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February 5, 2002
Funding recommended for 55 new firefighters
  
The City of Toronto's Budget Advisory Committee yesterday recommended that City
Council approve $1.6 million for Toronto Fire Services in 2002 to hire 55
additional firefighters. City Council will review the recommendation in March,
as part of its 2002 budget process.

"I'm thrilled that the Budget Advisory Committee feels as strongly about public
safety as I do," said Mayor Mel Lastman. "Toronto is one of the safest cities
in the world and it's absolutely critical that we keep it that way."

"The Fire Chief and Commissioner of Works and Emergency Services have done a
great job responding to my request to find savings within the Fire Department's
budget to offset the additional costs required to hire the much needed 55
firefighters," said Councillor David Shiner, Chair of the Budget Advisory
Committee. "The Budget Advisory Committee is able to make this recommendation a
prudent financial priority to ensure that the City remains safe and secure."

The demand for Toronto Fire Services has grown significantly in the past decade
and since the events of September 11, 2001.

"Toronto Fire Services responds to a variety of public safety risks that are
potentially much more destructive than structure fires. These include hazardous
material spills, confined space rescue, and emergency planning related to
potential acts of terrorism," said Alan Speed, Toronto's Fire Chief. "Our
commitment to excellence is driven by our desire to ensure that Toronto has a
competent team that can respond to a wide range of natural or human-cause
emergencies."

"The recommendation is a triumph for our City's safety and security. Toronto's
firefighters are so important in protecting the lives of Toronto residents and
preserving businesses and property," said Councillor Brad Duguid, Chair of the
City's Community Services Committee. "By enhancing fire services, Toronto will
be better prepared to address emergencies."

If City Council approves the additional funding, 30 firefighters will begin
training on April 29 and 25 firefighters will begin on August 19. Toronto Fire
Services currently has 2,740 firefighters and 128 fire trucks placed in 80
stations to provide fire protection 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


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