Fire response time slower in southeast corner of Bower after fire hall relocation

Residents in a two-block section of Bower may have to wait just a little bit longer for a fire truck to arrive with the relocation of two fire halls.

Residents in a two-block section of Bower may have to wait just a little bit longer for a fire truck to arrive with the relocation of two fire halls.

City of Red Deer staff said technological advances are being put in place to help increase the efficiency of dispatch and travel time to an incident.

However, a map developed for city council’s consideration shows sections of Barrett Drive and Bannerman Close in the southeast corner of Bower fall outside a residential response time of seven minutes and 40 seconds. Provincial guidelines require a 10-minute response time 90 per cent of the time. Current processing time (the time it takes from receiving a call until a vehicle is dispatched) is two minutes and 20 seconds, leaving emergency vehicles seven minutes and 40 seconds to arrive on scene.

“It is unfortunate that there will be areas in Red Deer that will be disadvantaged due to new fire station relocations,” said Kimberly Streit, Bower Community Association president, in an email.

“It is expected that the City of Red Deer will implement positive strategic pursuits to ensure all areas of Red Deer will receive a proper and provincially mandated emergency response time.”

The map council saw at its regular meeting on Monday was generated by Dillon Consulting as part of a 2002 report, with a 2006 update that reviewed emergency services and assessed station location. The map is based on future growth and not current service levels.

The relocation of two Red Deer Emergency Services fire halls will move Station 4 from 30 Davison Dr. to Timberlands and Station 3 from 4340 32nd St. to a site near the Collicutt Centre. The new locations will not be operational until mid-2016.

Streit said that she was confident “the City of Red Deer would be so kind to include valued feedback from the general public in way of a forum to seek concerns or comments.

“This act would secure confidence with the general public in rectifying a situation that will be resolved in an appropriate viable way for all parties included.”

Elaine Vincent, Red Deer development services director, said in an email that several technological improvements to the dispatch process will improve response time.

“Some of these technical enhancements include CAD (computer aided dispatch) to CAD interface, and MDT (mobile data terminals) and reviewing our overall dispatch processes … all of these will allow real time dispatching and route finding,” she said.

Vincent also said the city will review its response times in 2015 to all neighbourhoods based on these technological advancements to determine if the assumptions used in the study produce the same results.

“I don’t see there being any challenges for us in covering the Bower area,” said Bart Rowland, deputy fire chief of operations. “The steps we’re looking at and the implementation of the new technology, it won’t be an issue down the road.”

The two new fire halls are part of the 2015 capital budget with Station 3 ultimately costing $7,960,000 and Station 4 costing $7,016,000.

The current Station 3 will remain in operation, but as the 911 emergency communications centre and the Emergency Services administrative headquarters.

A sixth station is scheduled to be build in 2025, but no site has been determined.

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