To the Editor:
Re: Response time a danger, Letters, July 2.
In the letter regarding a house fire in the Oakridge area, Pamela Morrison states, “this area needs a 24-hour, seven day per week, four-man stationed fire hall.”
As spokesman for the Nanaimo Professional Firefighters Association, we agree with her position that this area not only needs protection but also this was identified in the City of Nanaimo 2005 Fire Response Study and further in a plan to build and staff this hall no later than 2017.
We concur that the response to this area is slowed by its geographical location and is further shown to have delayed response as proven by a 2011 structure fire in this same area. The first arriving apparatus with four firefighters dropped all immediate tasks and were able to make entry and rescue a person still trapped inside. After removing this person the crew then recognized the structure was unsafe and began defensive fire attack from the exterior.
In April 2013, Fire Chief Ron Lambert introduced a new fire plan model including the building of three new fire halls and reducing all halls outside the downtown core to two firefighters. City staff and stakeholders are currently consulting on this new model and council will be reviewing this new plan over the next few months and making a decision on which model to follow.
With this new proposed model we recognize that the first arriving apparatus to this area could now have to wait 10-12 minutes for more personnel to arrive on scene and allow us to make entry. This limits our ability to take aggressive action including interior fire attack and civilian rescue.
By finishing the 2005 fire plan, building this hall in the Hammond Bay area, staffing it with four firefighters 24 hours a day, we know we can then complete an aggressive interior fire attack, affect rescue and complete our fire ground tasks quicker and safer.
Our association does not endorse this newly proposed model of two-firefighter halls. We continue to support the completion of the 2005 plan, build the new fire station in the Hammond Bay area to ensure that all fire engines respond with the minimum of four firefighters at all times.
president, Nanaimo Professional Firefighters Association