Thompson-Nicola Regional District is moving to establish new individual fire protection areas in the North Thompson Valley that are without fire departments.
“We’ve been trying to promote this for a long, long time,” commented Barriere fire chief Al Kirkwood. “The regional district has decided this is a good idea, that it won’t bankrupt them. They’re taking a positive approach.”
During their May 26 board meeting TNRD directors instructed staff to move forward on the initiative.
The lower and central North Thompson valley presently has seven fire departments – at McLure, Barriere, Chu Chua, Little Fort, Blackpool, Clearwater and Vavenby.
Communities such as Birch Island are located between the departments’ coverage areas but could have fire protection within the next few years through the initiative.
Under an arrangement proposed by
consultant Bob Hickey, the existing seven fire protection service areas in the Valley would remain as they are.
New fire protection service areas would be created between the boundaries to cover areas that presently do not receive fire protection.
The new arrangement will include automatic aid agreements to provide service from existing fire departments. These would be different from mutual aid agreements – under which departments only assist each other when requested.
An automatic aid response to the new areas would consist of an engine (pumper) plus a tender (water tank truck) from the nearest firehall plus an additional tender from the next nearest firehall.
Hickey also recommended the installation of dry fire hydrants in strategic locations. These would be standpipes set up next to ponds or other water sources that fire engines could pump from without any further preparation.