The regional district Protective Services Committee listened to Emergency Services Coordinator Mark Woods explain RDOS policy on October 18.
A request by Area “D” Director Tom Siddon at the previous regional district director’s meeting to have the regional district’s policy regarding its fire departments response to out of service area incidents was explained by Woods. The matter became a source of concern after the recent Peachland fire, during which there was a delay in response to the original call because it was not in the local fire department’s service area. Siddon wanted to know how flexible the RDOS policy regarding response to out of service area incidents was.
Woods explained to the committee that the regional district policy had been developed in 1997.
“Essentially, what it does, is that it allows emergency responders, specifically the fire chief or his designate the opportunity to go outside his boundary under very specific circumstances, and that would be whether they have approval from the provincial government, that would be emergency management or PEP, or through the forestry branch. We see that at major events such as wildfires. hazardous spills and such.
So there is a structure in place that allows that to occur.
I happen to be looking at that policy right now and will provide the board with some options for future consideration. This is a fairly limited policy, it hasn’t been updated since 1997, so it needs to be updated anyway.”
“Wasn’t there an issue with the Keremeos fire department operating out of their jurisdiction, and wasn’t action taken against one of their personnel as a result?” asked Committee Chair Gary Litke, to which Keremeos Director Manfred Bauer suggested it was an ongoing issue. (The firefighter in question has taken the matter to court, where the case has yet to be ruled upon).
“No, that matter was settled with a termination,” Chief Administrative Officer Bill Newell answered, noting further that firefighters responding to an out of jurisdiction incident would not be covered by Worksafe without a task number provided by provincial authorities.