Pitt Meadows council recognized firefighters for a busy year so far, last week.
Pitt Meadows Fire Rescue Service has responded to a total of 243 calls for service, including 38 fire-related incidents, 14 of which were considered major fires, since Jan. 1.
That is up by 61 calls compared to this same period last year, when there were 182 calls, including 11 fire-related incidents (two major fires).
Fire department service levels were increased this year to include chest pains, with the hiring of two more full-time firefighters. So far, crews have responded to 23 chest pain-related calls from residents.
“Attending these emergency calls has led to positive improvements to public safety for the community,” said a press release from the city.
The city presented badges to four Pitt Meadows Fire and Rescue Services chiefs – Chief Mike Larsson, Deputy Chiefs Brad Perrie and Dave Biggin, and paid-on-call volunteer assistant chief Dave Saddler.
“On behalf of council and a grateful community, I would like to congratulate our new and long serving fire chiefs and thank our dedicated and hardworking Pitt Meadows firefighters including our paid-on-call volunteers,” said Mayor Bill Dingwall.
“Public safety remains a top priority for council and we appreciate your invaluable service to our community especially over the last few months in responding to an increase in calls including major fires.”
After assuming his new role as fire chief in early March, Mike Larsson has restructured his department’s leadership team to better meet the needs of the growing and increasingly busy fire hall. The department added one paid-on-call volunteer chief.
After a provincewide search, Biggin was recently hired as the new deputy chief of training and operations. This position replaced the vacancy left by Larsson in his previous role.
Biggin was a Pitt Meadows volunteer paid-on-call member for 10 years before leaving to join the City of North Vancouver. His history with PMFRS combined with his extensive education and experience in the areas of training, fire prevention, incident command, emergency management and fire suppression, make him a great asset to the department, said the release.
Brad Perrie was recently appointed from assistant fire chief to the role of deputy fire chief of prevention. He has served 29 years in the department, including 15 years as a full-time fire chief.
Saddler, who has 32 years of service as a paid-on-call volunteer, was recently assigned to paid-on-call volunteer assistant chief to provide leadership to the 36 paid-on call volunteer firefighters with the department.