Oak Bay explores the future of mutual fire aid

Oak Bay's fire service to review 35-year-old agreement

Oak Bay and its fire service are open to “creating efficiencies,” says Mayor Nils Jensen.

Municipal staff in the four-core will have a look at how fire departments service individual communities, and share their skills and staff with a review of the mutual aid agreement in place.

Many things have changed in the fire service, Fire Chief Dave Cockle said, addressing council Oct. 13, noting there are more collaborative and specialized approaches.

“There is an opportunity here for the district to look at, not so much mutual aid, but at a core service area agreement,” Cockle said. “This is about integrating our services.”

Greater Victoria fire departments have always had mutual aid agreements, formal or informal, since inception.

The last review of the current formal agreement was endorsed by the councils of the City of Victoria, Township of Esquimalt, District of Saanich and District of Oak Bay Dec. 18, 1980.

The current wording says that if one department has committed all its firefighting resources, a neighbouring municipality would provide standby fire protection  provided that department wasn’t already engaged in fighting a fire or other emergency.

Further, local fire chiefs may also make arrangements among themselves “for the most efficient deployment of their forces and for the division of their fire protection services in the event of a fire.”

While the language of the 35-year-old agreement allows chiefs the latitude to adapt to fire fighting standards and regulations without having to bring the document back to their respective councils for continual approval and updates, significant changes to the requirements of fire fighting regulations have occurred over time.

“The intent of the current agreement is to provide fire suppression assistance to the neighbouring municipalities when they are fully committed to a fire in their district, provided the neighbouring department is not already tied up. This includes providing assistance with a working fire at no cost or liability to the neighbouring community. The existing mutual aid agreement has worked very well in the community to provide assistance to municipal fire departments to quickly mitigate fire emergencies in their districts,” Cockle wrote in a report to council.

“Given the changes to fire fighting standards and regulations, consideration should be given to updating the current agreement considering all factors and opportunities to provide the most efficient and effective fire fighting services in the core municipalities.”

Council tasked staff to work with their counterparts in neighbouring communities to develop a project Charter and Terms of Reference to develop a new core Fire Services Agreement between The District of Saanich, The Township of Esquimalt, The City of Victoria and the District of Oak Bay.

“This is the first step in what will probably be a year-long project,” Jensen said.

“I suspect the actual discussions and negotiating will not come until early in the next year.”

 

 

 

Just Posted

Cycslists were all smiles during ninth Tour de Victoria

More than 2,100 cyclists participated

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after Const. Beckett’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Police investigating incident in Saanich neighbourhood

Neighbours tell Black Press Media that a body has been found, but police remain tight-lipped.

Panels proliferate in Victoria’s Commercial Alley Art Gallery

City artist Fern Long’s themed works will be on display through August 2020

Colwood man takes on Ride to Conquer Cancer for 11th year in a row

Team Finn has raised almost $3 million for BC Cancer Foundation

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Most Read