A: According to (WorkSafe BC) Regulation 31.23 clarified in guideline G 31.23, four is the minimum number of crew required before entering into a smoke filled building with a charged hose line for the initial attack of a fire or to search for occupants. The city of Powell River’s first response unit is staffed with sometimes four, sometimes three, and sometimes only two rescue personnel, making the possibility of delaying a rescue a reality. This situation greatly lessens the chance for survival for any fire or accident victim.
Powell River’s Professional Fire Fighters are seriously concerned for your safety and are lobbying for the staffing standard found in NFPA 1710 -5.2.2 through 126.96.36.199.1. This standard by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA www.nfpa.org), recommends for safety, effectiveness and efficiency, that a minimum of four on duty personnel shall be staffed on each engine company. Amending the current staffing agreement to achieve this national standard for the initial first response unit will have the greatest effect on improving the public’s life safety, not only in structure fires, but any immediately life threatening rescue (motor vehicle accidents, confined space rescues, etc).
Powell River Fire Rescue is a combination department, consisting of both career and auxiliary members. During an emergency call, following behind the first response unit (Engine 41), two off-shift career firefighters respond to Station 1 from their residence to staff the second-in fire apparatus; and a chief may also respond. This delayed response of fire apparatus makes a response of 5 to 7 fire personnel total. In addition, an unknown number of auxiliary members respond to the scene from throughout the community, when they are able to.(In the case of Wildwood, auxiliary members respond to Station 2 to staff Engine 43)
The NFPA recommends that 14 to 15 personnel respond to a single family house fire, due to the many tasks and responsibilities which need to be taken care of simultaneously. These include, but are not limited to, such roles as: Incident Commander, pump operators, ladder operators, hydrant taker, attack crews, ventilation crews, rescue crews for civilian victims, and rapid intervention teams for the rescue of downed firefighters.