Command vehicle given to fire department

Joint use with Sooke RCMP planned for donated command/communications vehicle

Sooke Fire Chief Steve Sorensen.

It is hoped it will never been needed but the Sooke Fire Department will soon have a mobile command post/communications unit.

The Langford Fire Department is gifting a used 1981 GMC vehicle to Sooke. While the vehicle is free, there are costs associated with running and maintaining it. A new line item in the budget would need to be created of approximately $1,500 per year. The costs would have to come from the Sooke Emergency Program.

The report to council states the 32-year-old vehicle has been well maintained and serviced regularly, although there would be no communication equipment in the truck. The report to council also states that the Sooke Emergency Program amateur radio group already has the majority of the equipment needed. The group has volunteered their services to outfit the command unit.

Currently the fire department utilizes a folding tent because the old rescue truck is really awkward to use.

“The tent is great in the summer but it sucks in the winter,” said Sorensen.

Sooke Fire Chief Steve Sorensen said if the district didn’t want the vehicle it could be offered to the RCMP to use as a command post.

RCMP Staff Sergeant Steve Wright stated the vehicle would provide privacy for victims in situations such as accidents and was strongly in favour of the acquisition.

Questions arose from council as to need for such a vehicle and the associated costs. Discussion also ensued on the fire department fleet and whether this vehicle would add another vehicle which in time would have to be replaced in their 20-year vehicle replacement plan.

Councillor Herb Haldane said he didn’t support the acquisition and stated the RCMP could take it on. Other councillors were concerned about the ongoing cost.

Mayor Wendal Milne said he was willing to support the acquisition providing it replaced the old rescue truck.

The fire department will continue to use the Sunriver muster station for the volunteer fire fighters for the next year and then the use will be reviewed. The fire department is utilizing the existing Fire Safety House to house their turnout gear.

Fire Chief Sorensen said the addition of the muster station has raised morale among the volunteer fire fighters and has helped somewhat with recruitment and retention of volunteers.

There are no financial impacts in maintaining the muster station, although there was mention that this could be the first step to a permanent fire hall in Sunriver.

Complete Council Briefs are online at: www.sookenewsmirror.com.