Saanich fire Chief Mike Burgess

Fire chiefs pitch Saanich for regional dispatch

Fire chiefs from View Royal and Colwood are urging other municipalities to follow their lead to switch to Saanich fire dispatch.

Fire chiefs from View Royal and Colwood are so impressed by the quality of service they’re receiving from the Saanich Fire dispatch centre, they’re urging other municipalities to follow their lead.

On Tuesday, View Royal fire Chief Paul Hurst and Colwood fire Chief Russ Cameron called for Saanich to be at the centre of an amalgamated dispatch centre, following the first week of a five-year contract that sees both West Shore municipalities serviced by Saanich dispatchers.

“I’m a full supporter of one regional fire dispatch for this region,” Cameron said at a press conference Tuesday alongside Hurst and Saanich fire Chief Mike Burgess.

The Colwood chief urged other municipalities to seriously look at acquiring the services of Saanich’s dispatch centre.

Saanich already answers fire calls from residents in Saanich, Oak Bay, Esquimalt, North Saanich, Central Saanich and Sidney, and on May 23 began serving View Royal and Colwood.

Colwood and View Royal issued requests for proposals last fall to explore breaking off from the Langford dispatch centre. Langford dispatches for a number of small communities in the south Island while Victoria and CFB Esquimalt have their own fire dispatch.

“So far things have gone very well,” Hurst said of the recent switch. “We’re receiving a top-tier service from Saanich.”

The pair said Saanich’s state-of-the-art dispatch centre, built in 2008, ensures their needs are met, including a standardized method of collecting data and statistics, and safety redundancies, in the event of data or connectivity loss.

“We’re able to track, with fires, were there smoke alarms in the building or not? Where they able to escape? Why not? … Is there a hole somewhere in the service?” Hurst said, referring to the Saanich dispatch centre’s data collection abilities.

“We can look at the statistics and focus our efforts on the initiatives that need focus. Councils can make educated decisions in investing money in the budget (to particular initiatives).”

Burgess credits Saanich politicians and taxpayers for giving the green light for the 2008 dispatch improvement project.

“The mayor and council here put public safety as a very high priority. We have to look after the citizens and taxpayers in Saanich,” Burgess said. “They allowed us to invest considerably – so much so we can offer our services to our partners in the region.”

“Somebody in the region sometimes has to be a leader. In this case, Saanich taxpayers stepped up to the plate,” added Hurst.

Saanich’s dispatch service will cost Colwood $76,332 this year, and will rise roughly $3,000 per year until 2017. View Royal will pay $54,584 this year, and the cost will jump roughly $2,000 a year until 2017.

Both West Shore chiefs say they are paying more for Saanich than Langford dispatch, but the roughly 3.5-per-cent cost increase is worth every penny.

“For what I’m getting for the price I’m paying, the costs are minimal but the improvements are tenfold,” Hurst said.

– with files from Natalie North

kslavin@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Father of Saanich murder victim Lindsay Buziak set to appear on Dr. Phil show Friday

Jeff Buziak says he has not seen the show and does not know what to expect

Premier John Horgan visits his old Saanich high school to announce rise in robot funding

Horgan, a Reynolds grad, used the occasion to play catch with the school’s robot

Keep a distance when fawning over baby deer, reminds conservation officer

West Shore conservation officer advises deer can forage on their own and don’t need human help

Songbirds return to their roost in the West Shore

Tips, such as keeping roaming cats from ruffling any feathers, can attract more birds

VIDEO: Fun without sun: Hundreds enjoy Family Fest on Victoria Day

Families enjoy activities in Veterans Memorial Park

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

Ontario man searching for fellow he travelled with in Europe 50 years ago

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Is vegan food a human right? Ontario firefighter battling B.C. blaze argues it is

Adam Knauff says he had to go hungry some days because there was no vegan food

Winds helping in battle against fire threatening northern Alberta town

Nearly 5,000 people have cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nation

Most Read