What is it?
Community fire protection in the Northwest Territories (NWT) is challenging, particularly for smaller communities possessing limited equipment, capacity, and volunteers. Improvements in community fire protection require a sustained effort and effective collaboration on behalf of all key stakeholders.
Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) is working closely with partners, the Northwest Territories Fire Chiefs’ Association (NWTFCA), the Northwest Territories Association of Communities (NWTAC), Local Government Administrators of the NWT (LGANT), and Workers Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) on priority initiatives and activities identified in the NWT Community Fire Protection Plan (CFPP). The CFPP plan was developed to help guide efforts and support Community Governments towards strengthening community fire protection services for NWT residents.
Background on the CFPP
In January 2013, MACA distributed a stakeholder discussion paper to encourage constructive dialogue with a view of addressing community fire protection issues of common interest.
- NWTFCA, NWTAC, LGANT, Community Governments (Senior Administrative Officers and Fire Chiefs)
Key elements of the discussion paper:
- It identified broad gaps and deficiencies which pose risks to public safety and property;
- It described the environment in which NWT community fire departments operate;
- It proposed common language to help focus future discussion;
- It offered recommendations on what activities can address common challenges;
- It helped to inform the development of the CFPP.
In November 2013, MACA held a stakeholder planning workshop to identify strategic activities forming part of the CFPP.
In the fall of 2014, MACA met with the NWTFCA to review the CFPP and discuss priority initiatives for the remainder of 2014-2015, and the next two years.
In January 2016, The Office of the Fire Marshal met with key partners to update the Community Fire Protection Plan and create a terms of reference for a Community Fire Protection Advisory Committee.
What is the CFPP
The CFPP is a strategic work plan to enhance community fire protection measures and improve fire prevention educational awareness in NWT communities.
It includes priority initiatives mutually decided upon by key stakeholders and is aimed at developing tools and guides that will support communities with decision making.
MACA has started work on a number of activities identified in the CFPP. A key success factor will require ongoing dialogue with stakeholders and effective collaboration on community fire protection initiatives from planning through implementation.
What are we working on next?
Derelict Building Management Strategy
All communities in the NWT have derelict and abandoned buildings, which may pose a significant threat to the safety of residents. MACA will be developing a guidance document to help communities address immediate public safety risks and longer term impacts of derelict and abandoned buildings.
Standard Operating Procedures
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are a critical component of fire service operations. SOPs are written guidelines that explain what is expected and required of personnel during emergency response operations and non-emergency related activities. They provide consistency and convey operational guidance to members and ensure departmental compliance with the regulations, recognized standards and industry best practices. Fire department SOPs will vary with the level of service and response functions members are expected to carry out. MACA will be developing sample fire service SOPs to assist community fire departments and responsible officials with developing their own.
Community Fire Protection Bylaw Template
Every community has different fire protection needs and circumstances. As such, it is important that a community’s fire protection bylaw reflects those needs and is in-line with local capacity. MACA will be working with key stakeholders to develop a bylaw template and guidance document to assist community governments with reviewing or developing a community fire protection bylaw.
Where can my community go for help?
Please contact your MACA regional support staff for more information and assistance with strengthening fire protection in your community:Examples of available support:
- Establishing a fire protection Bylaw
- Defining a fire protection Level of Service (LOS)
- Developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
- Resource information
- Budget planning (annual budget cycle)
- Volunteer recruitment & retention
- Firefighter training
- Fire department assessment, organization and planning
- Recommended fire protection measures and best practices
- Development of a local fire prevention & life safety program