Fire department turnout time improving

Port Alberni firefighters aiming to meet national standards between when the fire department is paged by 911 to rolling out.

The Port Alberni Fire Department are trying to improve their turnout time when responding to 911 calls after learning they are not meeting the national standards.

Fire chief Tim Pley told city council on Monday that he’s taking the initiative to meet the national standard.

Turnout time is the time interval that begins when the fire department is paged by 911 and ends when firefighters roll out.

“Very few fire departments share this,” Pley told council while discussing his department’s turnout time. “We are taking a fairly bold step.”

The National Fire Protection Association’s established standards for turnout times are 60 seconds, 90 per cent of the time for medical incidents and 80 seconds, 90 per cent of the time for fire and special operations.

Port Alberni fire department met those standards 58 per cent of the time for medical incidents and 38 per cent of the time for fire and special operations. The average was 58.7 seconds for medical incidents and 85.2 seconds for fire and special operations.

In the first seven months of 2013, the local fire department met the 60 seconds target for medical incidents 81 per cent of the time, and met the 80 seconds for fire incidents 86 per cent of the time.

“We still have a little bit of room to go,” Pley said. “I hope at the end of the year we are hitting 90 per cent of the time.”

Pley added that the national standards are hard to meet for his firefighters because Port Alberni is served by only one firehall and the city is quite spread out. Turnout time is also affected if firefighters are already out on a call.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com