Platform RITE on Community Safety

RITE on Community Safety

This election, I am committed to the following:

1. Objectively and urgently review the Richmond Fire Department’s budget and fund the department adequately.
2. Consult RCMP and regional municipalities to identify the short falls of Richmond police hiring practices and hire sufficient numbers of police officers for Richmond.
3. Explore and incorporate monthly/bi-monthly emergency vehicle drills in Richmond to help our city to be able to respond to emergencies better.

Here’s why these issues are important to me.

Recently, Carol Day Richmond City Council and I had the great opportunity to meet with representatives from Richmond Fire Fighters Association – IAFF Local 1286.

However, what we had learned truly troubled me. According to the Richmond Fire Fighters’ Association, despite the doubling of our population, Richmond has not increased the number of fire fighters at all since 1992. Furthermore, due to severe staff shortage, most of the fire fighters are unable to receive sufficient training updates. In addition to lack of training, firefighters’ ability to provide prevention-based education is also dramatically compromised due to lack of funding.

Compared to other municipalities in the Greater Vancouver Region, Richmond is dangerously behind.

After the Richmond Nature Park’s fire and the two worst forest fire seasons in history back to back, Richmond must have an objective and urgent review of our City’s overall firefighting capacity and fund our firefighting department adequately.

Not to mention, according to CTV news, Richmond has the lowest Police Officer per 1000 per capita ratio. We need to hire sufficient numbers of Richmond RCMP Main Detachment officers to keep our streets safe. We must also increase our capacity to work and support Richmond Block Watch initiatives. Block Watch can not simply be a token project. It helps our community to work with local law enforcement and empowers the community to collaborate together to reduce crime.

The last thing I would like to introduce as a commitment of mine to Richmond is emergency vehicle response training for our community. One of the most troubling things I have witnessed quite a few times is delaying the response of Ambulance Paramedics Of BC due to vehicles not knowing how to make way and pedestrians running across crosswalks despite sirens ringing. When there is a medical, environmental or criminal based emergency, every second counts. It is time for our City to practice supporting and working with emergency personnel. We need to explore options such as monthly or bi-monthly emergency vehicle drills to help the community learn how to make way.

It is disappointing to learn how inadequately are emergency response departments are funded and we must correct the situation before tragedy strikes. As a RITE Richmond Council Candidate,I am committed to sufficiently support and fund our fire and police department. Together with your help we can bring the RITE change to Richmond.

Henry Yao