New firefighting procedures in the works for Penticton's Main Street

Ongoing changes to the Penticton's Main Street through the revitalization project has resulted in the fire department developing new strategies to deal with possible fires during the crowded Saturday morning markets.

PENTICTON - The Penticton Fire Department is developing new tactics to fight fires in the crowded downtown core during Saturday public markets on Main Street.

Penticton Fire Chief Larry Watkinson says recent and ongoing revitalization of the main street is resulting in wider sidewalks and narrower streets, making fire truck access difficult during Saturday markets when vendors crowd the streets.

Watkinson says even before revitalization it was problematic accessing Main Street because of the numbers of people and vendor booths set up.

He says the fire department has been working with the Downtown Penticton Association with respect to the layout of the Saturday market as it relates to fire protection in the downtown area.

“We sat down and worked out a number of ideas, some of which didn’t work with the downtown association, or the merchants or vendors, so we went back to the drawing board,” Watkinson told Penticton city council earlier this week.

The fire department’s new fire plan will allow vendors to set up back to back outlets in the centre lane. He says the upgrades on Main Street add fire protection through hydrant systems. Staging areas will be set up on cross streets and fire crews will stretch hand lines from staging areas, fighting fires from hand lines with water pressure regulated at the trucks.

Watkinson says the strategy would provide the same level of protection as it would to have trucks closer to the scene, adding the new method would meet his expectations and the capacity of the department for firefighting during the Saturday market timeframe.

The fire department will be training and drilling the new procedure in the coming weeks.

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