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Monday, December 05, 2022

Canada’s two busiest fire halls are both in BC

Half of the calls that come in are medical related.

In just one weekend last month, two Vancouver fire halls answered more than 270 calls.

According to Vancouver Fire Rescue Services (VFRS), the calls were covered by fire hall numbers 8 and number 2, and are not out of the ordinary.

“We are a very busy department on the whole,” says VFRS public information officer Matthew Trudeau.

According to the department, Number 8 and Number 2 are the busiest fire halls in Canada.

“Per firefighters in Vancouver, we are two and a half times more busy than the national average… as many calls as we run,” he says.

Firefighters are answering a variety of calls in both the halls. A large number of them are for overdose, fire and fire alarm calls.

“We’ve always been really busy in this hall [No. 2], Since 2016, the number of calls has increased significantly,” Trudeau says, pointing to the year BC declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency.

He told Glacier Media that there has been a 91 percent increase in call volume since 2016. Hall Number 2 is located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighborhood.

“There are too many risks [individuals] Trudeau says, and here to those in need and that increases our call volume significantly. “About 50 percent are related to medicine.”

Fire Hall No. 2 receives an average of about 21 overdose calls a day, he says.

“Last year, we went to over 7,700 overdoses in the city and the vast majority of them are here in the Downtown Eastside.”

Firefighters who come through Hall No. 2 stay for about a year before being transferred out. They are limited to 81 innings.

“Physically and mentally, it takes a toll,” Trudeau says, adding that the fire hall has added additional members to reduce call volume.

Hall number 8, meanwhile, increased its members just two months ago and will soon adopt the shift rule as well.

“We have a very dedicated, hard-working team that is highly trained and ready to respond 24 hours a day to meet the needs of anyone in the city,” Trudeau says.

Nearby halls, such as Number 1 and Number 3, also experienced similar calls.

“Their numbers are increasing. It’s a huge demand for fires and fire calls as well as overdoses and medical calls in this area. It’s not just a hall or an isolated pocket, it’s our neighbor firefighters too.”

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