The number of calls the Vernon Fire and Rescue Services (VFRS) has responded to has jumped significantly in past four years, VFRS deputy fire Chief Scott Hemstad said.
“As of Oct. 7, we were at 3,057 calls,” Hemstad said, noting VFRS is on track to end the year with upwards of 4,000 calls—nearly doubling the total number of calls from four years ago.
In 2015, the department responded to 2,447 calls.
“Part of the increase is just population growth,” Hemstad said.
Hemstad said this year alone, 165 calls were for fire—53 burning complaints, 33 car fires, three chimney fires, 37 minor fires, 20 structure fires and 19 wildfires.
He said another reason why the number of calls is increasing is because BC Ambulance Service has changed its response model and the criteria for how assistance is requested from fire departments.
But it’s not just ambulance requests and fire calls the department is responding to.
The fire department also responds to all kinds of alarm calls, multi-vehicle accidents, RCMP incidents, assisting the public, smoke investigations and elevator rescues, to name a few.
Of the 2,447 calls VFRS responded to in 2015, 157 were for fire calls. The department responded to 2,671 calls in 2016; 174 were fire calls. In 2015, 157 of the total 2,965 were fire calls.