The North American standard response time for the fire department to arrive on scene after a call is six minutes. In order to reach this target it is important that fire protection services be located close to the neighbourhoods that they protect, and that they are able to respond in a quick and efficient manner.
Most of St. John’s is covered by fire stations that are staffed twenty-four hours a day, so as soon as a call comes in they can be dispatched immediately to the scene. However, the Goulds does not have a station that is staffed on a continuous basis.
From 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday the Goulds Fire Station is staffed by paid employees, which means that evening and weekend fire protection services are provided by volunteer staff.
I have heard great things about the Goulds Volunteer Fire Department, and the people that work there. Volunteers are a very important part of the fire protection services offered across Canada, with approximately 127,000 volunteer firefighters in the country. I raise this issue not because I feel they are doing a poor job, but because I believe fire protection services in the Goulds needs to be enhanced to a level not possible on a volunteer basis.
For anyone unfamiliar with volunteer fire departments, generally they work like this:
- A call comes in requiring a fire department response.
- Members of the volunteer fire department are called, or paged, letting them know an incident needs to be responded to.
- Fire department members head to the station (often the number of people responding is not known until they show up at the station).
- Fire department members respond to the scene from the station.
Since fire department members need to travel to the station before heading out to the scene there is an opportunity for delays to occur when responding to a call, and the six minute standard may not be met. When dealing with fires and emergencies every minute counts!
I believe that in order to provide the same level of service to the Goulds that we provide to the rest of the city we need to have a fire station that is staffed twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This would minimize the delay when responding to an emergency call, and make sure we are meeting our target response times as well.
People living in the Goulds should have access to the same level of service that the rest of the city is provided with, so this is an issue I would like to see addressed.
You can read this article, and more, on my website at http://www.sflight.ca