Chief Charlie Boyte's report for February 2012

Michael Boyle

In mid-January we had our first real cold snap and snowfall of the year. Snow always makes us a little nervous at Pender Island Fire Rescue as it can impede our ability to get to you and slows our response.

We have a great crew at PIFR but in emergency situations minutes become very precious and any delay can result in serious consequences. Unlike paid fire departments that have staff in the station 24/7, our volunteers must get from their house to a fire hall through whatever conditions exist, put on the appropriate fire gear, get in a fire truck and then somehow negotiate the snow and ice to come to your aid. We can’t fight Mother Nature but we can take some steps to minimize the impacts of her work. When it is cold the risk of fires increases significantly. Please be extremely careful with heaters. Never leave them unattended and keep them three feet away from combustibles. Check the cord ends for signs of heat after they have been on for a while. Once a cord starts to heat it will continue to get worse. Heat causes corrosion inside the plug ends and also loosens up the moulded plastic ends that keep the connections tight. That is how fires start.

Appliance cords also cause fires if they are undersized so make sure you keep a close eye on these and use appropriate cords for the wattage attached. It seems like common sense to keep combustibles away from wood heaters but often fires start when someone tries to dry cloths too close to the stove. The radiant heat from wood burning appliances can easily ignite many modern fabrics.

I often see cars parked at the bottom of long steep driveways once the snow starts to fall. One should consider this carefully as the car may slow down the response in a medical or fire emergency. Chances are if you leave your car there it is because the access is difficult to start with. This practice may allow you to get your car out but it can also stop help from getting in. You should weigh this decision carefully and if possible find a spot completely off the road to store your vehicle that is also out of the way of the snow ploughs.

Street address markers are your lifeline to emergency personnel including police, fire and ambulance. If we can’t find your address we can’t get there to help. Please make sure your address is clearly marked and cleared of snow and vegetation. It could save your life!

Until next month... stay warm and safe.

Experienced Volunteer Arborist Needed:

The historic orchard, “Old MacDonald Farm”, located at Fire Hall # 1 is in need of pruning through the hands of an experienced arborist. If you have some extra time and would like to volunteer to nurture the orchard, please contact us at 250-629-3321.

Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
No permit is required
Regulations apply


Cecilia Suh

First Responder
Truck Checker

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911


250 629-3321


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