The moment you call 9-1-1, our job begins. Whether it's a fire, medical incident, hazardous material incident, rescue situation, or natural disaster, we are trained and ready to respond. Nanaimo Fire Rescue has 71 career firefighters and approximately 85 paid on call firefighters who handle over 5600 incidents per year.
A common perception is that a firefighter's primary tools are a fire hose and ax. The reality is that 61% of our incidents in 2008 were medical incidents. Because medical incidents constitute the highest percentage of our emergency calls, each of our firefighters is certified as a first responder. The First Responder program is designed to take care of the patient until BCAS arrives. This ensures that our community receives the highest level of emergency medical care within minutes.
Nanaimo Fire Rescue also handles incidents requiring specialized skills and equipment including hazardous materials incidents and specialty rescue. Our Technical Rescue team specializes in trench and confined space rescues, rope rescue and building collapse. Our Auto Extrication team specializes in vehicle entrapment using the safest and fastest procedures possible. Being the Harbour City poses a number of public safety challenges that affect department marine operations.
Constant drills and training are fundamental to effective emergency response. Our demanding and comprehensive training program prepares our firefighters to make critical decisions based on finely-honed skills and judgement.
Modern technology enhances our ability to handle emergencies. Thermal imaging cameras that allow firefighters to 'see' where the fire is inside a wall is just one piece of technology in the firefighter's toolbelt.