Chief Charlie Boyte's report for August 2017

Michael Boyle

As I write, our PIFR volunteers have just returned from their 171st call this year. That number represents a 25 per cent increase over the same period in 2016.

Our PIFR members and summer students have also been very busy with fire prevention and education at the ferries and farmers’ market. They were also gearing up for our “Christmas in July” Food Bank Drive at the Driftwood on the 22nd.

That same day, Poets Cove Resort and Spa hosted our annual Awards Banquet. Our volunteers train to the same standards as professional firefighters and medics across North America and the Awards Banquet allow us to recognize their commitment and service. I will cover the high points in my next article.

The destruction and tragic losses we have witnessed this year from wildfires across BC and beyond is a stark reminder of the fragile nature of our communities. It’s difficult not to be a bit paranoid about wildfires after watching the news. However, we can’t be paralyzed by the fear of wildfires. Summer provides opportunities to enjoy our communities and the spectacular environment in the Southern Gulf Islands. We should not be afraid to go out there and enjoy them!

That said, we must be vigilant. There are many sound strategies that minimize the wildfire hazards as we head into August, often the hottest and driest part of fire season.

These strategies include fire safety both inside and outside your home. Fire safety awareness and prevention are responsibilities we all share because the reality is that house fires create wildfires and visa-versa. On this website you will find a home safety checklist to help you assess your prevention needs inside the house. “FireSmart” deals with hazards outside the home. Go to:

www.bcwildfire.ca/prevention/docs/homeowner-firesmart.pdf

for great information to keep homes safe from wildfires.

Be careful when using BBQs and other sources of heat. Keep them well clear of siding and combustibles. Have hoses and sprinklers connected and ready to wet down perimeter decks and dry slopes that may lead fire to your house. And, call 911 at the first sign of smoke or fire.

Our strategies also include restrictions on activities and work that may cause fires. Please make yourselves aware of the risks of equipment use and the restrictions. These risks are managed through permits or closures. Current information is posted on this site.

Three factors allow us to mitigate wildfire risk: Public awareness, early reporting and initial fire response effectiveness.

Our fire prevention teams are working hard, but there is plenty you can do in your own back yard. A few words between neighbours are effective, particularly when neighbours are visitors or part time residents who are unaware of the risks or regulations that have been implemented to keep us safe. Face-to-face communication is the most effective way to get people to report smoke, fires and risky behaviors early. Please have that chat with your neighbors or call us if you need some help.

When having that conversation, the key messages should include:

  1. Report all smoke and fires right away by calling 911, even if you think a small fire is out or under control;
  2. 2. Make sure your home address is clearly marked and communicated to the dispatcher.

The first point allows us to contain fires early. We would much rather arrive and find the fire is small than race around issuing evacuation notices. The second point allows us to find you when you make that 911 call. Minutes wasted locating an address can make the difference between life and death.

If we look after each other and take care of the small things, we can be safe and secure. So, do what you can and then put your feet up and enjoy one of the best places on this planet!

Until next month stay safe.

 

Fire Chief Charlie Boyte


Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
Permit is required
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member

Jon Grelik

Lieutenant
Technical Rescue

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911

Non-Emergency:

250 629-3321

administration@
penderfire.ca

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