Turns out we need more firefighters, too — though maybe what we really need are paramedics
We also need a Zellers but I guess that's too much to ask
Between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, 2022, Prince George Fire Rescue responded to 8,931 calls for service – more than the record 8,087 calls the department responded to in all of 2021. Between 2015 and 2020, Prince George fire fighters received an average of 5,971.7 calls per year, according to a report presented to the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George board of directors on Dec. 15.
Of the 8,931 calls the department responded to from Jan. 1 to Nov. 30, 2022, 5,385 were medical call-outs, 2,361 were fire-related, 561 were rescues and 624 were administrative.
The fire department responded to 956 calls in November alone, the equivalent of one call every 45 minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
What strikes me as noteworthy is the number of medical calls. Firefighters are, of course, supposed to fight fires while paramedics should be going to medical calls. But paramedics say they are overworked and underpaid (disclosure: I am the child of a retired paramedic) and there have been multiple stories over the years about the lack of paramedics in the Prince George region compared to the city’s needs.
And let’s not forget: While the city pays for firefighting services, it’s the province that’s supposed to pay for ambulances and this is what is meant when people in local politics talk about higher levels of government downloading costs onto municipalities. Indeed, from the aforementioned police report:
“While beyond the scope of this study, it appears that the municipality is subsidizing the lack of provincial resources in the community, e.g., many of the calls attended by the Fire & Rescue service are medically related.
“Municipal Council should consider whether responding to medical calls for service should be within the purview of the Fire & Rescue service. If this agency is going to respond, consideration might be given to invoicing the province for the costs of doing so, e.g., attending overdose calls for service.”
It’s not a given that firefighters will attend medical calls. In some communities, the fire department doesn’t provide medical assistance for fear of mission creep. And that’s something Prince George may have to start doing, as well, with the director of public safety Adam Davey saying at a recent meeting: “The city may have to manage service level expectation… I am not sure how long we can retain the current service levels.”
The budget is being set out over the course of next month, meanwhile there are talks between the province and the paramedics union over coming up with a new contract.
“I did not give you f#%&!@* permission to print my house photo and address”
Also in the Citizen an… odd… followup to their writeup of the ten most valuable properties in the city. The addresses, which came via a media release from B.C. Assessment, were compiled in a short writeup along with publicly-available photos from the same site. However, the owner of most-valuable-house number nine was not, too pleased:
“Hi, please remove the article about most valuable houses. I did not give you f#%&!@* permission to print my house photo and address. I am so angry at the trash you put out. You will hear from my f#%&!@* lawyers and your sh%# editor.
They also wrote to the National NewsMedia Council which some organizations voluntarily are parts of in order to have outside eyes making sure they are following journalistic standards when such a complaint is made. They noted that all of the information the Citizen printed is public and found no breach occurred.
Support the news!
I’m gonna remind you here that while I write pithy summaries, it’s the folks at the media outlets I’m linking to who are doing the legwork so it’s not a bad idea to look into how you can support them if you value local news. Here’s a link to the Citizen’s support page and here’s a couple of other original stories they’ve put out in the last 24 hours:
The B.C. government has not given up on its effort to collect more than $220,000 in allegedly foregone tax revenue, interest and penalty from the sale of "coloured fuel" at a Prince George gas station.
This stuff doesn’t come from nowhere — it takes people doing paid work. For your consideration.
OK, here’s what else is up:
More blame game on forestry job losses: No surprise, B.C. Liberal leader Kevin Falcon sis focused on the NDP’s role role while his jobs critic Todd Stone gets ratioed on Twitter by people recalling Liberal policies that contributed to the current problem. He was willing to admit that maybe some of his party’s past policies weren’t the greatest but, still, it’s the NDP’s problem now. At the Natural Resources Forum in Prince George a panel of forestry professionals talked about the industry’s future while at the Truck Loggers Convention in Vancouver panelists looked to the past on how they feel we got here.
UNBC’s research income hit a decade-long high, to more than $15 million.
And finally: Zellers is back but Prince George will not be getting one, for now. 25 shops are setting up inside Bay locations, including Vancouver, Surrey, Abbotsford and Kamloops but not here. It’s actually quite something when you consider that of all the depratment stores we used to have — Sears, the Bay, K-Mart (or something similar? Someone remind me), the Bay is the last one standing. Here’s their 1997 newspaper advertisement for their grand opening at Pine Centre Mall (prior to that they were on 3rd Ave., where City Furniture/Ashley HomeStore is now):
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