Chief Charlie Boyte's report for July 2011

Michael Boyle

Delivering fire and rescue services is a complex task involving legislation, standards, regulations, training and equipment. So how do we measure how we are currently doing and how well that is working?

Recently, we have taken advantage of two opportunities to measure our effectiveness in delivering emergency services and to verify the systems we have implemented to ensure the safety of our volunteers.

The first was the BC Training Officers conference which brings together training officers from large and small departments across BC to learn from each other and from specialists from across North America. Training is certainly our biggest challenge. There is no differentiation between the training needed by a volunteer firefighter in our community and a career firefighter working in an urban centre. Both face the same perils on the job. The only difference being that volunteer firefighters do not have the call volume to exercise their skills which means they must spend more time training.

Too many firefighters are dying each year because they are not properly supervised or trained to manage the risks and hazards they face. We are very fortunate to have Deputy Chief Mike Dine’s exceptional skills to keep our training programs modern and effective. We are also very fortunate to have several members who have acquired their fire service instructor credentials to help us keep our crews trained. This year we sent Captain Adrian Hanson to the conference to measure our training programs against the rest of BC and bring back the lessons learned to support and educate our local trainers. I am confident that the experience gained at the conference will pay off in firefighter safety as our trainers put those lessons to work to protect our volunteers.

As well, I attended the 80th Annual Conference of the BC Fire Chiefs Association in Abbotsford. This gathering of chiefs is a wonderful opportunity to discuss the political and sociological influences on our departments and the management challenges presented by these influences.

The conference provides an opportunity to network with other chiefs, to identify best practices and to explore opportunities to improve the way we serve our communities. Speakers from across North America provided educational sessions ranging from the brain science associated with critical decision making to presentations on pre-hospital health care to fire department funding challenges. I attended all these sessions to better understand the complex environment in which we function. The information gained is invaluable in protecting our community from liability and better understanding the legislated responsibilities we face in protecting our workers from harm.

Following this week of consultations with chiefs from across BC one reality quickly hit home. We are very fortunate to have the committed volunteers that serve our community and we all owe a huge debt of gratitude to the 100-plus volunteers that allow us to sustain our emergency services here on the Penders. There are many communities in BC that are not nearly as fortunate. Their volunteers are dwindling and their services are at risk. Each year our volunteers willingly give of their time to provide the thousands of hours of training, response and support required to make our fire and rescue services sustainable. Our sincerest thanks go out to each and every one them for giving us the piece of mind that comes from knowing that someone will come, that knows what to do, when we call 911.

We are also very fortunate to have community support. Last week at the Hope Bay Family Day every tenant at the Center donated goods and services to support PIFR and the Coast Guard Auxiliary. This event raised more than $650. We applaud the corporate citizenship shown by all who supported us and all of you that gave donations at the event. Remember, there is no outdoor burning in July, August and September. If you have a concern and no one is at the fire hall you can contact us 24/7 by calling 250-478-9555 and asking for the duty officer. Report all fires early by calling 911.

Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
No permit is required
Regulations apply


Al Powelson

First Responder

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911


250 629-3321


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