Fire dispatch service proceeding with switchover

Wayne Price, Director of Fire and Emergency Services, updated city council on the state of the upcoming dispatch changes.

The City of Cranbrook is on pace to shift 911 service over to the City of Kelowna as part of a collaborative agreement with 14 municipalities within the region.

Wayne Price, the Director of Fire and Emergency Services, updated city council on the plan, as the fire dispatch services—currently offered by local Fire and Emergency Services staff—will be taken over by Kelowna Fire Department at the end of May.

The new fire dispatch services, which will cover 14 municipalities within the Regional District of East Kootenay, plus the City of Castlegar, will be administered by the regional government and paid for by collecting taxes from each of those municipalities and electoral areas.

The RDEK recently passed a bylaw that will incorporate two aspects of the service—E-Comm 911 and the fire dispatch services together.

“It’s more of a comprehensive bylaw—it includes the two service aspects of the service, so the E-911, that’s where you call your 911 and you get E-Comm in Vancouver—police, ambulance or fire—so everybody in B.C. pays for that one and then the second part is the standalone dispatch service that they provide for the fire department,” said Price.

“By tying them together, I think it’s more cost-effective, probably a little bit easier for accounting purposes. The cost of both services will be apportioned among the municipal electoral areas participating and it’s going to be based on the number of dwellings in the area.

“The city’s costs will be paid through requisition, which is collected through taxes by the city for the Regional District.”

There will be a two-week overlap at the end of May as Cranbrook will continue to run it’s service in unison with the new service provided by the Kelowna Fire Department to allow both sides to iron out any wrinkles once the switchover officially occurs.