Chief Charlie Boyte's report for March 2016

Michael Boyle

We concluded 2015 with a total of 245 emergency calls, 13 per cent more than the previous year. And, as of Feb. 19 we had attended 19 emergency calls, a 26 per cent increase over the same period in 2015. Hopefully this is not the start of a trend.

This year we have a couple of capital projects on the go including work on our training ground and completion of the water supply behind Hall 1.

We continue to seek an alternate emergency exit from the Magic Lake subdivision to mitigate the risk of wildfires. We have been discussing this for almost two decades; establishing an evacuation route is long overdue. Every planning document I read calls for at least two exits. With the number of people living in Magic Lake the single route in and out puts lives at risk especially in the high risk summer months.

We are also working to get high volume water supplies established from existing ponds and lakes. This is critical to manage the wildfire risk. We are anticipating a warmer, dryer summer than last year. Adequate water supplies will play a big part in managing the wildfire risk. We have submitted proposals to the CRD for funding to hopefully get some work started this year.

There continues to be keen interest in acquiring a regional fire/spill response vessel to protect our marinas, shore lines and ecosystems. There is a much higher risk of a serious incident due to increasing float plane, pleasure craft and shipping traffic around our islands. Our MP, MLA and CRD Director are working to identify grant funding support. The vessel would support crew transport for mutual aid, fire suppression to shorelines docks and marinas and the vessel could deploy spill containment booms.

Our new recruit class is working hard. It includes seven firefighter recruits from Pender, two from Mayne Island, and one each from Saturna Island, Willis Point, and Sidney. Volunteer recruitment and retention is a formidable challenge and, while we do better than most, we need all the help we can get to meet the challenge.

PIFR has been delivering accredited training to international standards since 2007. We do this inhouse thanks to Deputy Chief Mike Dine and Captain Adrian Hanson. To deliver this exceptional, affordable training we have cost sharing agreements with the other Southern Gulf Island departments. Joint training builds trust and capacity, valuable benefits should we experience a major fire or natural disaster.

A properly accredited fire department results in huge cost savings in fire insurance premiums. On Pender those savings vary based on water supply (recognized hydrants), but generally the savings equal or exceed, by up to four times, the cost of fire department levies. Fire insurance is extremely expensive in unprotected areas and, sometimes, it is unattainable without a fire department.

Finally, please come to the Fire Protection Society AGM March 19th at 3 p.m., 4423 Bedwell Harbour Road. This meeting is your chance to have a voice in the future of your fire services and to learn more about the projects mentioned above.

Fire Chief Charlie Boyte

 


Forest Fire Threat Level

No open burning

 

member

Al Powelson

First Responder

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911

Non-Emergency:

250 629-3321

administration@
penderfire.ca

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