Increased remuneration for firefighters on the table for RDCK

The Regional District of Central Kootenay is considering increased remuneration for firefighters as part of the 2018 budget.

CAO Stuart Horn says The RDCK currently has more than 400 volunteer firefighters who work out of 18 fire departments across the region. 

Each Director is responsible for setting their own remuneration budgets for their fire services, in consultation with their Fire Chiefs but that's led to a lack for consistency across the region when it comes to the costs for training, call out's, on call requirements, and salaries and stipends.

And things have changed over the years, when departments were first put into place it had to do with reducing insurance rates.

Horn says 10 years ago, fire departments were staffed with volunteers who spent a few hours a week training on top of going to emergency calls/

Now volunteer firefighters spend 6 to 8 hours a week training, and they're required to meet the same standards as career firefighters, plus the volume of calls has gone up.

Budget will be set individually this year, but the board has directed staff to look at something that can be applied on a broad basis in 2019.

Horn says the first focus is on retaining the firefighters they already have, and that in the future it will help with recruitment and retention.