Merritt Fire Department to enter a five-year agreement with Thompson Nicola Regional District.

The 2024 Fire Protection Agreement will extend the Merritt Fire Rescue Department’s mandate.

“We’ve now solidified that contractual agreement so that we know what we’re doing moving forward,” said Fire Chief David Tomkinson. “It provides fire protections for specific areas in areas M and N of the regional district, which includes Lower Nicola, Coldwater Road area, out towards the Nicola Lake.”

The agreement will not affect residents living within the City of Merritt. “But people in the regional district within those response areas that are defined, can rest assured that they do have fire protection,” said Tomkinson.

The municipality will be granted $1,547,833 by the Thompson Nicola Regional District (TNRD) in return for offering the specified services under the Fire Protection Agreement. The funding model ensures that the expenses operating the Merritt Fire Rescue Department are evenly divided, benefiting both the residents of Merritt and those in the Thompson Nicola Regional District.

Despite extended coverage, the Merritt Fire Rescue Department’s priority will still be the City of Merritt. During a city council meeting on April 23, Coun. Charney asked what would happen if fire and rescue were in TNRD land and received a simultaneous call in town.

“The other end of that you’ll see in Schedule A, we’ve limited the scope of our service to strictly being fire suppression,” said Tomkinson in response. “We’re only offering a fire suppression service out in the Regional District and to an exterior level, which means that we’re only obligated to action a fire from the exterior of a building or an object, we don’t have to go into an IDLH or immediately hazardous to life and health type of atmosphere if It’s not safe to do so.”

“We still respond to all structure fires, motor vehicle fires, and what we call incipient stage wildland fire, so if a report of a wildland fire comes in, we will do some initial attack within those areas, even though that’s in the jurisdiction of the BC Wildfire Service.”