Q18: 20 Questions for Langley Township Council candidates

Rick Green (for MAYOR) – We should move immediately to make the Township compliant with WCB / Worksafe BC rules of four man crews. That will require some funding however I believe we can find that funding out of our existing budget.

Petrina Arnason – YES  With increased density there is a need for more firefighters and this needs to be included in the budget to ensure that we are meeting Worksafe and other legislated standards.

David Davis – Yes. This is a public safety issue and our population is continuing to grow.

Bev Dornan – Yes, as the municipality grows, this will need to be addressed, but hopefully some of this can be handled by increased tax revenue.

Clint Lee – Yes, operating with three instead of four-person crews is below industry standards and increases the risk to firefighters. It can also mean longer wait times before firefighters can enter a burning building, because a three-man crew is too small to meet a “two in, two out” WCB safety rule that forbids them from going in alone. A four-person fire crew has one supervisor and one person in charge of equipment, which leaves two available for entry. On the other hand, a three-person crew doesn’t allow for safe operation and requires a crew to go into a defensive mode by waiting for backup. In a defensive mode, valuable time is wasted. We don’t expect our other employees to work in unsafe working conditions so why would we expect our fire department?

Zoshia Ettenberg – Yes, we need to meet the minimum standard which currently we do not. Ideally we should be able to do it without a tax increase.

Charlie Fox – Yes, to complete the WCB allocation and the full complement for four man crews.

Patricia Lessard – I DON’T KNOW, I do believe we should be focused on reaching the recommended national standards.  I will advocate for implementing a strategic plan for the Township and the issues of firefighters would be in that plan.

Bob Long – Yes – I can’t see any way to hire more firefighters without increasing the budget.

Jackie Mandzak – Yes. I will say this with the caveat that the money should be looked for elsewhere before any tax increase is considered.  If we are to have professional firefighters, and if we are to ensure that they uphold WCB regulations for four man crews, then we have to find a way to make this happen. Public safety is not something that we should be cutting corners on. Closer scrutiny of the budget to find savings in other ways must happen prior to any tax increase proposal.

Kevin Mitchell – NO.  The issue today is that the existing full time firefighters have been without a contract for five years. This must get resolved first before any additional firefighters are added to the budget.  The on-call program appears to be working well and four of the halls are already full time.

Scott Nichols – Yes. They are not NFPA 1710 (National Fire Protection Association) standard compliant and WCB standard at the present time.  The standard is for (4) man crews. The Township fire halls often only have (3) man crews.

Angie Quaale – Yes. We must be in compliance with the law and we need to make sure our first responders are safe while they are protecting us.

Kim Richter – YES. In my opinion, the number one reason why any community has a municipal government is to ensure public safety. If more firefighters are needed to keep this community safe, then we should be hiring more firefighters. I especially want to see our firefighters get advanced EMS training to better serve the “first responder” needs in Langley Township.

Kerri Ross – With increased Development Cost Charges (DCC’s), and the creation of Amenity Cost Charges (ACC’s) there should be adequate funding available from present taxes to hire and fulfill the required staffing levels.  

Michelle Sparrow – Yes. Unfortunately in 2006, when the TOL Fire Department transitioned to fulltime fire fighters it was staffed with insufficient members to meet WCB and NFPA standards and it has been a game of catch up ever since. This needs to be addressed for the safely of our residents as well as the members of the Fire Department. 

Blair Whitmarsh – Yes/No – I am committed to a strategy that increases the number of firefighters in Langley within a fiscally responsible budget. 

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