Grand Forks’ fire department responded to over 100 more fire-related calls last year than in 2019, according to yearly statistics shared by chief George Seigler. Meanwhile, the department went out to 80 fewer calls to assist BC Ambulance crews.
Of the 391 dispatch calls to Grand Forks Fire/Rescue in 2020, Seigler said that 299 were related to fires, fire alarms and burn complaints, a 63 per cent increase over the 189 fire calls in 2019. Seigler said it wasn’t immediately clear what factors contributed to the surge.
Calls to help ambulance crews fell by nearly two-thirds, 125 in 2019 to 45 2020. The decline reflects a change to the department’s clinical response model Seigler said was designed to limit first responders to potential exposures to COVID-19. Grand Forks Fire/Rescue now assists with fewer and more serious categories of ambulance call-outs, he said.
There has been no change to the way volunteer firefighters handle medical emergencies at fire and rescue calls, he noted.