Sidney, North Saanich, and Central Saanich Fire Departments will continue a longstanding tradition of supporting one another in emergencies to increase response capacity. This February, the three municipalities opted to replace a mutual aid agreement with two collaborative emergency services agreements, separating Peninsula Emergency Measures Operations (PEMO) from the Mutual/Automatic Aid Agreement for fire response.
The new approach allows each agreement to be better tailored to its purpose and reflect current best practices for governance, liability, and administration. The new PEMO agreement formalizes many aspects of emergency planning, with specific functions assigned to each municipality and annual reports to Council.
“The way Peninsula municipalities work together to manage and respond to emergencies continues to evolve. The two new collaborative emergency services agreements reflect a growing commitment to emergency management, in addition to fire response. Emergency management is increasingly important to residents, especially as the effects of climate change become more real in our communities,” said Sidney Fire Chief Brett Mikkelsen.
“Collaborating with our colleagues in Central Saanich and in Sidney benefits us all,” said North Saanich Fire Chief John Trelford. “We are pleased to continue to work alongside our neighbours to respond to emergencies on the Peninsula in the most efficient manner.”
“This update will enhance our preparation and response on the Peninsula,” said Central Saanich Deputy Fire Chief Stacey Lee. “The improved governance, oversight, and liability protection will better serve the residents of Central Saanich and our neighbors to the North.”
Both agreements will be in place until December 31, 2027. They will be administered by the Emergency Services Committee comprised or Fire Chiefs and Chief Administrative Officers from each Peninsula municipality.