Chief Charlie Boyte's report for November 2017

Michael Boyle

Often it appears that our firefighters and first responders are staffing the fire halls 24/7. Not surprising, since you can call us most times of the day and evening and get someone on the phone that will answer your questions.

However, on weekends and evenings the person that answers your call is likely volunteering their time. Staffing our three fire stations 24/7 would triple our current mill rate for fire protection and that is not affordable for many. Therefore, we rely on a community-supported fire and rescue service staffed primarily by volunteers.

Costs are certainly not the only reason for maintaining our valuable emergency services staffed by professionally trained volunteers. Volunteer emergency response also brings tremendous social value to our community. Our volunteer board members, emergency responders and support crews provide a wonderful mentoring model for our youth. And, it allows us to remain secure in the knowledge that when something goes wrong, and we call 911, someone from our community will show up and know what to do to help us through that emergency.

The demands on our services are increasing every year. As of Oct. 18, PIFR answered 271 calls for service, compared to 239 over the same period in 2016 and 196 in 2015 … a 38 per cent increase over two years.

Beyond the numbers, the volunteer service delivery model provides a wonderful moral compass that can build trust, security and respect in our community. It contributes to the social capital of our community by bonding and bridging community members. This opens amazing opportunities to link socio-economic groups through shared values. The social capital created enables our community members to trust each other and work together to achieve great things.

Communities that fulfil needs through community action lead to community sustainability and brighter future for us all.

We know there are more folks in the community like the ones that serve PIFR today and we need some new recruits to ensure a future that includes comprehensive service levels, minimal insurance costs and improved security for our community.

If you are fit and between the ages of 17 and 50, please consider taking on the firefighting challenge. We are accepting applications now so we can get our new students registered in November with the college so we can deliver the accredited training. If you make a commitment to train on Saturdays from January to May, we will do the rest. If you fit in this demographic and want a secure future in our Island paradise please contact Deputy Chief Mike Dine for an interview at 250-629-3321.

Burning season will be upon us by the time this report appears and burning permits will not be required for outdoor burning. The exception is large “Class A” fires (over two meters in diameter and one meter in height and fires that are machine piled). These fires require a permit year round. Please remember to review the regulations in the CRD bylaw when burning to ensure your safety and avoid fines for illegal fires. The regulations are available on this website. Here are some tips to help you stay safe and within the law while burning:

Thanks in advance for your cooperation and support. Until next month Stay Safe.


Fire Chief Charlie Boyte

Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
No permit is required
Regulations apply


Braedon Bigham

Technical Rescue

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911


250 629-3321


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