PRRD reviewing three proposals to handle 911 fire calls

A Fort St. John Fire Fighter runs the local 911 fire dispatch in Fort St. John

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District has confirmed it has received three proposals for provision of Secondary Safety Answer Point Fire Dispatch Service but it’s withholding all other details.  The board will review the proposals which could see 911 fire dispatch services moved outside of the B.C. Peace.

A September 22nd Committee of the Whole meeting has been scheduled to further address the issue, and although nothing is firm yet, because it is likely to involve negotiations, part of it is likely to be in closed session.

Earlier reports suggested board approval of a new agreement was expected on October 21st with May 5th of next year the fire dispatch service cutover date.

However, Trish Morgan, the General Manager of Community and Electoral Area Services, has indicated, at this time those dates remain subject to change.

Currently the PRRD receives Primary Safety Answer Point Services from the Prince George RCMP Operational Call Centre, and fire calls are then forwarded to the North and South Peace Fire Dispatch Centres at the Fort St. John and Dawson Creek Fire Departments.  The new proposals could see fire dispatch services moved out of Fort St. John and Dawson Creek to places like the Lower Mainland.

Emergency service for the Fort St. John and Charlie Lake Fire Departments, as well as Hudson’s Hope and Taylor Fire and Rescue Services is then provided by the North Peace Fire Dispatch Centre and the South Peace Centre provides the same service for the Fire Departments in Dawson Creek, Pouce Coupe, Tomslake, Arras, Tumbler Ridge, Chetwynd and Moberly Lake.

The PRRD, which covers just over 46,000 square miles, is as such, the largest regional district in the province, and proposals were taken this summer from qualified agencies to provide the aforementioned fire dispatch services to eleven fire departments within its boundaries.

The District provides local government service to about 63,000 residents, but the request for proposals has reportedly not been well received by some, even though nobody has yet come forward to publicly challenge the process.  Some residents have suggested if 911 fire dispatch services are moved outside the B.C. Peace, this could lead to delays in dispatching fire crews.

The PRRD has publicly stated it is committed to a review and evaluation process by its staff to identify the proposal which offered the best service at the best value based on nine different factors.

It has ranked cost, dispatch staff resources, and technological capabilities as the top three.