City Provides Assurances Regarding Fire Services

Thu, January 6, 2022

In light of recent reporting regarding cases of COVID-19 at the Prince Rupert Fire Hall, the City would like to reassure the community that we will continue to provide essential fire protection services. Although 8 of 20 firefighters are currently in isolation due to positive results or awaiting test results, the department has continued to respond to calls, including a structure fire in the last 24 hours. The continuation of service is done with a day shift of 4 staff and a night shift of 4 staff and is viable in the short term through overtime. We are very grateful to our remaining staff for picking up the slack during the shortage.

Although this is a dynamic situation, given BC’s recent announcement of shorter 5-day isolation periods for vaccinated persons, we anticipate overall staffing levels to increase in the coming days. Since yesterday alone, we have already had five staff return due to either a negative test result or completion of the isolation period.

However, in serious incidents where existing staff cannot safely meet fire service demand, the City has an interim mutual aid agreement with Port Edward and could call upon their volunteer department of 13 well-trained firefighters in times of need. Should it be absolutely necessary, those nearing the end of their isolation period whose symptoms are diminishing may also be called in, with additional COVID measures in place to protect the public and existing staff from potential spread if that is required. It should be noted that this would only occur in an extreme emergency scenario.

Although staff are managing, this is not a desirable position for the Department. We request that residents do their part to contribute to fire prevention, especially with respect to the safe use of space heaters and other appliances during this cold snap.