Alberni Fire department adapts following review

Five out of six recommendations in the recent fire services report are being implemented, Port Alberni Fire Chief Tim Pley said.

Five out of six recommendations in the recent fire services report are being implemented, Port Alberni Fire Chief Tim Pley said.

Produced by Burnaby-based consultant Dugal Smith, the report examined the fire department’s operations and staffing levels.

The department is plowing ahead with the recommendations, Pley said.

Accelerated pre-fire plans for public buildings and enhanced reporting to council are underway. The first newly formatted report for council was in council’s agenda at their Monday meeting.

An update to the city’s aging fire bylaws is being carried out by Pley and the city clerk and should be completed by 2012, Pley said.

The department is mulling over charging for attending to false alarms but the issue isn’t cut and dried. “Building owners may not call us and we don’t want that,” Pley said.

The report also prompted the department to charge ICBC or its customers $2,000 per incident for highway rescue calls.

Two other recommendations are being considered.

The city bills ICBC or car owners for responding to accidents outside the city, but the department hasn’t been successful recouping funds from the corporation.

The city does receive money from the province however for responding to road rescues outside the city, but can’t receive money from them and ICBC simultaneously.

The provincial fire chiefs association is lobbying for the province and ICBC to co-fund a new program, Pley said.

The report called for an administrative assistant to be added to the department to relieve fire fighters of administrative duties. Such a position is common in other departments.

Council didn’t adopt the recommendation for the position when it accepted the report last spring.

They also didn’t completely shelve the recommendation, and have forwarded it for discussion during the 2012 financial plan process.

In another fire related matter, council voted to give the department $6,600 to restore the city’s 1928 fire engine.

The project is to prepare for the Port Alberni’s centennial celebration next year and is being underwritten with money from the city’s contingency fund.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com