March 22, 2016 - 11:25 AM
NEW FIRE HALL COULD TAKE EIGHT YEARS, CHIEF WOULD LIKE TO SEE IT SOONER
KELOWNA - North Glenmore residents should see a refurbished fire fall with 12 new fire fighters by the end of 2017 and fire response times should start to drop across Kelowna as a whole.
That will be the most immediate result of the Kelowna Fire Department's 2030 strategic plan, presented to city councillors yesterday, March 21, by fire chief Jeff Carlisle, who described it as a 'big ask' requiring an annual average budget increase of $3.1 million for 14 years.
Expansion of services in North Glenmore has long been identified as a priority by the fire department and its preferred plan centred around a completely new fire station in North Glenmore with an additional company of 20 firefighters in place by 2020.
However, Carlisle offered some flexibility to council and they took it, opting to approve the plan in principle, but deferring a full thumbs up on a completion date for the new station until the impact on future city budgets can be fully measured.
As in interim, the department will rennovate the existing fire hall on Valley Road and begin the initial hiring of 12 professional firefighters, which Carlisle says should be in place by fall 2017.
North Glenmore and the area around UBC Okanagan and Kelowna Airport were confirmed by the department’s predictive modelling dynamic deployment system as underserved areas of the city with longer-than-average response times.
Bringing down its average response time for the whole city is one of the overarching goals of the strategic plan.
Response times for incidents inside the so-called permanent growth boundary — nine minutes, 31 seconds for 90 per cent of calls — do not meet the department’s internal goal of seven minutes, 40 seconds.
The fire department currently employs 96 career firefighters and 45 paid on-call firefighters spread out over seven fire stations, four career stations and three paid on-call stations.
The department maintains an effective response force of 16 firefighters at all times, considered the minimum effective response size for a single family residential house fire.
More on the Kelowna Fire Department.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016