The Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal (SIM) is responsible for protecting the entire Island of Montréal, which spans an area of 500 km2 and includes close to 400,000 residential, commercial, industrial and institutional buildings. The Island of Montréal is home to close to 1,900,000 inhabitants from some 100 cultural communities. Montréal also has an extensive underground network including 30 km of corridors, passageways and shopping malls. The city is surrounded by water, and its urban landscape includes a handful of agricultural zones. Its busy downtown core features hundreds of highrise buildings.
Montréal's port connects it to more than 200 port cities around the world, while Montréal Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport and the city's rail network and highway system provide access to all regions of North America. The metropolis is also home to thriving industries, and it has several industrial parks and railway classification yards. By virtue of its location far from the ocean, Montréal has a continental climate marked by sudden fluctuations in temperature, with extremes ranging from 30°C at the height of summer to -30°C during winter. The four seasons serve to shape the lifestyle and behaviour of the city's citizens: home heating and snow clearing operations on city streets are but a few examples.
Given all these specificities, the SIM's many teams allow it to adequately meet current needs across its territory. In addition to the work carried out in the fire department's 66 fire stations, firefighting staff have the opportinuty to fulfil a broad spectrum of duties. Here is an overview of these duties.
In addition to fighting fires, the SIM conducts various types of specialized responses requiring solid expertise along with training and equipment specially adapted to specific response situations:
- Responses involving hazardous materials (i.e., the presence of toxic substances);
- Technical rescue (rescue in confined spaces or following a structural collapse, excavation and trench rescue);
- High-angle rescue (rescue of persons trapped in elevated or underground spaces using a rope system);
- Water and ice rescue (rescue operations conducted with any person in distress on a body of water).
Centre de sécurité civile (CSC)
CPC staff work to develop a co-operation process intended to foster greater preparedness across the agglomeration of Montréal when it comes to potential disasters and crisis response (major industrial accidents, extreme heat, flooding, epidemics and pandemics, earthquakes, etc.).
Material resources division
The Material resources division (DRM) includes four departments:
- The rolling stock department has a mission to ensure the good condition and availability of fire department vehicles;
- The workshop department includes nine workshops: self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), leather, electricity and communication, forge, hydraulics, joinery, inventory of combat armature and design of firefighting vehicles, piping, receipt and delivery;
- The procurement department purchases armement de combat, firefighting vehicles and backup vehicles. It oversees the proper management of purchases of articles of uniform as well as equipment maintenance and repairs;
- The research and development department ensures follow-up related to technical advances and problems concerning material resources for all division activities.
Department charged with the search for causes and circumstances surrounding fires
This department determines the origin, probable causes and circumstances surrounding all major fires on the Island of Montréal, as well as minor fires requiring more advanced expertise.
Training Centre staff are responsible for the training and continuing professional development of firefighters in Montréal. They also oversee the certification of members of specialized teams and drivers/operators.
Public awareness department
This department develops educational tools and programs intended to promote public awareness, primarily among schoolchildren, of the importance of adopting safe behaviours in order to prevent fires (educational conferences, educational programs for preschools and schools, special programs, various fire safety training courses, educational fire simulator tours in parks and at special events, etc.).
The operational planning team is responsible for vehicle routing strategies and for managing several databases intended to help firefighters with decision-making during responses.
Special events and operational measures department
Each year, the metropolis plays host to a multitude of events that pose challenges for emergency first responders. Staff in this department ensure that on-site installations are safe and that firefighters are able to respond within the sector at all times, within the prescribed time period.
Occupational health and safety division
This team ensures the proper application of and compliance with occupational health and safety measures and standards. Its duties include responding on-site in order to ensure safe behaviours and indexing dangerous buildings and buildings with special hazards. In the event of a work accident, the team leads the inquiry, adopts the appropriate corrective measures and ensures follow-up with staff.
Service centre – strategic and operational planning
Its staff support the fire department's various administrative and operational units by promoting best management practices while making quality technological resources available to the units in order to ensure the optimal performance of their duties.