Kamloops Fire Rescue always on call

Whether they are battling flames, rescuing motorists trapped in vehicles or conducting routine safety inspections, firefighters in Kamloops are always busy.

Kamloops Fire Rescue typically responds to about 200 fires each year. The department’s members also conduct more than 2,500 safety inspections and in excess of 150 development reviews annually.

Kamloops Fire Rescue employs about 129 full-time staff, 30 auxiliary members and 65 emergency volunteers, all of whom work out of seven halls

KFR Assistant Chief Robb Schoular said 2018 was a busy year for the department, though total calls were down slightly from the two previous years.

“We responded to about 6,900 calls,” Schoular said. “Of those, approximately 66 per cent were medical calls.”

The total number of medical calls received dropped sharply in 2018, Schoular said, because of a change in the policy of B.C. Emergency Health Services.

In 2018, firefighters responded to 3,278 medical calls, down from 4,070 the year before.

“That’s because EHS, they’ve changed their response model,” he said.

“We’re being called less often for some calls.”

Schoular said firefighters still respond to critical medical emergencies, but they no longer attend for less-serious situations.

“Typically, it’s heart attacks and overdoses [that firefighters respond to], but the less critical, but still quite severe calls — shortness of breath, chest pain — we’re not being called for those now.”

Schoular said the drop in calls has allowed KFR members to become more active in the community.

“We’re doing a lot of proactive things and educational things,” he said, pointing to KFR’s Fire Smart campaign.

“We can certainly fill the void.”

© Kamloops This Week