RDEK looking at new fire dispatch service

Cranbrook—after providing dispatch services for the last five years—will now be included within RDEK fire dispatch service area.

The RDEK is looking at three bidders for fire dispatch services, as the regional government and member municipalities are searching for a new provider.

For the last five years, Cranbrook Fire and Emergency Services was under contract to provide the service at the expense of a paid firefighter. However, the city and the RDEK decided to extend the agreement for another six months while searching for a new service provider.

Sanford Brown, the RDEK Manager of Building & Protective Services, said including Cranbrook into the RDEK’s fire dispatch services just made sense.

“One, cost-wise, we can get a better cost if we’re all together. Also, it provides unification on our dispatching and who’s dispatching us and if we need mutual aid,” he said.

Brown added that the Request for Proposal (RFP) went out in the fall.

“It just kind of detailed who the service was being provided for, what municipalities—so how many fire departments—and it gave a bunch of information on what our existing infrastructure looked like and what service we were looking for,” Brown said.

The coverage area that would need to be serviced by the provider includes 16 fire protection service areas within the RDEK, which are a mix of volunteer and composite fire departments.

The RDEK is hoping for a five-year contract term with an option for another five years upon expiry of the first term that—depending on the acceptance of one of the bids—will go into effect at the end of June 2016.

Any potential dispatch service must be able to provide the following, among other requirements:

• Answer 911 calls and determine of the service type and required response.

• Maintain a chronological record of event calls.

• Maintain ongoing radio communication.

• Interconnect and operate on existing radio infrastructure

• Dispatch in both analog and digital modes.

• Capacity to handle future boundary or service area extensions.

The RDEK also stipulates that a service provider must have extensive experience and the ability to interconnect radio and alerting infrastructure.

A decision will be made by the RDEK board of directors, in consultation with staff, by March 2016.