen in those increase,” Fire and Paramedic Services Chief John Lane told a city committee Monday afternoon.
WFPS is also adding 17 new paramedic positions to its Emergency Paramedics In The Community (EPIC) program which provides medical assistance on site and deters transportation to the hospital.
“It’s currently being funded as a pilot program with just one paramedic 12 hours a day, we see a very clear need to expand that program to cover much more of the city and to cover many more hours a day,” Lane said.
“This likely will involve one during the night and two or three during the day and evening shifts.”
Another 7 new paramedic positions will be created to work at the Main Street Project to be payed for by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
The other issue at hand is the service’s aging equipment. Lane says several apparatuses need to be replaced.
“We have a number of apparatuses that are well beyond their 20 year life span, it’s become an absolute necessity to replace those,” Lane told the committee.
Council will vote on the 2016 operating budget later this week.