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Confined Space Rescue Team for Sidney, North Saanich, and Central Saanich now operational

Sidney, BC.;

If someone becomes trapped in a confined space in Sidney, North Saanich or Central Saanich, there is now a tri-municipal team prepared to respond with the extrication and air monitoring equipment needed to perform the rescue as safely as possible.

On October 1st, Tri-Municipal Confined Space Rescue Team for the Saanich Peninsula became operational. The initiative began in 2019, when the three fire departments decided to shift away from maintaining individual confined space teams and instead become a jointly-funded and jointly-staffed team in order to increase their response capability without increasing costs to Saanich Peninsula residents.

The initiative was halted in 2020 as fire departments focused on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Training for team members resumed in 2022.

“The formation of this specialized team builds on the mutual and automatic aid services already in place on the Saanich Peninsula. Population growth, along with denser and more complex buildings, create challenges that all three fire departments must address. Working together is one way we can increase our response capability without increasing costs,” said Brett Mikkelsen, Fire Chief for the Town of Sidney.

Confined space rescue incidents are rare but high risk. They are most likely to occur in municipal infrastructure such as below ground valve boxes and lift stations, as well as in industrial settings such as ship holds, and in storage tanks and cisterns. Incidents can also occur around wells, crawl spaces, and cellars, among other scenarios. Confined space rescue professionals need to be prepared to be lowered into a confined space if necessary, monitoring air quality for hazardous substances and sufficient oxygen.

The program is administered by the Town of Sidney as a component of the Town of Sidney, District of Central Saanich, and District of North Saanich Mutual Aid, Automatic Aid, and Shared Services Agreement.

Media Contact:

Brett Mikkelsen
Fire Chief, Town of Sidney