Fire services align across municipalities

January 26, 2021

For Immediate Release

VICTORIA, BC — The fire departments of Victoria and Esquimalt have established a renewed mutual and automatic firefighting aid agreement ensuring cooperation and alignment of fire services across the two municipalities, when required. 

Mutual aid is an agreement that provides the ability for departments to share resources for multiple events or large, complex emergencies. Automatic aid is an agreement that predetermines specific resources to high-risk buildings or types of emergencies.

The renewed agreement provides potential for improved risk management regarding operations planning. This assists in fire ground resourcing in the event of high risk or extraordinary emergency incidents. At its most essential, mutual aid is an agreement between departments to assist each other if one department’s capacity is temporarily overwhelmed. The mutual sharing of resources provides excellent service while being fiscally responsible to each community.

The original agreement between the two municipalities was implemented in 1980 and included both Saanich and Oak Bay. Mutual and automatic aid have rarely been activated between Esquimalt and Victoria fire departments. Esquimalt Fire relies on CFB Esquimalt Fire Services as their primary support for initial response to emergency events within the municipality. Esquimalt Fire has been utilized for “stand by” by the City of Victoria Fire Department in instances where access to Vic West may have been impacted, or resources were presently deployed elsewhere within the City. This agreement reflects the historical value, nature and volume of calls between the two municipalities. The City of Victoria has also recently updated its agreements with Saanich and Oak Bay while the Township of Esquimalt’s agreement with the two other municipalities was updated in 2016.

The four urban departments have been convening independently and collectively to introduce a modern collaboration based on past data and anticipated needs. These new agreements provide increased resource capacity, increased intermunicipal training opportunities and continued professional cooperation with response planning and high-risk events.  

Quotes:

Victoria Fire Chief Paul Bruce – 

“Staffing is the most valued resource in response to any emergency. This agreement is one that collectively assists both communities to address this reality. It will provide the residents of both Esquimalt and Vic West an additional tool to ensure the safety of firefighters and citizens of our municipalities in responding to high risk and increasingly, high rise or multi-occupancy, environments.” 

Esquimalt Fire Chief Chris Jancowski –

“By updating this agreement with Victoria, we’re building on our high level of community service by providing both parties with a framework that is responsive to the two communities’ needs,” said Fire Chief Chris Jancowski, Esquimalt Fire Department. “As a result of these improvements, we have immediate access to additional resources for large scale or complex emergencies.”

 

—30—

 

For More Information:

Tara Zajac
Manager of Communications, Township of Esquimalt
Phone: 250.414.7122
[email protected] 

Bill Eisenhauer
Head of Engagement, City of Victoria 
Cellular: 250.858.1061 
[email protected] 

Learn more about the Esquimalt Fire Department
Image: First responders from BC Ambulance, Esquimalt Fire Department, VicPD and Victoria Fire Department working together.