Fire dept

[quote=“crazy Horse”]Sure, look some up. Salmon Arm, Terrace, Quesnel, Williams Lake, Comox, Parksville, Summerland, etc. all have populations equal to or larger than PR, all cover a bigger geographical area, and all have 4 or 5 full time firefighters supplemented with volunteers or on call paid auxiliary.

Again, I am not advocating laying anyone off. I am suggesting that as firefighters retire or relocate, they be replaced with volunteer or paid on call auxiliary firefighters. It is obviously done successfully elsewhere, and given the financial state of this city it might be prudent.[/quote]

So to be clear… you meant that these similar cities “get by” with a full time force, suplimented by an auxilliary force? I ask because what I read seemed to be you saying that most cities the size of Prince Rupert get by with a volunteer force only.

Yes, 3-5 paid, the rest auxiliary, although some are all volunteer.

And they don’t just “get by”, they do very well when called upon.

The standard is 3 full-time professionals on duty, 24/7. Any less than that and insurance will be more expensive.

So any perceived savings on your taxes will be eaten up by more expensive house insurance.

Looking back at the previous posts, one person said that there is usually only 3 firemen on shift and the excerpt that Mig posted said that there are only 13 firefighters at present. I don’t know how the labour is divided but it sounds like they are running at a bare minimum of full time staff with only 4 volunteers. Crazy horse said 3-5 paid with the rest volunteer. Do you mean 3-5 on shift? Im wondering what is the rationale behind staffing 3-5 in total or on shift at a time. I understand that if what Mig says is correct then insurance is affected but is there any other standard?

No, 3 or 4 full time firefighters total, not per shift. And I can tell you first hand that I have lived in a community with a much drier climate and a 100% volunteer FD and my fire insurance was cheap. Like I said before, as long as we had a fire hydrant close by our premium was very low.

If you lived in a community with 100% volunteer fire department (ie: no career, professional firefighters at all) then you were paying higher insurance rates than you would have been paying if you had a fire department with 3 career, professional firefighters on duty 24/7.

The insurance guy I know pointed me to this:

You would have had a DPG of 3 or 4.

[quote]Fire Force

For each fire hall with a Dwelling Protection Grade 1, the credited available responding fire force will include at a minimum:

3 career fire fighters on duty 24 hrs/day, 365 days/year
1 Fire Chief (required to respond but not required to be on-duty)[/quote]

And he said that any less than 3 full-time on duty 24/7 will mean higher insurance, since you’re not in a “grade 1” area. And the difference between a 1 and a 3 or 4 can be hundreds of dollars (depending on how much your policy is for).

But hey, maybe the insurance guy is wrong. Maybe the Fire Underwriter Survey guys are wrong. And maybe I’m out to lunch, as Saltybear insists.

You’re not out to lunch, I just don’t know if the difference in premium is all that much. I have lived in communities that would have been rated 1-3A according to that survey and the difference I paid in premiums between them was $100/yr.

Something doesn’t add up.

You said you lived in a community with “100% volunteer FD and my fire insurance was cheap.”

Then you said that the difference was $100/year.

According to the DPG linked above, your community would have had a DPG of 4. i.e.: everything a “3A or 3B” would have had, but “100% volunteer FD” means no professionals at all, right? So that would put you at a 4 (meets all the DPG 3B criteria, except one).

The difference between a DPG of 1 and 4 is not $100/year, UNLESS, you were insuring something for $10,000 or so.

According to the Fire Underwriter’s Survey, here’s an average of 4 insurance quotes for British Columbia, on a sample property (built 1980, 1000sq ft, 3bdrm, 2 baths, $125,000).

This is the average of 4 different insurance companies:

Scenario 1: DPG 1 (3 full-time firefighters 24/7): $450/year
Scenario 2: DPG 2 (1 full-time firefighter 24/7, and a chief, rest auxiliary): $736/year
Scenario 3: DPG 3 (1 full-time professional chief-not on duty, rest auxiliary): $1,396/year

(numbers taken from a FUS presentation to BC municipalities, I’ll send it to you if you’d like, or you can google it.)

So even in the best case scenario of DPG 3, you’re talking more than triple the insurance rates. But like you said, you lived in a community with “100% volunteer FD” – so that’s DPG 4 (since there’s no professional chief). So your rates would have been even higher than just triple.

So here’s what I’m thinking: you weren’t living in a community with “100% volunteer FD”. You were in a community that had professional firefighers, and you didn’t know it. (ie: they had one professional on at all times, or had a professional chief). Or you were covered by another professional department, and you didn’t know it. Or some other mistake like that. No reason to think that you’re just making up stuff.

The bottom line is that anything less than 3 full-time firefighters on duty 24/7, and your insurance rates will be significantly higher. There’s no arguing that.

Hey, this is NOT rocket science…A volunteer dept usually has one or two full time firemen,and the rest are all volunteers,that is why they have so many ,three or four may be needed for a call but there may be 25 volunteers.A full time dept as in Nelson,pop 10-12 thousand,has a chief,deputy and 6 firemen also 20+ auxiliary members to back up the full timers.As for insurance rates,I have talked to ins co’s in Smithers and a couple of other towns that have volunteer depts and we were higher!If we are going to bring city spending under control we have to start looking at what other cities are doing.We did have a full complement of aux members a few years back,as many as 30 at one time,and of course our pop was near 20,000.As for the calls they attend,every fender bender is counted as an incident.They do a report on how many we fire calls and how many cats they plucked from a tree!BS.

Hey MIG,

I crawled that link you added about the insurance ratings, and there is some interesting stuff there. It says that 90% of the insurance companies reference this survey when they set the rates for different communities. It doesn’t say how they set the rates because this would reveal how they make their money and insurance companies are not in that business to lose profits.

Does anyone know what Prince Rupert is graded at?

Also, it looks like the survey gives a 30% consideration for water supplies, but gives 40% consideration to apparatus, manpower, training, etc. There is a lot of interesting info on that link.

I found a similar discussion in a thread that’s a couple of years old. Saltybear had the some of the same complaints which were actually replied to by a fireman. Good info.


Mig, there is something wrong with your numbers. What I said was of all the communities I have lived in spanning the whole spectrum of Volunteer to full time paid, my annual insurance has not varied by more than $100/yr.

Also. I don’t know where you get those rates from. As an example I lived in a home assessed at $280,000 in an all volunteer FD community. My entire annual home insurance was about $660 per year. That includes fire, theft, water damage, vandalism etc.

Maybe not all insurance companies use that survey. I have used the same insurer for 11 years, and when I moved to the area I got a quote from the local insurance company in the mall and it was out to lunch so I stuck with my current company. The only thing of note on my policy is that I am within 300m of a hydrant, there is no smoking in the house, and the fireplace passed an inspection.

The firefighter who is retireing worked there for 35 years and he is happy to be going being a firefighter is not easy it takes alot of hard work and the body just cant take it.The guys are great there im really proud of them as when i started with the city they did also,i hope for the best for them as we move on with our lives i hope more young guys come along and train as firefighters.

Enough of this auxiliary this, auxiliary that. You know back when our Fire Dept. had auxiliary members, they’d start off with 5 at the beginning at year. At the end, they’d have maybe 1 left. Not enough “excitement” for them. The thing is, people aren’t willing to work for free, under the circumstances any more. We have to adapt to the changing world.

So guns and whatever,I take it YOU are a fireman(who does not know what he is talking about)we had a FULL compliment of aux firemen in the past,I don’t know where you are talking about but All other fire dept’s around the province have Aux members,even Terrace has over 20,so what makes you think we can’t do the same? I think it is the attitude of the local dept that is the problem!!!

“…we had a FULL compliment of aux firemen in the past…”

Sounds like you are speaking as a past Auxiliary member. Maybe you never made the cut to promote to full time when the job came up. Is that where this anger comes from?

Hate to say it, but with that kind of attitude, there is not much hope for you being a Wal-Mart greeter this fall either (although you probably are the right age for it). Even the greeters job is not volunteer and you have to be nice occasionally. When they open the doors, you’ll probably start bashing that job on HTMF too.

Damn happy people, they’ll be the end of our society as we know it!!!

The issue of the past auxiliary firemen was brought up in the previous thread that I linked earlier. It was pointed out by a fireman that they were cut in the past to save money because they weren’t being used. Guns and hoses seems to be “in the know” as well so maybe you should start listening to those who are close to the situation rather than pretending you have all the answers.

Again, I’m not a fire expert, or an insurance expert. I just read the website like everybody else.

But the conclusion that I’ve come to by reading this stuff, and viewing the presentations, is that the better the fire protection, the lower the insurance rates. I think this is directly in opposition to the other people in this thread, who are suggesting that having less fire protection means lower insurance rates.

Here’s the presentation I quoted above, in animated gif format.

having less fire fighters doesnt mean lower insurance? Odd I thought living in the middle of a tinder dry forest right on a river bank that happens to also be on a fault line in tornado alley that is subject to terrorist attacks with no police, fire, ambulance, or hospital services was where you would get the cheapest insurance.

I for one, could not meet the requirements for a firefighter paid or volunteer, would any of you that are for auxiliary fire people care to sign up? Oh wait … there is no one signing up … wonder why? Years ago ( more than 25) we have a large compliment of auxilary firemen ( then all men) if I remember correctly WCB and insurance and the general demise of being “volunterred out” stopped this program. It had nothing to do with " the attitude" etc that salty bear refers to. I for one having experienced a fire am glad to have the experts handle things. Perhaps there are people out there who would like to be volunteer firepeople ggod for them. Having known someone who lost their home in the interior as they were out of the local jursidiction ( it was a volunteer fire dept) I think our money is well spent on the services that we currently have. I think that we do need to trim the budgets … in a fiscally responsbile manner but don’t think having a volunteer fire dept is the way to go. If I was a fire volunteer and I had the day off … and was out of town and there was a big fire … “oh well” would not cut it for the people who lost their houses to a fire. I am a huge community volunteer but no my limitations. Salty Bear … are you signing up!!