The CSRD presently delivers a rural fire suppression service to over 80% of its electoral area residents. The service is provided by 13 volunteer fire departments and by service extension agreements with municipalities and First Nations. Combining the coverage provided by rural and municipal fire departments, 95% of all residents within the Columbia Shuswap Regional District boundaries enjoy fire suppression service.
Some fire departments now under the auspices of the CSRD began as ambitious, community projects, depending entirely on volunteer effort and contributions. Groups and societies soon realized however, that in order to operate a fire department to insurance and safety standards, a higher and more consistent level of funding would be necessary. Subsequently, with local voter assent, the CSRD assumed the departments as a function, funded entirely through equitable taxation of residents within those fire suppression areas.
Other departments started from the ground up as a Regional District function with area taxpayers funding the acquisition of land, buildings and equipment, as well as operational costs. To ease the costs somewhat, the CSRD applied for and received provincial assistance in the form of grants usually covering up to 50% of the costs of fire hall construction.
The very first CSRD fire department was the Shuswap Volunteer Fire Department in Sorrento, assumed in 1978. The newest department is the Eagle Bay Fire Department which began service in August of 1991.
Standard Operating Guidelines are procedures that assist fire departments in order to meet their responsibilities regarding safe work practices as required by Worksafe BC. The CSRD's Fire Services Standard Operating Guidelines (SOGs) were recently updated in March 2014, to meet the current regulatory requirements. The CSRD will conduct a formal review of the SOG's every five years and will supplement the existing SOGs with new guidelines on an on-going basis as required.
|CSRD Standard Operating Guidelines 2014||Link|
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