Working to get the boots on the ground needed in Vancouver
Our members are working harder than ever and as their union it’s our role to fight for the resources to support them. This fall, we’re doing that by advocating for an additional 22 hires.
Promising Signs from City Hall
Earlier this year we successfully advocated to the Mayor and Council to hire 30+ more fire fighters. This investment was a monumental increase compared to years past, signalling the leadership’s interest in supporting first responders and prioritizing city safety.
We’ve worked hard to develop relationships with all of these decision makers, including securing election promises from all current Councillors and the Mayor before last year’s election. The unanimous support meant a great deal to our members, and the vote to support an increase in hires showed that the current Council is able to walk the walk.
We’re also encouraged by recent meetings with government officials, including a day with Mayor Ken Sim where he spent time shadowing us on the job.
Moments like this can help build empathy for what fire fighters face when they show up for work. Of course Mayor Sim also heard from our team about our priorities, issues, and the challenges we face as well.
Recently, the City circulated a budget survey asking for people to give their input about where Vancouver’s resources should go. We heard from our members and the public at large that they sent in messages of support and are extremely grateful. Even though we’re asking for more of the City budget, the benefit is for everyone: more boots on the ground means a safer Vancouver for everyone.
Although Council won’t vote on any additional increases in funding just yet, these signs are giving us cautious optimism that we may secure funds to hire an additional 22 new fire fighters, reaching our goal of 55.
Where does the goal of 55 new hires come from?
A previously commissioned Darkhorse Analytics report made this recommendation based on the demands on fire fighters, projected population growth, and other factors.
Since the time the report was written, pressures have only increased due to the overlapping opioid, climate, and housing crises, further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, 2023 has been the busiest year on record with a 31% increase in fires over 2022 stats. At the same time, our members have been bringing their best, even managing to decrease response time during this incredibly busy time.
If you’ve ever encountered any of our members, you’ll understand why. They are deeply committed to keeping our community safe, spending their spare time keeping fit and ready for action and devoting themselves to the charitable work that keeps us closely connected to our home.
What you can do to support Vancouver’s Fire Fighters
We’re focused on making strides this year. You can help by following us online and amplifying these important messages to City Hall.
Stay tuned as we keep you updated on our progress to ensure that we achieve this important milestone.