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Prince George needs 32 more firefighters, report says

The Prince George Fire Rescue Service needs more staff, equipment, a training centre and a fifth fire hall, a consultant report says.
Prince George Fire Rescue 1
A report going before city council members on March 1 is calling on the city to hire 32 additional firefighters over the next four years.

The Prince George Fire Rescue Service needs to hire 32 additional firefighters and two support staff over the next four years, a report going before members of council on Wednesday says.

The city hired consultant group Dave Mitchell & Associates Ltd. last year to provide an update to the 2015 Standards of Cover report conducted in 2015. The report and accompanying presentation call for the city to hire seven additional firefighters and one administrative clerk in 2024, 10 additional firefighters in 2025, 10 additional firefighters and one emergency vehicle technician in 2026 and five more firefighters in 2027-28.

“The 2016 SOC Report recommended adding a second staffed unit at Hall 1 to deal with the significant call volume at this Hall. The staffing at Hall 1 is unchanged from the date of that report, even though the call volume in the Hall’s primary response area has increased by some 93%, rising from 2,800 events in 2015 to 5,409 in 2022,” Mitchell wrote in the report.

The fire department is facing an "almost stunning growth in total call volumes," Mitchell added. 

The fire department hasn't had a substantial increase in staff since 1995, and as a result isn't able to achieve compliance with National Fire Protection Association standards, the report says.

The report calls for the additional of a F350 medic unit in 2024, at an estimated cost of $100,000; an additional pumper/tender fire truck in 2025 at an estimated cost of $1 million; a fire training centre in Prince George at an unknown cost; and a fifth fire hall in the BCR Industrial Site at an unknown cost.

“This is a multi-year, multi-million-dollar program. Detailed costing shall be conducted as part of the first service enhancement request during the 2024 City budget process,” city director of public safety Adam Davey wrote in his report to council.

“When considered in aggregate with the concurrent Police Services Review 2023-2027 plan, the proposed enhancements to protective services throughout the 2020s is the most significant change to the provision of public safety to the residents of Prince George in over a generation. The current rate of call volume and demand for protective services is no longer sustainable without substantial, multi-year increases to police and fire services.”

The report will be presented to members of city council during a committee of the whole meeting on Wednesday.