Crowding, aging, affecting reaction times in Peachland, BC’s fire hall: fire chief IG News

IG news Update,

Within just two weeks, Peachland, B.C., residents will be able to vote on whether they want to borrow up to $17.5 million to build a new Protective Services and pay a tax increase.

The current fire hall is more than 60 years old, and Peachland Fire Chief Dennis Craig says the department has outgrown the building.

The crew has to wade through tight spaces while gearing up for the call. There’s no room in the garage for crew members to walk around trucks or open engine doors all the way.

During the day, the fire chief and deputy chief as well as an administrative emergency service clerk are in the hall with a complement of 40 paid firefighters.

“It has well exceeded its useful service life. It was never really built as a fire hall, it was intended as a park or public works building. There is no room for expansion And the building hasn’t really been designed to fit our needs,” Craig said.

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“The floor area for firefighters to get dressed, change, answer calls — it’s very, very tight and very crowded.”

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He said the current hall lacks space for the upgrades needed to help keep crew members safe.

“We are aware of all the potential diseases that firefighters face going forward. One of them is cancer and WorkSafe recognizes that cancer is a potential disease,” Craig said.

“At present we do not have any decontamination area for the fire hall. When our members come back from a structure fire and they have carcinogens on their clothes and their bodies, we don’t have shower facilities. ,

Meanwhile, the project proposes relocating the fire hall to an already District-owned property at the corner of San Clemente Avenue and 13th Street away from the city core.

“Our community is growing, and response time is critical,” Craig said.

“We are currently located downtown; we are sandwiched between two playgrounds at either end of us and we are paid a fully on-call fire department.”

The new facility will have a fire department and may include other community safety services.

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“We are consulting with BC Ambulance. They are across the street from us in a very dilapidated building,” said Craig.

“We are also looking at moving BC Ambulance inside the fire hall, which would provide some source of offsetting the cost through a lease agreement.”

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He further added that the project also includes classroom planning for training. And when the space is not in use, community groups will have the opportunity to use the room.

According to Craig, the project has been in the works for several years and during the process, an advisory committee made up of nine residents was formed to provide input.

The members came from different backgrounds. Some have fire hall experience, architectural experience or project management experience.

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“The city council and the fire chief decided it would be wise to have a select committee,” said Gary Bell, chairman of the Peachland Firehall Advisory Committee.

“The role of the committee was certainly to approach all the specifics of a new fire hall and provide some investigation and some due diligence to determine if the referendum is to go ahead and go ahead later in the year.” Where we are today, due diligence will be done.”

But the proposed project comes with a hefty price tag and a roughly $125 tax increase for Peachland residents.

“I know the community is concerned about the additional costs,” Bell said.

“I believe that, given the value of the project, given the fact that lawyers and staff are super responsible for being able to reduce those costs by $125 a year. And I Seems to be the pragmatic approach and reason why it should go ahead.”

Residents will be able to vote in the civic polls to be held on October 15 as well as the referendum.

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