Nanaimo Fire Rescue’s call volume continues to rise from 2022


Nanaimo Fire Rescue is seeing continued high call volumes as it nears the addition of 20 new firefighters.

On Thursday the department experienced another day exceeding 40 calls in a single 24-hour period.

“We’re extremely busy. I mean year after year our call volume continues to climb, especially in the downtown core where we’re at,” said Captain Tom Krall, with Nanaimo Fire Rescue.

Krall says it’s increasing exponentially and many of the calls in the downtown firehall relate to the drug addicted.

Friday morning the city lost another person to a suspected drug overdose.

In December Nanaimo’s Fire Rescue’s chief said call volumes were up 30 percent in 2022 and if call volumes continued to rise at the same rate.

“NFR will exceed 12,000 incidents by the end of next year which we were predicted to reach two decades from now,” said Chief Tim Doyle, in a report to Nanaimo City Council on December 2nd.

A Victoria Road resident says she sees emergency responses across the street from her home every day, sometimes five times a day which is much more than in past years.

“Obviously, we have unsafe drug supplies going around and that’s the problem that needs to be dealt with,” said Marina Vanderveen.

The Nanaimo Area Public Safety Association says all levels of government need to respond in a fulsome way.

“In order to address these issues we have to look at all three of the mental health and addictions crisis, a housing and affordability crisis and a law enforcement and judicial crisis all at the same time. We can’t pick and choose and have menu of half measures by our elected officials. This is an emergency,” said Collen Middleton, the Association’s President.

Nanaimo’s mayor says the higher firefighter call volumes were the reason city council approved the hiring of 40 firefighters between this year and 2025.

“It confirms that council made the right decision around hiring more firefighters. It’s necessary. Public safety demands it and as I always remind people I like council to its knitting and our knitting is provision of fire services to pay for policing to look after water and sewer and garbage and keep our parks welcoming places for people,” said Leonard Krog.

20 new firefighters join Nanaimo Fire Rescue this summer, to help relieve the firefighters working in Nanaimo’s downtown.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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