FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John says that fire dispatch operations officially moved to Campbell River this morning.
The Fort St. John and Dawson Creek Fire Departments previously managed fire dispatch services in the PRRD’s area until yesterday, with the two taking calls north and south of the Peace River. However, after the PRRD issued a fire dispatch Request for Proposals last fall, the PRRD Board voted in favour of the proposal from Campbell River-based North Island 911.
Fort St. John Fire Chief Fred Burrows said that due to today’s switch, residents are advised to provide very specific details, such as an exact address when speaking to the 911 operator.
“In the past, the calls were managed by our staff so if a caller said they were located 10 minutes past the red barn on ABC Road, we knew where to go,” said Burrows. “It is very important that our citizens know exactly how to report their emergency from now on.”
Burrows added that knowing specific intersections and addresses will give fire dispatchers on Vancouver Island with the information they need in order to properly dispatch fire crews where needed.
The Fort St. John Fire Department had provided fire dispatch services in the region for more than 30 years. A 2013 report to the PRRD Board stated that the fire dispatch service exceeded the National Fire Protection Association Standard 1221. it also stated that 95 percent of alarm calls were answered within 7 seconds and that 99 percent of alarms were answered within 8 seconds.
The City of Fort St. John Fire Department also said that it has been serving North Peace residents through the Rural Fire Protection Agreement since 1988 and that it will continue to offer that fire protection service.
The Fort St. John Professional Firefighters Association released the following statement in response to dispatch services moving to Campbell River effective at 11:00 a.m. today.