Chief Charlie Boyte's report for May 2015

Michael Boyle

Greetings Folks – I wrote this April 19th and Deputy Chief Mike Dine and Captain Adrian Hanson are delivering day four of an eight-day Fire Officer 1 course. This course provides officers knowledge to supervise our volunteers in emergency response and is accredited through the College of the Rockies.

It is designed to teach leadership, management, coaching and mentoring skills among others to officers. Six officers, (four from Pender and two from Mayne Island) are participating. This training is required under the new BC Fire Service training standards and designed to ensure our volunteers are properly supervised when attending emergencies.

Following are some highlights from my report to the March 18 Pender Islands Fire Protection Society (PIFPS) AGM as promised last month. Our key focus areas for 2014 were: Service delivery, personnel, training facility improvements, water supplies, and the Magic Lake emergency evacuation route.

Service delivery: At PIFR we believe our community deserves first rate fire and emergency services. We believe that when you call for help someone should come that knows what to do. We believe that must happen every hour of every day each year.

Customer satisfaction is defined as meeting these core objectives and providing the right levels and range of services as defined by you through your PIFPS board of directors. We believe that excellence in service delivery is achieved by delivering those services competently and with empathy concern care and compassion every time. Last year we answered 214 emergency calls. From your feedback I am proud to report that our responders have delivered excellent service.

Training facility: The foundation for the burn structure is now complete and work is continuing on the underground servicing and water catchment area. The catchment area will allow us to recycle the water used in training and utilize rainwater to fill the reservoirs that supply fire protection water. Thanks Pender for all for your support for this important tool to keep our responders trained.

Personnel: There are currently 11 officers and 29 members on the roster including Communications Operators, Engineers and First Responders. One member is on maternity leave; two are part time taking advanced education and one is member is a career fire officer that volunteers when on island. There are also 52 support crew members helping us with other tasks. In 2014 this group contributed 19,245 hours in service to the community.

The consultants have suggested we should have 55 members in total; 25 for the main hall and 15 for each of the other two. Our turnout percentage for major events is close to 65 per cent so I would recommend that a reasonable goal (given our limited population base) is to maintain a compliment of 36 responding volunteers and 12 officers. Maintaining that level of responders means recruiting six new members each year.

If you are fit, have high values, and want to ensure your families are safe in the future we can teach to become a volunteer firefighter in 2016. You trade six months of your regular Saturday activities (January through June next year) to study, learn and challenge yourself physically. Then we give you a pager so you can help as your time permits.

Water supplies for firefighting - Water supplies for firefighting have the largest single impact on insurance rates and are the most challenging to facilitate in the rural areas where there are few community water systems. We are continuing our work to develop sources, working with community groups and CRD to secure existing water supplies. We had some success in getting insurance underwriters to approve Trincomali’s hydrant in 2014. There are a variety of legal issues and concerns that we are working with CRD to address for ponds and standpipes so we hope to see more progress on this in 2015.

Magic Lake emergency evacuation route – We are continuing our work with the folks at CRD, Parks and Recreation and the Province to establish an acceptable second exit from the Magic Lake area. It will require some political will and funding to see this project to fruition. Certainly we have had good support to date.

Please follow the prompts on the Home Page for online fire permits, current information and some great tools to keep your family safer. Click on the fire prevention tab and you will find a handy assessment tool and other safety tips. Until next month stay safe.

Fire Chief Charlie Boyte


Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
No permit is required
Regulations apply

member

Cecilia Suh

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For any Emergency:

call 911

Non-Emergency:

250 629-3321

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