If you call a fire dispatcher on Central Vancouver Island you’ll no longer be speaking with a Vancouver Island call-taker.
Until Tuesday if you called in a fire on central Vancouver Island you would’ve spoken with a dispatcher working within Nanaimo’s Number One Fire Hall. That ended with this final dispatch.
“This is Central Island Fire comm dispatcher one. This is your last page. Remember we are family. Be safe. Have each other’s backs. Show kindness and continue to serve your communities with pride and respect. Central Island signing off. Dispatch clear.”
The City of Nanaimo and part of the Regional District of Nanaimo between Cedar and Lantzville decided to move the service to Surrey Fire Regional Dispatch starting July 1.
It says the move is estimated to save $3.5 million in avoided technology upgrades and operating expenses over a 5-year period.
“Because of the interest of our other partners in outsourcing to other places it really left the city with no choice and the logical choice was Surrey. It will provide effective service. It will save us potentially significant cost along the way,” said Leonard Krog, Nanaimo’s mayor.
North Cedar Fire Department’s Chief says he’ll miss the relationships he’s developed with the Nanaimo-based dispatchers.
“You get to know who you’re talking to when you’re communicating and vice versa from their end of it so you gain a lot of confidence in those dispatchers when they’re performing their duties. You know they basically got your back on a call so we’ll miss that for sure,” said Percy Tipping.
Chief Tipping says there will likely be a learning curve as Surrey dispatchers learn the region’s proper pronunciations.
The Central Island dispatch partnership was formed in 1994.
“We are very saddened to lose our dispatchers and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff that worked for our dispatch centre over the last number of years,” said Chief Tim Doyle with Nanaimo Fire Rescue.
The transition means eight full-time and three relief dispatchers lost their jobs.