Firefighters Struggle With Gun-Wielding Person During Recent Call
February 27, 2019
To: All Members of Local 867
Statement from Alex Forrest, President United Firefighters of Winnipeg
RE: Firefighters struggle with gun-wielding person during recent call.
Members of UFFW 867 are being sent to emergency calls that are not fire or EMS emergencies but Police matters. It appears that this is due to an inadequate number of police officers available to respond.
In a recent example of this, a two-person fire crew was dispatched to a downtown Winnipeg hotel where a patron was refusing to leave the bar after having been kicked out several times that day. The caller confirmed that the individual had no medical issues, yet a fire apparatus was dispatched.
Upon arrival, the firefighters confirmed that the individual was intoxicated and as such they requested and waited for police for over two hours until two Cadets finally arrived. During an ensuing struggle with the cadets, in which the firefighters were required to assist, the individual produced a firearm which he thankfully was prevented from discharging before being brought under control.
These firefighters could well have been injured or killed in this incident, and it is clearly an incident that required police presence, not the presence of unarmed firefighters from the outset.
There are other examples of this kind of situation occurring,putting firefighters in very dangerous situations.
On behalf of its members, UFFW 867 has requested meetings with Christian Schmidt (WFPS Operations Deputy) and the Police Chief to discuss these concerns. Thus far, no meetings have taken place.
UFFW 867 is concerned that its members, untrained and unequipped to deal with police matters, must not be put in harms way as a result of current dispatch protocol.
Again we request an immediate meeting with the police chief.