Letters to the editor
Fire protection in the city
Ontario Man wrote: Has nobody heard of mutual aid between departments? The priority is to put the fire out and forget about stupid politics, whose area, who should go, etc.we would never let that happen in our rural areas..
I guess things are different in Ontario. MUTUAL AID here in BC does indeed refer to one (or more) fire departments helping out another when the first hasn't enough equipment or manpower to handle a situation WITHIN ONE'S FIRE COVERAGE BOUNDARIES.
The problem lies in the fact that the premises in question was situated OUTSIDE ANY EXISTING FIRE DEPARTMENT(Municipal) Boundaries. Fire departments don't simply "exist" but are set up and paid for to provide fire coverage to the people, businesses and properties WITHIN certain Town, Municipal, City, or Regional District boundaries.
Those that choose to purchase property or build outside such covered areas of course will save money on taxes (which pay for the Fire Services and others) but they must realize that if they aren't paying for a service and aren't living in a recognized Fire District, they shouldn't expect that FireCrews/equipment will mount up and head out of their "home" areas to provide coverage to those outside the boundaries. As a nearby example, several residents have built very expensive homes at the southern end of Lakeshore Road on the east side of the Lake.
These properties are outside the boundaries of the City of Kelowna. These folks don't have Fire Department coverage and I'm sure they must pay much higher FIRE Insurance premiums there (if they can get any Fire Insurance at all..) Its my understanding that they as a group have petitioned Kelowna to be covered for Fire Services but that Kelowna declined their request.
So, I question just how far "out of town" do these writers expect that the Fire Crews should respond ? A mile or so? Five miles, ten miles, 50 miles ? The thing is, there is NO provision for providing Fire coverage OUTSIDE the boundaries.
Similarly, no other taxpayer funded Municipal services (sewer, water, garbage collection etc) are provided free of charge to others living outside the boundaries and that is how it should be..
Lets say the Fire Department did head out there and the home still burned down.. or, what if someone or a firefighter got injured or a home in Peachland burned while Peachland's crews were "out of town". Who gets sued for that ?
WANT FIRE COVERAGE ? Live "in town".. Live out of town..No Fire Department, sorry, that's just how it is. Its not up to the local Fire Chief, Captain or Lieutenant to decide to make his own rules and leave town. He and his men are there to cover THEIR town, city (etc) only.
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