The highly anticipated fire plan article was presented at a regular Governance and priorities Committee meeting which overviewed the general plan of Fire and Rescue in the coming year.
In a presentation delivered to Council and Administration by Director of Protective and Community Services Albert Headrick during a G.P.C meeting on Tuesday, February 19th, Headrick produced an 83-slide presentation on the fire master plan, accompanied by Fire Chief Steve Munshaw.
“One thing about a fire master plan is that you have to look at the community in general,” said Headrick. “You have to know what the history of the community is, where it originated from and how you operated it in the past.”
In 2012, Dave Mitchell and Associates, a company based out of British Columbia that offers consulting services for all aspects of fire department operations analyzed Crowsnest Pass and made three recommendations.
The first recommendation is that a minimum of three fire stations be utilized, so that the response area covered by the Crowsnest Pass Fire and Rescue is linear and to satisfy the requirements for a timely response.
The second recommendation made was that the current model with four stations could be retained. One of the stations (Station 22) Hillcrest’s fire station, raises “serious concern,” regard ingto remediation for systemic and business continuity concerns.
The final recommendation made was that the Municipality of the Crowsnest Pass should evaluate its options and consider consolidating Station 22 and 23, Blairmore’s fire station as the call volume for Station 22 and 23 is considerably lower than Station 24 or 25 and there does not appear to be any trend that indicates this will increase.
One location for a consolidated fire station would be near the intersection of Highway 3 and 213th Street and 9th Avenue, however his would require the procurement of property and construction of a replacement fire station.
The second option would be to consolidate Station 22 with Station 23 and its current location as it has good access to the road network, is of newer construction and would provide the recommended eight-kilometer coverage for properties in Bellevue and Hillcrest.
During the presentation, Headrick explained that an eight-kilometer polygon system was implanted, usually used in cities, where a fire station responds to any calls within that eight-kilometer vicinity. There are three eight-kilometer polygons, one in Blairmore, one in Coleman and one in Bellevue. It resulted from the polygon results that a fire hall in Hillcrest was not needed.
In a Ratepayers Meeting held on Wednesday, February 20th, President of the Ratepayers Association, Bill Kovach, said that the Hillcrest Fire hall is empty of all its gear. “It sure seems funny that the entire brigade in Hillcrest had gear that wasn’t up to standard and similar with Coleman,” said Kovach. ‘That’s something of 60 units of bunker gear that would cost somewhere in the vicinity of 2400 dollars to replace each.
The 2013 budget for Fire and Rescue was also presented at the meeting. The total operating budget for Fire and Rescue in 2013, including debenture payments, were calculated at $83,756 to $520,993.
Implementations that will be put into place, if not already in place are: a training officer, a new radio system, a new dispatch service and a single budget for all departments, consistent response protocols, public education, ICS training, an accountability system, testing and inspection service, and NRPA 1001 training and Hazmat training. In addition, Headrick mentioned that a collaboration of all departments working together is in the works, and a consolidation of the rescue departments with fire departments.