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Firefighters maxed out

Firefighters maxed out

Postby seewood » Dec 12th, 2017, 10:08 am

OK, what's the solution if there is one?
Penticton , I'm sure, is similar to Kelowna where the department is staffed by career full time fire fighters and 80+ % of the calls are medical. Years ago I saw a breakdown of Penticton's calls and from the total of 2400 or more call outs, 2100+ were medical. The wages paid to FF's are considerably more than paramedics. FF's wages are paid by the local jurisdictions, Paramedics by the province.
Summerland, for example, has decided not to have a first responder program. Similar to Squamish ( years ago anyway). Found the training and paperwork too onerous. They do/did ambulance assist on occasion though. The municipality's figured it was up to the province to pay for medical responses.

Downloading by the province, hoping peoples desire to help will override the costs in manpower and equipment?
It is not mandatory for fire departments to have a first responder program. Management outlines the scope of service for the municipality. Princeton Fire Dept. does not do road rescue for example, they have a separate group that does that...

https://www.castanet.net/news/Kelowna/2 ... -maxed-out
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Re: Firefighters maxed out

Postby Amarow121 » Dec 12th, 2017, 10:45 am

As the counselors and Daniel Haight of the consulting firm state, it's in big part because of the hospital. If the hospital could deal with the volume of patients brought to them, ambulances would be able to return to the streets sooner, and attend the 9-1-1 medical calls sooner. Delayed ambulance response can be traced to hospital delays.

It's a trickle down problem. IHA doesn't have the resources and capacity for all the medical needs that occur in a day.
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Re: Firefighters maxed out

Postby gman313 » Dec 12th, 2017, 10:53 am

Amarow121 wrote:As the counselors and Daniel Haight of the consulting firm state, it's in big part because of the hospital. If the hospital could deal with the volume of patients brought to them, ambulances would be able to return to the streets sooner, and attend the 9-1-1 medical calls sooner. Delayed ambulance response can be traced to hospital delays.

It's a trickle down problem. IHA doesn't have the resources and capacity for all the medical needs that occur in a day.


yep just take a look at KGH there are always a ton of ambulances with the paramedics waiting to transfer their patients.
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Re: Firefighters maxed out

Postby the truth » Dec 12th, 2017, 11:21 am

firefighters are exactly that firefighters,stop calling them out to junkies od'ing every day all day, https://globalnews.ca/news/3878561/glob ... epartment/
Last edited by the truth on Dec 12th, 2017, 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Firefighters maxed out

Postby youjustcomplain » Dec 12th, 2017, 11:33 am

I also don't know of a solution. Fire departments take on medical calls to help justify their staffing levels. We need our fire dept's to have enough staff to be able to react to a fire, but we also expect those staff to not just lay around all day waiting for a fire.

Part of the problem is as mentioned above, ambulance staff are paid by the province where-as fire fighters are paid by the municipality/city. If this could change, I'd suggest combining the services like has been done by our neighbors to the south. Fire depts and ambulances dispatched out of the same building. If that was the case, it would be easy for fire dept's to know if they'd need to attend a medical call. I mean, if the call comes in and there is a staffed bus at the hall, then the fire dept would not need to roll a truck. However, if all ambulances are out, then the fire dept could attend as support until BCAS can arrive. This would help reduce work load of fire fighters as it would result in fewer first responder call outs.

That said, funding aside, there is nothing to say that with our current funding model that fire depts couldn't start getting built with a couple of ambulance bays so that the services be operated out of the same building. Many of the same "solutions" could be done in a less functional way. (not having shared dispatch will always be an issue unless services are amalgamated)

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Re: Firefighters maxed out

Postby dogspoiler » Dec 12th, 2017, 11:51 am

The firefighters union love the first responder program. When they want more staff, fire halls, and wages they point to their call volume.
If the Ambulance service had all the resources it needs, it could look after the medical calls itself.
The Ambulance service is very underfunded and has been losing ground for years.
It is also true that the delays at the hospitals are causing huge delays on getting the Ambulances back on the road.
What is needed is adequate funding and organization for the Ambulance service and the Hospitals. The little bandaid solutions are not enough.

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Re: Firefighters maxed out

Postby goalie » Dec 12th, 2017, 1:23 pm

It's ridiculous the number of times i see two fire trucks attend a medical situation. The diesel alone must cost a bundle.

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Re: Firefighters maxed out

Postby seewood » Dec 12th, 2017, 1:43 pm

goalie wrote:It's ridiculous the number of times i see two fire trucks attend a medical situation. The diesel alone must cost a bundle.


This and the wear and tear on a truck. Granted they are considered pretty heavy duty, but brake pad issues, oil changes become more frequent. If you are on the road more frequently, the chances of a MVI is increased..
The point regarding the union loves it I believe is valid. More career FF's, more union dues, better paid executives at the union...
However the FF's training today is not what it was 20-30 years ago. Haz-mat, road rescue, new building construction, fire truck complexities, paperwork, meeting Work safe standards... all expensive to implement and maintain.
Still can get in with grade 12 and expect to earn $70-110,000.00 year after 10 years or so and or move up the officer chain.
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Re: Firefighters maxed out

Postby Bsuds » Dec 12th, 2017, 4:22 pm

goalie wrote:It's ridiculous the number of times i see two fire trucks attend a medical situation. The diesel alone must cost a bundle.


Lots of times you see 2 ambulances heading to the same call as well.

It ultimately all comes out of the Taxpayers (our) pocket so they should just quit fighting over who pays and do it!
Deja Poo, the feeling I've heard all this crap before!

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Re: Firefighters maxed out

Postby dodgerdodge » Dec 12th, 2017, 5:17 pm

Bsuds wrote:
Lots of times you see 2 ambulances heading to the same call as well.

It ultimately all comes out of the Taxpayers (our) pocket so they should just quit fighting over who pays and do it!


Still better than the 6 police cruisers that attend. :biggrin:

Seriously though it does often seem overkill when you see one or two firetrucks then one or two ambulances and at least 2 police cars and then you find out there were no serious injuries just a scratch to the head and a broken windscreen!

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Re: Firefighters maxed out

Postby lensbaby » Dec 12th, 2017, 5:33 pm

For a medical emergency, I don't understand why the Fire Dept doesn't send 2 people in a car, rather than a fully equipped fire-truck.
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Re: Firefighters maxed out

Postby AlienSoldier » Dec 12th, 2017, 5:37 pm

The number of responders is to be able to treat all potential persons at the scene. That is why you might have more than 1 vehicle attending a site. Communication between victims on the site who are already emotional might paint a picture which is greater than it potentially is, or less than it potentially is. You don't know until you get there which could mean someone's life.

How about dissecting the calls between each type and then breaking the firefighters out accordingly and purchase vehicles accordingly.
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Re: Firefighters maxed out

Postby Starlight123 » Dec 12th, 2017, 6:29 pm

So this is an interesting situation. The fire services are starting to be overwhelmed responding to medical calls. Firefighters are not Paramedics and are part of the First Responder Program. This program was started when a small child choked to death on a piece of sausage in Maple Ridge years ago. The fire services in various communities and municipalities throughout BC were only to respond to the time critical calls. An example of time critical would be cardiac or respiratory arrest. Now the majority of fire services here in BC are eating up 10s of millions of dollars of municipal taxpayers money responding to calls that they were never meant to respond to in the first place.

This is NOT the provincial government downloading to municipal resources. It’s the fire services insisting they respond.

The First Responder Program is VOLUNTARY and no community or municipality has been forced to have their fire services to medical calls. Here is a quote from the British Columbia Emergency Health Services website.

“Participation in the first responder program is voluntary, with the municipality covering the costs of sending municipal resources such as fire crews to emergency calls.
http://www.bcehs.ca/our-services/progra ... responders
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Re: Firefighters maxed out

Postby Achtung » Dec 12th, 2017, 10:05 pm

Ok so I understand everyone is entitled to their opinion but come on people at least have the facts before you spout off with a bunch of nonsense. The interesting thing is that most of the uninformed but very vocal negative posters can be found spreading their negativity on nearly every thread. It gets old. As for this thread...the reason you often see two ambulances at a scene is because they are two differently equipped ambulances with two differently trained attendants. It says right on the side. BLS is basic life support. ALS is advanced life support. Some calls require only BLS and some require both. As for the FIre Dept responding....they are trained to a first responder level. They can administer life saving care when needed but they can and often are cancelled by B.C. ambulance if they are either not required or the call is not as serious after patient contact has been made. For those of you fortunate enough to never have been a part of a major traumatic call such as a cardiac arrest, serious car accident, attempted suicide etc, please don’t blindly post that it’s a waste when they see a fire truck and two ambulances at a first response call. If they are needed then every one of them will be busy. A cardiac arrest isn’t simply treated by turning on a defibrillator. It usually takes 2-3 people doing 2 minute rounds on compressions, someone doing ventilation’s with a BVM, someone administering an IV, someone preparing neccecary drugs...etc. it’s a crazy situation that two people cannot effectively remedy. If they are not then they will be released from the scene. As for they post about sending fire guys to medical stuff in a car instead of the big truck...at their main hall they do send a two man crew to medical calls in a pickup. At their other halls they don’t split the 4 person crews in case a more serious call comes in they will be able to respond immediately.

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Re: Firefighters maxed out

Postby echobeach » Dec 12th, 2017, 10:32 pm

BC ambulance dispatches the fire crews to fMR calls in the city of Kelowna ,they determine if fire will be dispatched by sending the call to the City of Kelowna dispatch centre ,there are still thousands of calls each year , fire does not get dispatched to by BCAS dispatchers.The model of BCAS is the nearest ambulance gets the call ,so if they are on the way to a call ,and are closer than any other ambulance to another call , they get re routed ,it's not all about hospital waits .I know if my loved one needs medical attention , I will be glad to see a fire truck with 2-4-6 FF in it to help out in our time of need .So , the city opts into using taxpayer dollars to have FF respond and deliver medical help ,be thankful they have ,it may look redundant to ignorant people but the folks that have them show up on the doorstep wanting to help someone having a bad day are thankful .The executive members of the FF union do not get paid on a per FF in the local basis ,they are concerned about public safety number one , and regarding FF numbers on a firecall event, more FF means a quicker safer outcome for the public and the FF themselves can maybe go home safe too .Kelowna is not a small city anymore folks ,look around,and waaaay up .
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