LETTER: Solution needed to fire dispatch

So Saanich appears to have killed the goose of fire dispatch revenue? Not wise. Definitely need to stop subsidizing others, though I’d want to see the cost calculations given high fixed costs that do not change with level of revenue.

As for the View Royal mayor’s point about remote dispatch, I’d be far more comfortable with nearby because of risk of communication lines being interrupted by an earthquake. Or do Campbell River and Fort St. John communicate via expensive satellite communication, itself subject to failure?

I continue to favour two local dispatch centres, one in Saanich and one on the West Shore, for redundancy. Costly but when up time is critical isn’t redundancy worthwhile? Computing facilities often arrange redundancy. For example, a building near Toronto airport is almost empty of people because it is a ‘hot spare’ for several large computing operations – ready for them to switch their computing to if their own centre has a major problem. Years ago a business in Montreal had its computers rained on by water applied to a fire on a floor above it, so employees took the tapes off of the drives, went to the street and hailed a taxi to the airport, and flew to Boston where a compatible computing centre could help them.

Such has to be properly evaluated, because reliability is very important, expensive to do, but vital when emergency services are needed the most.

Regarding a letter writer complaining about several fire department vehicles being dispatched to the scene of a truck hitting a house, he needs to be questioned as to what the first callers told the operator, and reminded of the drunk who almost ran over people sleeping in the basement suite he crashed into – plus reminded of a relatively recent case in which the offending vehicle could not be safely removed until structure was inspected. A truck smashing into a house could necessitate a substantial rescue operation due to injuries and building collapse, fortunately not in the recent case but closer in the other cases. And there’s the recent crash into Cobble Hill community hall, by a vehicle which caught fire. Best to roll equipment and turn it back if not needed, than to be short on the scene.

Keith Sketchley

Saanich

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