City to continue First Responder agreement

At Tuesday’s council meeting, Fort St. John City Council voted to reaffirm its participation in the First Response Agreement at Level 3, and that the City Manager will convey this service level to the fire department.

In the past few years the Fire Department has been providing Level 1 service, meaning it has been responding to all emergency calls, despite being more than originally intended.

If the fire department continues to provide Level 1 service in 2011, it will result in the fire department’s budget being approximately $130,000 over budget.

The program, implemented in 2010, provides First Responder (Level 3) services to complement the overwhelmed ambulance services in the Peace Region.

The extra assistance was passed due to the lack of adequate staffing with the B.C. Ambulance Service, which resulted in a significant amount of time for ambulances to respond to an emergency.

Despite the extension of the program, the City is requesting a full review of B.C. Ambulance Service's current staffing practices with the necessary changes that will ensure the appropriate level of service is provided to the city and its surrounding areas.