Request Technical Assistance or Fire Investigation Support
The Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC) provides technical assistance on a variety of fire operations, training and life safety topics. The OFC also provides support and assistance for fire investigations under certain conditions or in high-risk situations as described below. During regular business hours, contact the Fire Service Advisor (FSA) in your region. All after-hours and emergency calls should go to 1 800 663-3456.
- All suspicious or fatal fires, and/or assistance with any fire investigations;
- Orders to close a building;
- Situations that are considered an immediate threat to life under Section 25 of the Fire Services Act; and
- Imminent threat of a major emergency, where once started, has the potential to result in a serious threat to public safety or environmental emergency in a community.
The Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC) has placed Fire Service Advisors in several key locations throughout the province to assist and advise over 400 fire departments in British Columbia on issues or concerns that may arise in their day to day operations. The FSAs are available to:
- provide expert advice, guidance and support best practices for fire departments. This may include assistance in fire investigations (see below), inspection best practices, FIRES reporting assistance, advice regarding Minimum Training Standards (Playbook) declarations and programs, FireSmart information and connecting them with support for fire prevention and public education activities;
- provide direction for those departments wishing to participate in the provincial wildfire services group that may be required for structure protection in a provincial wildfire emergency; and
- support and ensure oversight of Local Assistants to the Fire Commissioner and provide advice regarding administration and enforcement of the Fire Services Act and the British Columbia Fire Code and, if necessary, through provincial fire Orders.
Fire Investigation Support
Local Assistants to the Fire Commissioner (LAFCs) must report fires to the OFC according to the following criteria:
- All fatal fires or critical injury incidents (immediate)
- Explosions (immediate)
- Suspected incendiary fires where a suspect has been identified (immediate)
- Suspected incendiary fires where no suspect has been identified
- Fires of unusual origin or circumstance - unusual fire/smoke spread, or which involve circumstances that may result in widespread public concern (e.g.: environmental hazard)
Requests for assistance at fire investigations will be dealt with in the above order of priority. Once reported, an evaluation will be made to determine the urgency of response and level of assistance requested from the OFC. Part of the evaluation will include considering the potential benefits for improved fire and life safety resulting from an investigation.
Depending on the circumstances of the occurrence and the time the notification is received, the Deputy Fire Commissioner may assign an investigator to attend immediately.
The calls for assistance that do not meet the established criteria for an OFC investigation may be deferred to the LAFC and/or police services to handle directly.