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DAWSON CREEK, B.C. — The Peace River Regional District board has instated a new fire services policy concerning post-incident procedures.

The new policy discussed at the board meeting on November 24th will ensure that PRRD-owned or contracted fire services will not perform comprehensive, post-incident assessments.

The policy statement defines post-incident assessments as “a detailed examination of a structure after a fire or other emergency incident to determine if the structure is safe for occupancy and completely free of hazards.”

The statement said these hazards include but are not limited to, structural damages or deficiencies, harmful gases, biological hazards, flammable gas leaks, electrical hazards, water damage, and hidden or smouldering fires that may cause rekindling.

The statement outlined the reason behind the new policy was one of liability. It stated, “The policy is intended to limit the Regional District’s liability in the event that any unforeseen injury or loss should occur after the fire department has left the scene of an emergency incident.”

This point was echoed by the chief administrative officer of the PRRD, Shawn Dahlen, during the discussion.

“It mitigates the risk and liability,” Dahlen said. “It’s saying that we are not going to be doing this assessment.”

It also stated in the policy that PRRD fire services are not equipped, staffed, or trained to do these types of assessments.

The policy statement also explained that under this new policy, the responsibility falls on property owners to engage the necessary professionals to do post-incident assessments.

The board of directors moved to carry this new policy which will be instated on all new fire service contracts with the PRRD. The policy will be added to renewed contracts when they are brought up for amendment in the first quarter of 2023.

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Katherine Caddel is a recent graduate of Laurentian University's English Media and Rhetoric program. They grew up in Northern Ontario and recently decided to make the North Peace their new home. When not at work, Katherine enjoys horror movies, playing video games and Dungeons and Dragons.