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Invoicing Procedures for Wildland Fires

posted May 7, 2012, 3:50 PM by web tech   [ updated Jan 20, 2013, 10:51 AM ]

New Invoices for 2012

Please destroy any previous versions of invoices for submission to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for reimbursement of services.

The 3 new forms for fire season 2012 are:

For any other service or equipment not indicated on these invoices, the fire department can create a separate invoice using a similar format displayed in the samples provided.

Invoices are created in Excel and formulas are used to summarize columns to minimize calculation errors.

Invoices can now be emailed to the Incident Commander or to the administrative staff at the local DNR office for payment. Signatures will not be required if invoice is emailed.

Invoices can be printed and completed manually. Signatures will be required if posted or hand delivered to the Incident Commander or to the administrative staff at the local DNR office.

All invoices will require an “invoice number”. Each fire department will need to setup an invoice numbering process so that duplicate invoice numbers within one fire department are not generated.

Tracking Personnel and Equipment Time on Forest Fires When Hired by DNR

For fire departments employed by DNR on forest fires, DNR will now start issuing time slips at the end of each operating period or at the end of an incident. Before leaving, the DNR Incident Commander or line supervisor will complete a time slip for each piece of fire department equipment and for all personnel attending the incident.

On each time slip, information regarding the incident will be included and this will be used to assist the fire department officer while completing the invoice for payment for services. Information on the header of the time slip:
• Name of Fire
• Provincial Fire Number
• DNR Office
• It will also contain other information regarding the fire department

On time slips for manpower, all fire department staff attending will be noted on a crew time report and the number of hours worked. Depending on the size and/or complexity of the incident, a fire department may receive one or multiple time slips per operational period.

On time slips for equipment, detail information regarding equipment, make, model, for some equipment a serial number is needed if equipment is paid based on horsepower rating, license plate number, hours worked, etc. is noted.

Time slips will be issued to Local Service District (LSD) and municipal fire departments when working for DNR on a forest fire. All time slips for personnel will be signed by DNR officer and fire department officer. Time slips for equipment will be signed by DNR officer and either the senior fire department officer or the equipment operator.

A copy of each time slip will be provided to the fire department.

Tracking Personnel and Equipment Time on Forest Fires When DNR Not Present

There will be instances when a fire department will be working on a forest fire for DNR and DNR may delayed or not able to attend for various reasons. During an incident when a fire department has communications with a DNR office or district staff, accountability can be maintained by having the fire department communicate via phone or radio:
• Fire department is responding – DNR will log this time
• Fire department on scene – DNR will log time
o Provide a size up of incident
o Detail the plan of attack and with what resources
o Indicate any additional resource requirements
o On incidents with flame lengths less than 1.5 meters – 1 hour situation reports to DNR
o On incidents with flame lengths greater than 2.0 meters – ½ hour situation reports to DNR
• Fire department leaving scene – DNR will log time
• Fire department back at hall/in-service – DNR will log time and provide to the fire department officer the name of the incident and the provincial fire number assigned. Fire name and number can be transmitted sooner to the fire department once it has been determined.

There will be instances when a fire department is dispatched to a forest fire and the fire department cannot reach a DNR staff member or office via radio or phone. This may be the case after sunset or before sunrise. DNR typically does not staff offices or are on immediate call for forest fires during these times.

If a fire department cannot reach DNR, then the fire department will contact PSAP (Public Service Answering Post) / Dispatcher or PMCC (Provincial Mobile Communications Center) and the information on the incident will be transmitted to the operator. The operator will attempt to contact the nearest DNR office/officer. Once in contact with a DNR officer, information can be shared. If DNR is unable or does not respond, the fire department will use their better judgment on how they will proceed. When back in service on an after hours incident and the fire department has tried to contact DNR with no response, then the department will contact their Dispatcher or PSAP to log their back in service time. These logs will be used to verify any invoice submissions for reimbursement.

A copy of the dispatch times should be faxed or emailed to the DNR office having jurisdiction. This way, the DNR office will then know to make contact with the fire department and pass on a fire name and provincial fire number if the department is invoicing for reimbursement.

Included on the dispatch sheet faxed or emailed to DNR:
1. Time of call
2. Time that DNR notified or the time that the dispatcher was instructed to notify DNR
3. Time fire department responding to incident
4. Time fire department arrival at incident
5. Time leaving the incident
6. Time fire department is back in service
7. Should DNR follow up for a scene visit?
8. Fire cause?
9. Fire grid, latitude and longitude or civic address of incident.
10. Short summary of actions taken on the incident

Fire Department invoices can not be processed unless there is a fire name and a DNR Provincial Fire Number assigned.

Responding to Incidents That are Clearly on Forest Land, Not Threatening the Public, Improvements or Structures.

If it is clear that when a fire department is dispatched by 911 to attend a forest fire on forest land by 911, and if the fire department is clear and certain that the forest fire is not threatening the public, any structures or improvements, the fire department may choose as a response, to contact DNR by phone or radio, advising of the situation without rolling any apparatus to the scene. A fire department choosing to relay the information rather than responding to the call must be absolutely positive that the incident in question has no threat to their mandate.

Mutual Aid Response / Automatic Mutual Aid

DNR recognizes that some departments because of their location, rosters, or time of day, have entered into agreements with neighboring fire departments to support them on incidents should they occur, so that an effective and safe initial response can be initiated.

DNR will accept mutual aid responses that fire departments activate as long as these agreements are signed and documented with the parties involved. These agreements must:
• Be endorsed by the local service district, municipality, or association.
• Outline specifics as to what a response will be from each department that is part of the mutual aid agreement.
• Self-dispatching will not be considered mutual aid. Self-dispatching can be detrimental and a hindrance to an emergency response and must be strongly discouraged.
• Acceptable mutual aid response for the purpose of this document includes only the resources on scene at the incident. It does not support the practice of “back filling” of stations to cover off response to other incidents.

The fire department having jurisdiction should immediately stand down any responding mutual aid resources once it is determined that the incident can be handled with the resources on scene or from a local response.

Once a DNR representative arrives on scene and joins into unified command or takes command of a forest fire on forest land, he or she has the authority to manage the resources on scene as they see fit for the purposes of efficiencies, safety, and fiscal accountability. Additional resources may be requested, resources on scene may be maintained or demobilized and/or responding resources may be stood down.

If fire departments are employed by DNR on forest fires on forest land, then it is the responsibility of the fire chief or senior officer to ensure that their staff positioned on the line suppressing a forest fire, must have Emergency Fire Fighter (EFF) training. Fire department members without EFF training can be still utilized but in a support function.

Fire departments that do not subscribe to the EFF program cannot be reimbursed for fire suppression services because of DNR’s hiring policies, but they can be reimbursed when they are hired to support operations on an incident managed by DNR.

A fire department cannot be reimbursed for suppression services unless they follow the notification process outlined in this document. It is important to provide immediate notification that a fire department is responding to a forest fire on forest land, for several reasons.
• DNR may already be on scene when 911 notify a fire department. It will eliminate unnecessary responses.
• DNR may take additional action on the incident that may not be considered by the fire department.
• DNR may need to prioritize resources responding to incidents particularly if there are multiple incidents occurring, that are competing for resources.
• The delay of communications albeit only 15 minutes to 30 minutes, may be the difference of suppressing and containing the incident with initial attack resources, or loosing a structure or endangering lives because of a delayed response of the proper kinds and types of recourses.

Definitions:

“fire” includes a forest fire;

“forest land” means:

(a) any land lying outside the boundaries of a city or town and not cultivated for agricultural purposes, on which trees, shrubs, grass or other plants are growing, together with roads, other than public highways,

(b) any blueberry field lying outside the boundary of a city or town, or

(c) any peat bog lying outside the boundary of a city or town;

“initial attack” means the activity of suppressing a forest fire during the initial stages of a forest fire.

“sustained attack” means the activity of suppressing an ongoing fire that has advanced beyond initial attack or the activity of mopping up a fire that is contained, under control or being patrolled.