Chief Charlie Boyte's report for June 2017

Michael Boyle

Pender … we made, it thanks to your support.

A contract has been awarded to complete Phase 3 of the PIFR training facility, the Live Fire Training Structure. RFPs went to five companies and the successful bidder is ContainerWest of Richmond BC. The structure will be steel, modular in design and will meet our long-term training needs. This is great news for our firefighters and our community.

Here’s why: Our budget planning indicated that we would need to increase our training budget by approximately $68,000 annually to meet the latest BC Firefighter Training Standards. That meant our firefighters would be away from the community and their families more often and face greater demands on their time to maintain their training. To maintain the current level of service and remain compliant with the Provincial Training Standard, a PIFR responder must attend a full schedule of recurrent training in his/her elected firefighting, rescue and medical disciplines.

The new facility will allow PIFR to deliver initial and recurrent structural live fire training right here on Pender; an at-home improvement that will save thousands in travelling costs annually.

From 2005 to 2009, we certified our first generation of PIFR fire service instructors, and since then we have qualified several more. This increase in training capacity has allowed us to facilitate more and better training. Our volunteers are safer and you can be assured that when you call for help, you will be helped by a highly trained, competent fire rescue team.

A further benefit to our increased training capacity is that it has allowed us the opportunity to support and train other Southern Gulf Island departments while generating an income of almost $200,000 between 2009 and 2016. Every penny of that has reduced the tax burden on our citizens.

When completed, the Pender Island Training Facility will create further opportunities for our volunteers to witness, teach and participate in emergency response training. The live fire structure will generate opportunities through tuitions, rent and fees to reduce the burden on our local tax base. As well, we can further develop our youth programs and be more inclusive of our neighbours including our First Nations communities. Our volunteers will spend less time away from their families supporting their retention and our ability to recruit new members. Most importantly, this facility will enable us to provide the highest level of training for our volunteers who protect our communities.

Emergency calls are up substantially with 99 calls answered as of May 14, a 41 per cent increase over last year.

In 2016, we were already in fire closures at this time. Fort Mac Murray was literally burning down, our local contractors were very concerned for their livelihoods due to work restrictions and we were scrambling to develop permits and procedures to manage the risk. The contracting community worked with PIFR and we created some great solutions.

Certainly, the weather is different this year. Forecasts call for a hot and dry season and that means we can expect some fire risks from increased the ground cover growth due to the wet spring. We will be monitoring the conditions carefully and focusing efforts on limiting risk in the dry months ahead. Please monitor this web site, and the local fire hazard signs for current ratings and restrictions.

If you did not change the batteries in your smoke detectors with the spring time change please do that now. When opening summer homes and cabins remember it is the law to have working smoke alarms in every building with sleeping accommodations.


Fire Chief Charlie Boyte

Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
No permit is required
Regulations apply


Paul Sledzinski

Fire Fighter 2
Technical Rescue

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911


250 629-3321


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