Looking at our first responder program

as the mayor sees it with District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys - Looking at our first responder program

The topic of first responders came up during the Electoral Area Directors Forum this week. One of the speakers was Becky Denlinger, Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. Ms. Denlinger is also the Fire Commissioner for B.C. and spoke briefly around call volumes for fire departments.

During the discussion period it came out that there are many different models across B.C. as to how first responder calls are handled.

In a department were the members are paid, the trend is that the first responder calls are becoming the majority of the work. The fire fighters are there being paid and the current idea is that they need to be busy doing something, so they are dispatched on most every accident and ambulance call.

While in some respects this does justify having the current number of fire fighters on the payroll, it also drives the cost of the fire department up. In communities were the taxpaying public are already being asked to take on more and more costs,  this becomes a very real issue at budget time.

In small communities were the fire department is manned by volunteers, the dispatch procedures are not consistent from area to area.

We were told in some communities the dispatch people refused to call the first responders even though they were the logical choice due to the length of time it would take for an ambulance to come.

In other areas the first responders were called for everything and the crews were overloaded. In both cases this is not a good situation.

We were also told that most small communities had difficulties around financing any sort of first responder program and as a result had not done so, even though there was a definite need.

In others, there is a fear that by putting a first responder program in place the community might lose the ambulance service that currently serves the area. This is not true, as the first responders are not permitted to transport the people that they are helping, so the ambulance service is of course still required.

A person that I had spoken to last year on the topic of first responders said that I was against the idea. I explained that this was not true. I feel that there is a definite need for the program, but I was against local tax payers being forced to pay for the service.

The province has the responsibility to provide health care, not local government. If there was to be a first responder program in an area, then funding should be sourced in a different manner than property taxation.

This would be done at least until the system can be changed and the program paid for from the appropriate revenue source.

Back when Barriere decided to have a local volunteer Fire Department, a group of dedicated individuals banded together to raise the funds required to buy the proper equipment and train volunteers to do fire fighting.

Today the Barriere Volunteer Fire Department is funded through local and regional property taxation and provides service to quite a large area.

If it was not in place during the fires of 2003, I fear that we would have lost much of the community.

Some of our local volunteer fire fighters have taken the appropriate training to provide first responder services here in Barriere.

What remains to be done now is to find a way to properly equip and fund this service so that they can do what is needed.

I ask that everyone please remember that this will not cause Barriere to lose our local ambulance, as the first responders cannot transport patients.

Budget discussions are being held all across B.C. and there are many different levels of proposed increases being put forth.

To be honest, I have yet to find a community that is holding the line on property taxes.

There have been increases in the cost of fuel, electricity and wages all across the province and any recently incorporated municipality or town is facing paying for their roads and other infrastructure costs that can be quite staggering.

Hard decisions need to be made here in Barriere to keep taxes in line.

 

Just Posted

If you have N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee do not drink it

Interior Health advises N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill Coffee has been recalled

Ground breaks on new hotel project

The Best Western will add 72 new rooms for visitors

An armload of cute!

Spring is here and so are the animals

Spring has arrived!

The first day of Spring arrived today, Wednesday, Mar. 20, at 2:58 p.m.

Library fun for all ages

The Thompson Nicola Regional District Library in Barriere is offering a number… Continue reading

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Most Read