The Township fire department continues to encounter a high demand for its services and, according to the annual report presented to council on April 16, the vast majority of responses are not related to fires, but medical emergencies.
The report was presented on the same day that council gave first three readings the five year financial plan which includes the 2012 budget. This raises property taxes by almost three percent, the biggest cost driver being the hiring of eight firefighters to meet a WorkSafe B.C. requirement that prevents firefighters from entering a burning building unless there are four crew on the scene.
However, structure fires represent only a small fraction of the calls made by firefighters.
The report said that in 2011, there were 52 residential fires and 29 in commercial buildings.
Firefighters responded to 76 vehicle fires, 391 alarms for utility pole fires, brush fires and complaints about burning, and 85 for chimney, dumpster, and electrical fires.
By far the largest number of alarms were for medical emergencies: 2,082 in 2011.
The department responded to 892 traffic mishaps, 887 alarms (commercial, residential etc.) 117 calls for spilling or dumping of hazardous materials, and 433 unspecified calls.
In all, the department responded to 5,044 calls, compared to 4,804 in 2010, 5,079 in 2009, 5,060 in 2008, and 4,182 in 2007.
“It is expected that this continual upward trend, especially in the area of motor vehicle accidents and medical assistance calls, will continue as the Township’s population increases and its demographics change,” the report noted.
The report also details the activities of the bylaw enforcement department. It handled 172 complaints related to business licence violations, commercial vehicles, illegal suites, noise, RV parking, un sightly/untidy premises and unauthorized use of properties.
Council received the report without discussion.