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October 27, 2017 9:52 pm

Policy Set for Volunteer Fire Fighting Service Level

Monday, July 25, 2016 @ 5:57 AM

Prince George, B.C.-  The  Regional District of Fraser fort George has  adopted a  policy which  outlines what  level of service   various   volunteer fighting departments  can offer.

The  policy will bring  Volunteer fire departments  in the  Regional District into compliance with the Fire Services Act which  requires local authorities to declare, in writing, the fire operations Service Levels for the fire departments for which they are responsible.

Currently, all Regional District fire/rescue agencies are classed  as providing a service level of Exterior Operations.  No agencies have met the training standards for Interior Operations service level.

On the surface,  the policy looks as though   a volunteer fire department  is only  allowed to attack a fire  from outside a structure.  But  Regional District Fire Services Coordinator Melanie Perrin says that is not necessarily the case “We are seeing a big shift in fire fighting tactics” says Perrin.  The  tactics see firefighters focusing on the exterior first  “knocking the fire down from the outside at first,  prior to doing an aggressive interior attack.  That’s born out of a priority   for safety concerns for  first responders”

While  all of the Volunteer Fire Departments in the Regional District are approved for “Exterior Operations”   fire fighters can  enter  a building  under certain circumstances “That is,  if a room has contents that are on fire or an item fire ( example would be a fire in a couch,  or  on a stove)  firefighters could still enter  under those circumstances and they could  still enter after the fire has received initial knock down and I guess, when I look at that in my experience in the fire service, we wouldn’t  be entering until the initial  knock down was conducted anyway, so  you’re probably  going to see a lot of business as usual.”

She says there are options to increasing  training  levels  to bring  volunteer  fire departments to a full “internal operations” level,   but  adds ”  There are a few factors we need to consider before going down that road.  There are training requirements and there’s also more pre-planning required.  So any  fire that’s more complex than a single family dwelling would require comprehensive pre planning and pre-plans.  It’s not unattainable but we want to be careful we don’t set our standards  beyond what we have achieved currently, otherwise we would  be in non-compliance.  Certainly if a department manages in the next two  months to change that service level we would be looking to update the policy and change any department that wants to move in that direction.   From a Regional District and regional coordination  stand point, we are bringing in training in the fall with regards to team leader training and  other courses  that are affiliated with the interior ops level so  if a  department wants to  change their service level, we  are going to give them every opportunity to  take courses  locally and in the Valley (Robson) as well to give them lots of local opportunities.”


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