Chief Charlie Boyte's report for January 2015

Michael Boyle

Happy New Year Pender!

In keeping with tradition, the Pender Island Fire Rescue extended family came together in December to celebrate the festive season.

Jasmine kept the young ones busy with a story while they waited for Santa to arrive, as he has done since 1972. Magically he produces gifts for all the children.

More than 100 volunteers, spouses and children attended this year at the Community Hall. Our sincerest of thanks goes out to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 239 and all the volunteers that help prepare the exceptional turkey dinner.

As of December 19, PIFR had responded to 206 emergency calls in 2014. Our volunteers booked more than 18,000 hours in training, calls, duty shifts, truck checks, grant writing, editing and writing, and inventory control. They also participated in more than 20 community events. Each year when I compile these statistics I am reminded how often we call on our volunteers and the amazing commitment we receive. Fire Protection Society Vice Chair Jane Perch and I took the opportunity to thank all the PIFR volunteers and especially their families for their support and sacrifice.

January Safety Notes:

As the holiday season comes to an end please be extremely careful disposing of dry Christmas trees. These trees typically account for more than 240 fires annually, which result in more than a dozen deaths and over $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. Each year we find a tree wrapped in power lines that some well-meaning person has cut through to open the road. Even if the power is off at your house these lines may still be energized and may become re-energized through automatic switching or generator connections. These lines can radiate lethal 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 911 from 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.

CADET CAMP 2015: Over the past 10 years Pender Island Fire Rescue has witnessed incredible personal empowerment, volunteerism and values-building through our Fire/Rescue Youth Camp Program.

A high percentage of these young people continue to serve their communities and encourage and mentor their peers to do the same. Several camp cadets have gone on to complete the NFPA 1001 accredited training and serve our community as fully qualified firefighters today. Several of these firefighters have gone on to acquire advance skills in various rescue disciplines and one is an officer.

This is a great success story. These young people have shown us the road to success in keeping our communities safe. Their enthusiasm has inspired us to promote a Fire/Rescue Youth Camp on Pender bi-annually. This year 20 young people will attend the camp coordinated again this year by Deputy Chief Michael Dine.

As we leave 2014 behind, I want to recognize team members who made it such a successful year: Deputy Chief Dine and Captain Adrian Hanson for their exceptional skills and commitment to leading edge training; Debbie French for keeping us organized; Donna Aston 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 2015.

Fire Chief Charlie Boyte

Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
No permit is required
Regulations apply


Daisy Te Hennepe

Fire Fighter 2
Technical Rescue

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911


250 629-3321


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