Chief Charlie Boyte's report for December 2014

Michael Boyle

"Volunteers Serving Community" are the words we live by at PIFR. Here's what those words look like by the numbers. By November 18th your volunteers had responded to 199 emergency calls in 2014. Those calls ranged from house fires to vehicle accidents and included several lifesaving rescues and medical interventions.

In fact, those calls represent a very small part of the time our volunteers spend in service to our community. A tremendous effort is required behind the scenes to make effective emergency response possible. More than 18,000 hours will be logged in 2014 by PIFR volunteers.

Our volunteer workforce allows us to provide a wide range of services at an affordable cost. That means our families, friends and community can be assured that when something bad happens, they can call for help and someone will always come who knows what to do.

We set staffing levels for our volunteer force based on more than 100 years of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) data. That data indicates that day and night 50 per cent of the volunteer workforce should be able to immediately respond to an emergency. When the number of volunteers falls below recommended levels it results volunteer burnout. We are falling short in achieving those levels and when our volunteers are over worked our ability to retain their commitment declines.

Our goal is to stay ahead of the burnout curve. That is why last month we called for help to carry the load. If you are industrious, caring, and physically fit, we would like you to consider the opportunity to re-deploy some of your time. In exchange for that commitment we offer a wonderful opportunity to partner with some great people to help keep your families and friends safe.

Here is the challenge: You trade six months of your regular Saturday activities to study, learn, and challenge yourself physically. Then we give you a pager so you can help as your time permits. Over the next year and a half we offer the opportunity to serve your community and earn an accredited certificate to the internationally recognized NFPA 1001 firefighter standard or pursue a training stream that suits your interests.

Deputy Fire Chief Mike Dine is anxiously waiting for calls from six new people willing to start training in January. If you are up to the challenge call us at 250-629-3321 or click on the "HELPING PIFR" icon on the left side of the home page.

Our current volunteers continue to amaze me with their dedication to service and their commitment to train to the highest levels. This commitment is a gift from our volunteers delivered to this community with care every day.

The holiday season is rapidly approaching and many of you will soon be scurrying to prepare for the festive season. Accidents are much more likely to happen when you are in a rush, so please plan ahead. Give yourself a little extra time and double check for household fire hazards before rushing off to catch the ferry.

Electric heaters, wood stoves, clothes dryers, stoves, and portable appliances such as curling irons and toaster ovens often are found to be the cause of house fires. Left unattended these items can be lethal.

There are a lot of great tips to keep you safe over the winter months. Many of these can be found at www.nfpa.org/winter. Please visit this site to see how you can keep your loved ones and valued possessions safe this winter. There are some great short videos for you big kids paying the mortgages and grocery bills, and many for younger kids as well.

If you travel in the winter months and are away from your house for extended periods please consider installing a monitored smoke alarm system. A fire can smoulder undetected in a vacant home for hours before it is noticed by a neighbour or passerby. Usually the alarm is raised when flames and smoke are bursting through the roof. By then, there is little any fire department can do to save the structure.

Monitored smoke alarm systems give us the advantage of early detection and an opportunity to save your home and possessions.

To the Pender Post team: We sincerely thank you for getting our message out to so many Islanders and wish you all the very best for the holiday season.

Our sincerest thanks also to the Pender Island Fire Protection Society and especially the Board of Directors for all they do to keep our community safe. They are the unsung heroes of the organization. They give their time, guidance, support and wisdom freely, and we wish them all a wonderful holiday season and exceptional 2015.

This year we will again be assisting the food bank with a drive Dec. 6 at the Driftwood Center. Please watch for our volunteers and give them your support in making this Christmas season special for our neighbours in need.

Finally, on behalf of all of the dedicated volunteers and staff and Board of Directors at Pender Island Fire Rescue, we thank you for your support and wish you a happy and safe holiday season and all the best for 2015.

Fire Chief Charlie Boyte


Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
Permit is required
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member

Glenn Henderson

Support Crew
Truck Checker

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911

Non-Emergency:

250 629-3321

administration@
penderfire.ca

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