A new team working across municipal boundaries promises to increase safety while reducing costs.
Sidney, North Saanich and Central Saanich have joined hands to form a tri-municipal team, operational since Oct. 1, to perform what experts call rare but high-risk confined space rescues, according to a press release from the Town of Sidney.
Sidney Volunteer Fire Department Chief Brett Mikkelsen said the formation of this specialized team builds on existing mutual and automatic aid services.
“Population growth, along with denser and more complex buildings, create challenges that all three fire departments must address,” he said. “Working together is one way we can increase our response capability without increasing costs.”
Confined space rescues see professionals lowered into a confined space if necessary, monitoring air quality for hazardous substances and sufficient oxygen. Such rescues are likely to happen in municipal infrastructure such as below-ground valve boxes and lift stations or industrial settings such as ship holds, storage tanks and cisterns, according to the release. Incidents can also occur around wells, crawl spaces and cellars among other scenarios, it reads.
Work on this joint team dates back to 2019, when the three fire departments decided to shift away from maintaining individual confined space teams to jointly fund and staff a team to increase response capabilities without increasing costs to residents. Training for team members resumed in 2022 after fire departments had temporarily stopped the work to focus on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Town of Sidney administers the program through the mutual aid, automatic aid and shared services agreement with North Saanich and Central Saanich.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.