January 8, 2016 1:50 pm
Updated: January 8, 2016 7:05 pm

Amid heated fire station debate, Halifax also reviewing fire response times

WATCH ABOVE: Already under intense scrutiny about how it staffs fire stations, the city's fire service is pushing ahead with more potential changes. It’s put out a tender asking a consulting firm to review its standards and response times and come up with recommendations. Global's Marieke Walsh reports.


Despite the unfinished business of reorganizing some of the city’s fire stations, Halifax’s fire department is pushing ahead with its fire service review.

A request for proposals issued in December calls for a review of the department’s fire response times and the by-laws that give the department its overall mandate.

READ MORE: Dartmouth residents gather to discuss potential fire station staffing changes

The review of fire response times will evaluate the fire department’s ability to meet its current standards, and will recommend whether changes should be made to response times.

Current response times:

  • Urban areas with more than 100 people per square kilometer: response standard is six minutes from the time firefighters are alerted to the call to arrival on scene, 90 per cent of the time.
  • Rural areas staffed by volunteers with a population less than 100 people per square kilometer: response standard is 17 minutes, 90 per cent of the time.
  • Rural areas staffed by career firefighters: response time is 12 minutes, 90 per cent of the time.

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The review is needed in part because the city doesn’t have a clear idea of how often its meeting its rural response times and what the variance is for how long it takes firefighters to respond, said Spokesperson Brendan Elliott.

READ MORE: Firefighters’ union decries proposal to cut Halifax fire stations

Councillors approved the funding for a report on Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency’s services and response times in March 2015.

The tender also requires the winning company to develop a phased in implementation plan for the recommendations. The tender closes next week and the full report is due back in March of this year.

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