Emergency response times overnight in Pitt Meadows have seen a dramatic five-minute drop since the fire department increased staffing to allow for 24/7 coverage.
Since opening the new fire hall, and having around-the-clock crews on duty beginning on June 5, there has been a dramatic reduction in nighttime response times – from an average of seven to nine minutes, to a two minutes and 29 seconds. On Sept. 12, the Pitt Meadows Fire and Rescue Service presented an operations update to city council.
“The remarkable decrease in response times during the night is nothing short of lifesaving,” said Mayor Nicole MacDonald. “Every second counts in an emergency. This change and our investment in enhancing fire services ensures that our citizens receive the swift assistance they deserve and access to the same emergency services whether day or night.”
The fire department shifted away from the reliance on paid-0n-call firefighters between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., and hired nine new career firefighters, bringing the number of career firefighters and chiefs to 20. Since then, the impact on nighttime response has been significant, and benefited a wide range of emergencies:
· Medical (29)
· Alarms (21)
· Assist (10)
· MVA (5)
· Brush Fire (4)
· Vehicle Fire (2)
· Structure Fire (2)
· Burning Complaint (7)
· Other (11)
“The move to 24/7 coverage came with its share of obstacles, including 50 per cent of our career workforce being new to their roles,” said deputy fire chief Stephane Drolet. “However, the dedication and commitment of our team members have been nothing short of extraordinary.”
To facilitate the transition to a 24/7 response model, significant staffing changes were implemented. In addition to the nine new career firefighters, four existing firefighters were promoted to career captains, and another four to acting officers.
The fire department is in the process of hiring a new chief, and the closing date for applications was Sunday, Sept. 17.
The department is still recruiting new paid-on-call firefighters. For more information, visit pittmeadows.ca/careers.