Chief Charlie Boyte's report for January 2012

Michael Boyle

Happy New Year Pender!

In keeping with tradition, the Pender Island Fire Rescue extended family came together Dec. 10th to celebrate the festive season.

Sherrie kept the young ones busy with a great show and tell story while they waited for Santa to arrive, as he has since 1972, in a fire truck with a bag full of toys.

More than 100 fire department volunteers, spouses and children attended this event which, for the first time, was held at the Legion Hall. The Royal Canadian Legion volunteers did a wonderful job setting up for the event and making the night special. Our thanks to the proud Legion cooks who prepared a wonderful turkey dinner.

This event is an opportunity for Fire Protection Society Chair Gordon Souter and me to thank the PIFR family for great work and sacrifice. It reminds me how often we call on our volunteers to protect the community and participate in training to ensure their skills are at the highest possible levels.

As of mid-December we responded to 173 emergency calls in 2011. By the end of the year that number will be close to 200. Our volunteers contributed over 17,000 hours in training, calls, duty shifts, truck checks, grant writing, editing and writing, and inventory control. They also participated in more than 15 community events.

January Safety Notes:

As the Christmas season comes to an end please be extremely careful disposing of dry Christmas trees. Explosively dry trees account for 240 fires annually, resulting in 13 deaths and more than $16 million in property damage. Chipping is the safest method of disposal.

January is also the season for windstorms and downed power lines. Some Pender residents continue to play a deadly game of chance with downed power lines. Just because a hydro line is down does not mean it is dead. They can still be energized, become re-energized through automatic switching or generator connections and radiate electrical energy many metres through the ground. You do not want to be there when that happens.

Never approach a downed line; stay back at least 10 metres; and assume that the line and anything it touches is energized. If you see a downed power line call 911from a safe distance!

Rubber tires or boots are no guarantee that you will be insulated from a downed power line. Tires or rubber boots will conduct high voltage electricity through your body or the frame of a vehicle. If that happens, it can become a first responder call or fire that is difficult to manage. Until BC Hydro has confirmed the line is de-energized, the fire/rescue crews can do little to help. This can take several hours and the consequences can be lethal.

If the fire crews are on scene please obey their instructions. They are obligated under law to keep the public away from these hazards. If you fail to obey their instructions or are caught moving barriers or hazard tape you can be charged by the RCMP.

Deputy Fire Chief Mike Dine is still looking for new fire fighters to start training in January.

If you are fit, motivated, honest and caring we will teach you the skills you need to provide emergency services. Our training is certified and meets the highest provincial and national standards. Young or older, male or female … it doesn’t matter. If you are ready for an exciting challenge call Deputy Chief Dine at 250-629-3321.

As we leave 2011 behind, I want to recognize team members who made it such a successful year: Deputy Chief Michael Dine and Captain Adrian Hanson for their exceptional skills and commitment to ensure our training and operations are leading edge; Debbie French for keeping us organized; Pearl Nowak for keeping the books in order; and, Irene Madsen for keeping our halls clean and organized. I would also like to thank our committed Board of Directors that works tirelessly to ensure our services are well managed and compliant with fire/rescue service regulations.

Most importantly, I sincerely thank all of our volunteers for their commitment, skills and care. From all of us at Pender Island Fire Rescue – Best wishes for a Safe, Happy and Healthy 2012.

Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
No permit is required
Regulations apply

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911


250 629-3321


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