The Castlegar Fire Department has responded to fewer calls during the COVID-19 crisis. File photo

The Castlegar Fire Department has responded to fewer calls during the COVID-19 crisis. File photo

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

Calls have dropped by 17 per cent when comparing start of 2019 and 2020

The Castlegar Fire Department has reported a decline in vehicle and medical incident calls during the COVID-19 crisis.

Compared to 2019 through May 4, fire chief Sam Lattanzio said calls have dropped 17 per cent, from 247 calls to 204 calls.

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The temporary shutdown of the West Kootenay Regional Airport is likely one contributor to the decline in calls, stated Lattanzio, particularly since fewer people are driving to and from the airport daily.

A decision on March 31 by the provincial health officer to restrict B.C. firefighters from attending medical emergency calls — except the most serious calls where a patient’s life is at risk — also contributed to the decline in calls at the Castlegar Fire Department. That restriction was lifted on April 21.

The Castlegar Fire Department has had to adjust its operations during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We’ve had to suspend our face-to-face training each week early on. We’ve since started doing our remote training through Zoom and have been doing online webinars,” said Lattanzio.

The department has also stepped up cleaning efforts on its equipment during COVID-19.

Lattanzio said he hopes to resume smaller group training exercises at the department after the May long weekend.


@connortrembley
connor.trembley@castlegarnews.com

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