Dispatch services for the Sooke Fire Department officially switched from Langford to Saanich on Dec. 7.
The decision was made earlier this year after the Capital Regional District Fire dispatch services — hosted in the Langford Fire Department — was faced with a decision, fork up a $1 million to upgrade Langford’s dispatch centre to the new standard or look elsewhere for its dispatch services.
Sooke Fire Chief Ted Ruiter says the transition was smooth and residents shouldn’t notice any changes to the call process or response times.
Prior to the switch, Langford had operated a joint fire dispatch service for nine years with Sooke, Highlands, Metchosin, Salt Spring Island, the Southern Gulf Islands and the Juan de Fuca electoral areas under the auspices of the Capital Regional District. But when Langford decided to strike out on its own and run its own dispatch services, the CRD covered areas were forced to look elsewhere and went with Saanich’s fire dispatch service centre.
Colwood and View Royal had also previously used the Langford-based dispatch service, leaving for Saanich in 2012 and then Surrey, where the cost was approximately half of what Saanich was charging.
The District of Sooke is set to save more than 20 per cent by switching to the Saanich service, working out to about $25,000 saved a year.
Sooke Fire Rescue answers about 850 calls per year.
The contract with Saanich is for five years, ending in 2026.