Fire Dispatch Service Outsourcing

Consultation has concluded

The Town of Yarmouth has a composite fire department, made up of a core of volunteer firefighters and a group of career firefighters. The career fire fighters work is arranged in shifts, providing 2 fire fighters in the station 24-7-365. They are unionized and represented by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF Local 2094). This local includes not only the fire fighters, but all of the staff working at the fire hall, including the fire inspector and the dispatchers.

The Town of Yarmouth is the only fire department this side of Halifax to have career (full-time, paid) fire fighters. There are only 3 other towns in Nova Scotia who do not rely solely on a volunteer fire department (outside or CBRM and HRM). Dispatch is not customarily a part of a town/district fire department. The services are usually contracted to third parties.

The Town of Yarmouth Fire Department provides dispatch services to 24 volunteer departments throughout parts of Digby, Yarmouth and Shelburne counties. The rest of western Nova Scotia is served by dispatch centres in Digby, Kentville and Bridgewater.

The Town of Yarmouth dispatch service likely made sense at the time it was established, but technology and escalating costs have exposed this service as being one that may no longer be sustainable.

The Town is in the process of investigating the outsourcing of the Town's Fire Dispatch Service.

During this investigation we will keep you informed on the process with updates in the News Feed and supporting reports in the Document Library.


The Town of Yarmouth has a composite fire department, made up of a core of volunteer firefighters and a group of career firefighters. The career fire fighters work is arranged in shifts, providing 2 fire fighters in the station 24-7-365. They are unionized and represented by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF Local 2094). This local includes not only the fire fighters, but all of the staff working at the fire hall, including the fire inspector and the dispatchers.

The Town of Yarmouth is the only fire department this side of Halifax to have career (full-time, paid) fire fighters. There are only 3 other towns in Nova Scotia who do not rely solely on a volunteer fire department (outside or CBRM and HRM). Dispatch is not customarily a part of a town/district fire department. The services are usually contracted to third parties.

The Town of Yarmouth Fire Department provides dispatch services to 24 volunteer departments throughout parts of Digby, Yarmouth and Shelburne counties. The rest of western Nova Scotia is served by dispatch centres in Digby, Kentville and Bridgewater.

The Town of Yarmouth dispatch service likely made sense at the time it was established, but technology and escalating costs have exposed this service as being one that may no longer be sustainable.

The Town is in the process of investigating the outsourcing of the Town's Fire Dispatch Service.

During this investigation we will keep you informed on the process with updates in the News Feed and supporting reports in the Document Library.


Consultation has concluded
  • Fire Dispatch Service Update - Nov. 13, 2018

    12 months ago
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    The Town of Yarmouth has exhausted efforts to identify a cost-sharing formula that would secure the $260,000 annual price tag for the Yarmouth emergency dispatcher service.

    You can view full News Release issued by the Town of Yarmouth here.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    The Town of Yarmouth has exhausted efforts to identify a cost-sharing formula that would secure the $260,000 annual price tag for the Yarmouth emergency dispatcher service.

    You can view full News Release issued by the Town of Yarmouth here.

  • Municipal Units Decline fair and equitable cost-sharing on dispatch.

    about 1 year ago
    Press Release August 09, 2018

    The negotiations between the municipalities representing the users of Yarmouth dispatch service and the Town of Yarmouth, who operate the service, have ended without an agreement.

    The Town was recently notified by the Municipality of Argyle that "there were insufficient municipal users remaining to negotiate an effective cost-sharing agreement". However, the Town of Yarmouth has not been notified by any volunteer fire department that they are discontinuing to use our dispatch service.

    The two sides differed on key principles.

    The municipalities representing the users of the service maintained that the service should be available to...

    Press Release August 09, 2018

    The negotiations between the municipalities representing the users of Yarmouth dispatch service and the Town of Yarmouth, who operate the service, have ended without an agreement.

    The Town was recently notified by the Municipality of Argyle that "there were insufficient municipal users remaining to negotiate an effective cost-sharing agreement". However, the Town of Yarmouth has not been notified by any volunteer fire department that they are discontinuing to use our dispatch service.

    The two sides differed on key principles.

    The municipalities representing the users of the service maintained that the service should be available to them at a cost competitive with other services in the province. They felt they were limited in how much they would pay, partially based on the cost of purchasing the same service, elsewhere.

    The Town received a proposal that was less than three times the current rate from the other municipalities, leaving the Town taxpayers to pay 10 times the current rate. The Town's response to the proposal was simple: that any formula for sharing of costs would have to include the town, and be equitable to all users of the service, including the Town. The Town is willing to overpay for this service, relative to other alternatives, as long as the other users of the service are also willing to overpay, proportionally.

    When a single formula is used, no matter what variables are chosen, the cost of the service is too high to result in a price that is competitive with other options. The Town of Yarmouth respects any municipality’s right to not overpay for a service, including the right of Town taxpayers.

    Over the course of the past few months, since the Town first indicated that we were looking at discontinuing our dispatch service, we have heard from volunteer firefighters and their families from across the region. They have asked us to reconsider this decision and think about the vital service the dispatch service plays in protecting our communities and the firefighters themselves.

    To this end, the Town of Yarmouth will be communicating directly with the volunteer fire departments with a proposal to continue to receive dispatch services.


    Mayor Pam Mood

    Town of Yarmouth
    400 Main Street, Yarmouth NS B5A 1G2
    Tel: 902-742-8565
    Cell: 902-749-6442
    Email: mayor.mood@townofyarmouth.ca