A: Powell River enjoys first class public safety because of having an immediately responding apparatus. To understand how, let’s take a look on how time factors into an emergency call. There are many “times” to be accounted for in an emergency call. First there is the initial 911 call, the time from the beginning of the incident to when 911 is dialed. Then there is ‘dispatch time’, the time it takes our dispatch centre to gather the information and to notify us of the emergency. There is ‘turnout time’ which is the time it takes when we acknowledge notification of the emergency to when we are en route. This is followed by ‘response time’ which begins when we are en route to the emergency incident and ends when we arrive at the scene. By lowering the times above, you get an increased reduction in human and property loss.
When you call 911 for a fire, your call goes to a primary public safety answering point. From there you are promptly directed to our dispatch centre located in Campbell River.Our dispatch centre abides by the standards laid out in NFPA 1221, where 95% of all alarms received on emergency lines shall be answered within 15 seconds. In addition 90% of emergency alarm processing shall be completed within 64 seconds and 95% of alarm processing shall be completed within 106 seconds. Once notified of the emergency, we strive for a 80 second turnout time for fire and special operations calls and a 60 second turnout time for medical calls (as set out in NFPA 1710) and proceed to being en route to the emergency. This rapid ‘turnout time’ is one advantage of having a staffed first response emergency vehicle.
As you can see in the figure at right presented by NFPA 1710 – A.188.8.131.52.1, the leading authority on fire protection (www.nfpa.org), at about 8 minutes from ignition a fire will extend beyond the room of origin with a substantial increase to life and property loss. Therefore the initial 911 call, plus dispatch time, plus turnout time, plus response time should all be completed before eight minutes. Even a small delay makes the difference between: confining the fire to the room of origin and executing a rescue; to having a total fire loss and carrying out a recovery. NFPA 1710 states “an early aggressive and offensive primary interior attack on a working fire, where feasible, is usually the most effective strategy to reduce the loss of lives and property damage”. NFPA goes on to state, “the ability of adequate fire suppression forces to greatly influence the outcome of a structural fire is undeniable and predictable”.