Renfrew – Beginning in 2024, Renfrew firefighters will receive dispatch orders over the internet, and those orders will originate from the Brockville Fire Department and not from the local Renfrew Central Ambulance Communications Centre (CCAC) after the current contract expires on December 31, 2023.
During a special meeting of council, members approved a three-year deal with the Brockville Fire Department that will include not only internet-based dispatch orders, but the new system will also record all aspects of the dispatch process. Currently, the calls from primary dispatchers to the local CACC team are recorded, but the tactical channels used by Renfrew firefighters when receiving and responding to a call are not.
Director of Fire and Emergency Services, Chief Mike Guest, explained the current system through the CCAC has quite a few different steps, using the radio tower in Foymount to relay instructions between the primary dispatchers, local dispatchers and firefighters.
He said the Brockville model receives the dispatch call and immediately sends the call out to the firefighters via the internet and it is not bounced around between the different parties. In addition to the direct link, the system runs on two servers. The second server is a back-up in the event the first server has technical issues.
In his report, he stressed the new system will remove the many points of failure in place within the current dispatch system. He highlighted the fact that firefighters can only verify they’re on the way to a call by paging the dispatchers back. He added the new system will record all parts of the dispatch process for accountability purposes.
Chief Guest informed council there will be an initial cost incurred by the town of $29,600, which includes all necessary system components. Renfrew will also be invoiced $26,058.76 in 2024 for the new dispatch equipment purchased by the County of Renfrew.
The first year of the contract will have costs set at $30,000 and increase to $49,368 in the second year. The final year is set at $51,988.
The chief said some neighbouring municipalities have been working with the Brockville Fire Department since 2018 and are extremely satisfied with the level of service provided.
Bruce McIntyre, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader