Shortage of firefighters could mean rising insurance rates for some Shuswap residents

Click to play video: 'North Shuswap communities face critical shortage of firefighters'
North Shuswap communities face critical shortage of firefighters
North Shuswap communities face critical shortage of firefighters – Feb 17, 2020

A B.C. regional district is warning residents of the Shuswap communities of Scotch Creek and Lee Creek that their fire department is short on firefighters and that could mean rising costs for residents.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District said this week the Scotch Creek/Lee Creek Fire Department is “currently below mandatory levels of firefighters” and the situation could jeopardize “critical accreditation that dramatically reduce the insurance rates” for property owners in the area.

The regional district said if it can’t recruit more paid, on-call firefighters, the service area is in danger of losing its Superior Tanker Shuttle Accreditation, which brings down insurance rates.

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The regional government said the accreditation in question shows “the fire department has the capacity to flow significant water in a short amount of time and maintain that flow indefinitely.”

While the regional district said the local fire department is still able to maintain “adequate response times” by calling on firefighters from a neighbouring community in emergencies, it would like to get the Scotch Creek/Lee Creek Fire Department’s numbers back up.

“The volunteer firefighters we have are truly dedicated to the safety of their community and they are working very diligently to ensure the community has a good emergency response every time a call comes in. We don’t want to burn out those hard-working volunteers,” the regional district’s head of protective services Derek Sutherland said in a media release.

The regional district has set up a website to recruit new firefighters.

The Scotch Creek and Lee Creek areas are located northeast of Chase in B.C.’s Shuswap region.

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