The Vernon local of the BC Professional Firefighters Association says it will do what it can to keep the city’s fire dispatch service local.
The City of Vernon is looking into outsourcing the service, which could save $250-thousand dollars a year from the current $549,000 cost, but would come at the cost of four dispatchers.
BCPFFA local 1517 President Brent Bond says as part of their collective agreement they get a chance to submit input.
“We give the city information that we can provide the same level of service at cost and/or efficiency savings to the taxpayers, and that’s what we will be doing over the next while,” Bond tells Kiss FM.
Bond is concerned contracting-out will impact the quality of service.
“If they do decide to source out these jobs, we lose that local knowledge. And that is probably the biggest contributing factor in having an effective dispatch is having that local knowledge.”
Bond did not want to give specific examples, but says there has been issues with the Regional District of North Okanagan using the Fraser Valley Regional District in Chilliwack for its fire dispatch.
“We’ve received numerous calls for calls that are in their area that they don’t realize are not in the City of Vernon. So our dispatchers then have to assist their dispatch in letting them know where that call is and sending out the right fire department. And that creates a delay,” says Bond.
The City has not committed to contracting out the service, but has put out a request for proposals.
“We know they will find a cheaper service, however, you get what you pay for, and the service level will not be the same,” concludes Bond.
Photo: Brent Bond, Vernon local president with BC Professional Firefighters Association.