City develops plan for fire department

Penticton will develop a strategic plan for its fire department that includes short and long term goals, in light of a recent external review.

Led by the fire chief, a committee will be struck to develop a strategic plan based on the 24 recommendations put forward in the Penticton Fire Department Services Review final report, presented this week to council.

"Regularly reviewing how we are performing is key to the city, so the service review of the fire department gives the city a chance to provide even greater service,” said Mayor Dan Ashton. “Citizens have indicated a high satisfaction with emergency services, and developing a strategic plan will ensure residents remain satisfied in the future.”

The city contracted Behr Energy Services Inc. to conduct a service review of the PFD, which included interviewing stakeholders, assessing the community, identifying industry standards, evaluating current call volumes and response times, estimating future emergency response needs in the community and reviewing the department’s operational procedures.

The recommendations cover the full range of PFD operations from inspections and the First Responder program, to buildings, human resources and equipment purchasing.

The report also included a review of the City’s regulatory system in relation to the PFD, such as potential revisions to the False Alarm Bylaw and Controlled Substance Property Bylaw.

Some recommendations covered areas that will help modernize operations at the department.

The report called for a review of the existing record management and communications systems, with an eye to how best phase in new systems that would meet the department’s needs.

Training was also recommended for staff to use computerized inspection systems used by the building department, so as to better track the progress of new and remodelled buildings.

Because this was a fire service review, Fire Chief Wayne Williams said there was some initial concern, because firefighters didn't know what to expect.

They are pleased that everyone wants to move forward now, the chief said Friday, as he started developing a team to look at the recommendations.

“The Penticton Fire Department takes its mission seriously, so we welcome the fire service review as a tool to better serve our community,” he said. “We look forward to modernizing operations so Penticton Fire continues to be there when residents and businesses need us the most.”

The report is available on the city website at www.penticton.ca

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