Local fire departments team up in times of need

Municipal fire services don't just handle local emergencies but are also summoned by the province in times of need.

A Mutual Emergency Aid Agreement between all fire departments in the Central Okanagan Regional District ensures firefighting resources can be shared across boundaries. The agreement signed by Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lake Country, Regional District and Peachland fire departments is up for another five year renewal and will go before Kelowna city councillors today.

Part of the agreement tracks the expenses of deploying resources, firefighting equipment and personnel according to a 2011 summary of reimbursement rates.

When deployed by the province, members of the volunteer fire department are paid their regular wage or a minimum of $34 per hour

Senior personnel, including the deputy regional coordinator, incident commander, and OFC liaison officer will be paid a minimum of $56 per hour.

The rates are decided by an interagency working group representing the Union of B.C. Municipalities, the Fire Chief's Association of B.C. and the Province of B.C.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at jwhittet@infotelnews.ca or call (250)718-0428.

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