Prince Albert votes to raise fire dept. response time
This week, the City of Prince Albert voted to raise the response time of its local fire department. It all boils down to a growing city and limited resources.
Depending upon where they're called to, the fire department is facing some challenges. According Lee Karpluk, the fire chief, with only one fire hall, they simply can't meet the industry standard for response time.
"What we're trying to do is follow industry best practice, and that's six minutes, 20 seconds right now, and we can't do it. We can only meet that response time about 43 per cent of the time"
The three components of the National Fire Protection Agency's response standard are:
-call processing time of 60 seconds
-turn out time of 80 seconds
-and a travel time of 240 seconds, for a combined total of six minutes, 20 seconds.
But according to Karpluk, while Prince Albert's fire department meets the industry standards for processing and turnout time, travel time to certain parts of the city can take as long as 417 seconds, almost three full minutes more than the industry standard.
According to Lee Atkinson, a city councillor, it was thought that raising the limits would reduce immediate liability issues for the city. "I think the idea was to say that we will reach everywhere in nine minutes and 30 seconds to be responsible, and acknowledge our limitations"
CTV spoke to several lawyers, who said that because the six minute and 20 second standard is just a guideline, the city would be okay legally to raise that number. But that begs the question of what exactly could happen to a structure fire in that three minute difference?
"There's a lot that could happen. We may not be able to go into the structure; we may have to fight it from the outside, which is not what we want. Obviously, three and a half minutes is a long time. It's not good," says Karpluk.
In his report that was brought to city council on Monday, Karpluk recommended that the city develop a plan to build a second fire hall by 2020. Atkinson says that's something the city needs to strongly look into.
"I think we need to put plans in place about how we are going to fund a second fire hall. We've talked about it for ten years...but we haven't put one dollar towards it"