Kirkland Lake fire dispatch services is entering into a three-year agreement with the Timmins Police 911 Communications Centre.
While dispatch services for Kirkland Lake Fire Services is currently being provided by North Bay Central Ambulance Communications Centre, the agreement between the two expires this year.
During Kirkland Lake’s council meeting on Tuesday (Aug. 14), council members unanimously approved a new agreement that will see the fire dispatch services being done by Timmin Police. The three-year term starts Sept. 1 and ends Dec. 31, 2026.
The Timmins Police Services Board approved the item at its Aug. 10 meeting.
Although the change will cost the town $24,750, Coun. Rick Owen said it will be well worth it.
“Usually I’m the one saying let’s spend less money, but I know in my own family there was a recent fire and my daughter was not happy with the way that 911 handled it,” he said.
“She was in shock at the time and I don't think they did anything wrong, but nonetheless, when it comes to the safety of the public and safety of our professional and volunteer firefighters, yes, it’s a drastic increase, but I'm more than willing to recommend we spend it,” he said.
The annual cost is based on population and works out to $40,920 per year until Dec. 31, 2024. For 2025-26, the per capita charge increases from 44 cents to 46 cents per person per month, for a total of $42,780 a year.
The Timmins Police 911 Communications Centre offers dispatching for police, ambulance and fire.
It's currently doing fire dispatch for 18 communities, making Kirkland Lake its 19th.
From 2018 to 2021, the centre had between 1,517 and 1,793 fire calls per year, according to the Timmins Police Service's annual reports. The annual report for 2022 is not available yet.
Timmins Police Chief Dan Foy said the centre has the capacity for additional calls from Kirkland Lake.
Meeting the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards for dispatchers and an increase in the number of fire calls are a couple of reasons for Kirkland Lake looking at other options for its dispatching.
“Given the increase in call volume, the need for enhanced safety of firefighters, and to meet heightened regulations, switching to dispatch services provided by the Timmins Police Services is recommended. Given the high level of training necessary as well as the need for ongoing skills upgrading, it is more cost effective to contract dispatch services with Timmins Police Services than to create these services in Kirkland Lake,” noted Fire Chief Earl Grigg in a report to council.
“The communication technology and the services provided by Timmins Police Services will enhance the safety of firefighters and meet the growing demands of a modern fire services department.”
Watch the full meeting below: