When I was 8 years old, my family and I experienced a house fire in the middle of the night. The home was a complete loss, and the 4 of us narrowly made it out. First hand, I know how fast a fire moves and how every second counts.
This would have been a very different story if response times had been even a minute longer. That was 30 years ago, and house fires burn faster and hotter now; 30 years ago, you had up to 17 minutes to escape a house fire; now, you have three to four minutes to get out.
Industry Standards for Public Safety
On our Langley Township of Langley Firefighters IAFF Local 4550 Facebook page, you can view a posted youtube video highlighting the Industry standard for Fire Departments Safe Staffing. This short informative video shares the international standards based on scientific evidence and research. (NFPA 1710).
It highlights the 3 main guidelines:
- It takes a minimum of 15 firefighters for a house fire.
- A minimum crew of 4 per fire truck.
- The quicker the response time, the better the outcome for everyone.
Currently, the Township has only 4 career halls responding to calls.
Brookswood residents do not have a career hall and are experiencing an average fire department response time of 13.5 min.
Fort Langley residents do not have a career hall and are experiencing an average fire department response time of almost 13 min.
Murrayville residents are covered by full-time career staff with an average urban response time of under 8 minutes.
A fire can double in size every 30 seconds. Every minute is crucial.
The industry standards recommend 1 Fire Fighter per 1000 residents; currently, the TOL has 1 Fire Fighter per 1542 residents.
The Township of Langley provides the same staffing levels as we did in 2010 while the population has grown from 105,000 residents to 140,000.
Our firefighters need to be supported, and I will make this a priority to ensure this issue stays at the forefront and see the Township move closer to the industry standards.
Public safety must be a priority.