Williams Lake firefighters respond to more MVIs than in 2010

Williams Lake city council received a service delivery review of its fire department.

Williams Lake city council received a service delivery review of its fire department.

The review is the first of an ongoing initiative by the city to critically examine its departments.

Broken down into sections, the report, presented to council members last week, critically looks at emergency response, operational needs, inspections, emergency planning, and administration, and makes a number of recommendations.

While the number of incidents and personnel hours has remained consistent over the past five years, due to a 2009 change in the way types of calls are dispatched, overall personnel hours were reduced in 2010 and 2011.

However, personnel hours in assisting BC Ambulance Services and motor vehicle incidents have more than doubled in 2010 and 2011.

As a result, the review points out that the fire department should consult with the RCMP and BCAS on the requirement for the fire department to respond to motor vehicle incidents and implement a group page system for such incidents to reduce the number of members responding to MVI pages.

Under operational needs there are recommendations to provide hose testing services to the Cariboo Regional District fire departments for a fee, to compare rates of other fire departments for air bottle filling, offer training programs for a fee, and to possibly develop a position for equipment maintenance and assist with inspections.

Some councillors voiced concern that by receiving the report they would be endorsing the recommendations in the report.

After the discussion, however, council passed a motion to receive the report with a clarification by receiving the report, council was not giving its acceptance for an increase in service levels.

Annually the fire department conducts on average 250 to 300 inspections; however, that number should be closer to 800 inspections per year.

Times for inspections run between 15 and 20 minutes to an hour or more, depending on the building and the number of questions the building manager might have.

Coun. Sue Zacharias described the report as interesting and encouraged members of the public to read the report.

“There will be other departments that will undergo service delivery reviews. It’s a good thing because it’s very interesting and really gives you an idea of the scope of what a department does,” Zacharias said.

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