Chief Charlie Boyte's report for November 2016

Michael Boyle

PIFR attended 239 incidents as of October 19th compared with 197 over the same period in 2015, an increase of about 21 per cent. The types, numbers and complexity of incidents has been steadily increasing and has been posing challenges for our volunteer service.

Over the past few years there have been significant changes to federal and provincial regulations that govern fire services. PIFR saw these changes coming back in 2005 and adjusted our training programs to the international standards to ensure we would remain compliant when those changes were enacted. That is why Pender Islanders enjoy the benefits of a “full service” rated fire department.

Changes to the Criminal Code hold management and supervisors criminally responsible to ensure firefighters are trained and supervised properly.

The code now states that: “Everyone who undertakes, or has the authority, to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task."

The challenge ahead is to maintain our full service rating and the benefits that provides in safety and insurance benefits. The current training standards require that all firefighter skills be maintained and revisited at least annually.

The new training facility at our Hall #1 site is integral in facilitating that recurrent training, addressing the legislated training requirements and also the increasingly complex challenges of emergency response.

Our PIFR volunteer professionals train to the internationally accepted NFPA standards, the same standard of training firefighters in Vancouver and Victoria must achieve because we believe our families, friends and neighbors deserve the same competent service as city folks. We also believe that when you call for help someone should arrive at your door who knows exactly what to do no matter what time you call or what your emergency may be.

The fact that our volunteers are willing to commit to the professional standard is exceptional and I hope the community appreciates the level of commitment these people have made. We need to complete the training facility to support their efforts, meet challenges such as volunteer recruitment and retention and to address the high costs of off-island training. Our preliminary estimates indicate that finishing the training facility reduces our projected costs to meet the new training standard by as much a 50 per cent. Finishing this project is the right thing to do for our volunteers and for our ratepayers.

Please consider taking on the firefighting challenge. We are accepting applications for students to register in the accredited college firefighter training program. If you can train on Saturdays from January to May, we will do the rest. Please contact Deputy Chief Mike Dine for an interview at 250-629-3321.

Burning season is upon us and permits will not be required for outdoor burning between October 31st and April 1st. The exception is large “Class A” fires (more than two meters in diameter and one meter in height and fires that are machine piled). These fires require a permit year-round. Please remember that you must abide by the regulations in CRD bylaw 3452 when burning and that you are legally responsible for any fire you light. The bylaw and regulations are available on this website. Please be considerate of neighbours especially those with medical conditions and never burn garbage or other materials such as plastics. These materials produce toxic smoke.

Check your smoke alarms and CO detectors. It may just save your life!

Until next month stay safe.

 

Fire Chief Charlie Boyte


Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
Permit is required
Apply now

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911

Non-Emergency:

250 629-3321

administration@
penderfire.ca

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