Castlegar’s emergency operations centre is located in the fire hall. Photo: Betsy Kline

Castlegar’s emergency operations centre is located in the fire hall. Photo: Betsy Kline

Castlegar Fire Department restarting inspections and training

Businesses aren’t the only ones rolling out new plans for Phase 2 of B.C.’s restart plan. The Castlegar Fire Depart is gearing up as well.

While the fire department has still been responding to emergency calls and fulfilling their first responder duties throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, they had to stop some of their other services.

Phase 2 of the province’s restart plan will allow the department to get back to the task of inspecting buildings for fire safety infractions.

Fire chief Sam Lattanzio says the department inspects between 250 and 300 buildings a year. After the two-month curtailment of inspections, they are going to have a lot to catch up on.

Lattanzio says they are also going to be able to get back to in-person training. Fire department members are normally constantly training to upgrade their skills, but COVID restrictions have kept training to only what can be done virtually.

The department has noticed a decline in calls during the pandemic, but Lattanzio expects the volume will increase again as more things begin to open up.

RELATED: Castlegar Fire Department sees decline in calls during COVID-19 crisis

Lattanzio and deputy fire chiefs Duane Monson and Nick Ahlefeld fire chiefs have also been fulfilling roles as part of the city’s emergency operations centre.

As always, the department will also continue to monitor and issue tickets for fire-related bylaw infractions. Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, the department has issued nine tickets to residents for violating the open burning ban.

RELATED: Burning banned in Castlegar and surrounding area

For the time being, the department will not be restarting its educational and outreach programs and the fire hall will remained closed to the public.

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