Fire chief Larry Watkinson presented the Mission Fire Rescue Service annual report to council on Monday.

Mission firefighters had busiest year ever

Firefighters respond to 1,902 incidents in 2015, up 30 per cent from last year.

Mission Fire Rescue responded to 1,902 overall incidents in 2015. That’s a 30 per cent increase from 2014 wen crews responded to 1,433 incidents.

Mission Fire Chief Larry Watkinson released the information on Monday during a council meeting.

“It was the busiest year that we have had in the history of the fire department,” he said.

Of those 1,902 incidents, 816 of them (44 per cent) were medical calls, 739 (39 per cent) were fire related and 324 (17 per cent) were rescue situations.

Watkinson explained the remaining 23 incidents were calls directly to the department asking for help with routine situations like someone being locked out of their house and asking for help.

The fire chief told council the increase in calls is likely due to with the community growing in size, busier roads and more traffic coming through the municipality.

Coun. Jenny Stevens raised concerns about the high number of medical calls, asking Watkinson if firefighters are having to cope with situations that they are not trained for?

“Our firefighters, on a regular basis, are put in situations where they are beyond the scope of their training,” he replied.

He explained his members are there for critical intervention until BC ambulance personnel arrive. Firefiighters are permitted to stop bleeding, do chest compressions, clear airways and other critical life interventions. However they are not permitted to transport patients, give medications or break the skin.

Mayor Randy Hawes said that puts firefighters at a huge disadvantage if a patient is having an allergic reaction as they are not permitted to administer an EpiPen shot.

But Watkinson said while firefighters stay within “their scope of practice,” if a firefighter “broke policy to save a person’s life,” he would defend that action.

Continuing with his report, Watkinson told council that in 2015 there were 16 investigations into significant fires in the area, with an approximate combined value of $3,521,100 in losses caused by the blazes.

Other occurrences in 2015 included:

  • 830 fire inspections;
  • Hiring of three new full-time firefighters;
  • 476 homes visited during smoke alarm campaign;
  • 71 smoke alarms installed.

 

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