Chief Charlie Boyte's report for July 2014

Michael Boyle

Here’s a switch folks … your Pender Island fire department volunteers are calling on you for help! We are raising funds to upgrade our Live Fire and Technical Rescue Training Facility.

The Robert L Conconi Foundation has provided a grant of $25,000 and has generously offered another $75,000 to match donations received from residents and property owners on the Southern Gulf Islands. Tax deductible receipts will be issued by the Pender Island Fire Protection Society for donations received.

Help us keep our community and our volunteer emergency responders safe through better training. Donations to this project will guarantee that we can continue to provide the quality of protection you deserve. The matching grant campaign will run from July 1st through September 30th 2014.

Donations can be made on line on this website or in person at Hall #1. Donations can also be mailed to Pender Island Fire Rescue, 4423 Bedwell Harbour Road, Pender Island, BC V0N 2M1.

As of June 19, our volunteers had answered 84 emergency calls and since my last Pender Post report we have spent nine full days training. Our Volunteers commit an incredible amount of time away from their families to hone their skills. They have our gratitude.

Training is certainly our biggest challenge. There is no difference between the kind of training needed by a volunteer firefighter and a career firefighter working in an urban centre. Both face the same perils. The only difference is that volunteer firefighters do not have the call volume to exercise their skills which means they must spend more time training. We must ensure the training they receive effectively prepares them for the hazards they face because the horrible reality is that there are still too many firefighters dying each year as a result of improper training and supervision.

Fire prevention continues to be our top priority. This is our eighth year delivering the Southern Gulf Islands Wildfire Prevention Program. This program has been recognized by the Fire Commissioner of BC and BC Safety Authority for innovation and effectiveness in preventing wildfires. This year our antique fire truck will be rolling into the BC Ferries Terminal at Swartz Bay every Friday starting June 27th.

The fire prevention program has been exceptionally successful because of the hard work of Deputy Chief Michael Dine and his team. It is designed to reach a broad range of the travelling public and part time residents and has reduced the probability of wildfires by more than 30 per cent. That means a much reduced chance of a major fire starting in our communities. Again this year the program is fully funded through a grant from CRD through the Southern Gulf Islands Emergency Management Commission and funds or in-kind donations from Saturna, Mayne, Galiano, Salt Spring and Pender Fire Departments.

Folks with summer cottages please take note: The law requires a working smoke alarm on every floor of any building that has sleeping accommodations. Check the batteries and test them when you open up your cabins. Also please remember to replace your smoke alarms if they are more than 10 years old. They can fail to warn you properly after this period of time. Ensure your street number is clearly posted at the driveway entrance so we can easily find you in case of an emergency.

If you know of anyone who does not have a working smoke alarm we can solve that problem right away. We have smoke detectors. If you visit a shut in or elderly person take a minute and check their smoke alarm. If it doesn’t work call us at 250-629-3321 and we will install one within 24 hours.

The "NO FIRES ANYWHERE" signs should be posted by the time this article comes out. CRD Fire Regulation bylaws prohibit outdoor burning in July, August and September. Substantial fines can be levied. But worse than any fine would be the realization that you started a wildfire. Please be extremely careful during this high risk period and report any fire or smoke sighting immediately by calling 911.

Until next month ... stay safe and have a wonderful summer in our Island paradise.

Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
No permit is required
Regulations apply


Jason Atkinson

Vehicle Extraction
Technical Rescue

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911


250 629-3321


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