Give Firefighters Credit

To risk your life on behalf of your community, that’s a special vocation; to volunteer to risk your life on behalf of your community, that’s a special Canadian. Volunteer firefighters provide an essential service to Canadians and our communities.

Some Volunteer Fire Departments in Canada have been forced to close because of a lack of volunteers. When these Departments close, communities often lose their only emergency responder service and are no longer sufficiently protected from fire and other emergencies.

The Government of Canada can play a vital role in solving the problems recruiting and retaining volunteer firefighters. From a survey of its members, the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) reports that over 95% stated that personal income tax relief would help them recruit new volunteers and retain those that have already been trained. That is why Canada’s Fire Chiefs are proposing the introduction of a $3,000 tax credit for volunteer firefighters who perform more than 200 hours of service in a given year.

Volunteer firefighters deserve some credit! Please support Canada’s volunteer firefighters by writing to the Finance Minister – just click on Take Action to share your support for this important initiative.

Depot Road Cleared. Merry Christmas

At 1PM on Christmas Eve we got a Duty Officer call reporting trees down across the power lines to the Recycling Depot. The Deputy and the Chief arrived on scene to find 2 trees had blown over, taken out the hydro lines and were blocking the road. Sixteen cars and their passengers were trapped at the Depot unable to escape.

After determining that the power lines were dead, we limbed and cut the trees to create a slot large enough for a car to drive through. Stani, the Depot manager, used the back hoe to move the cut logs and all of the trapped people were able to leave. Christmas was saved!

Merry Christmas from Hornby Island Fire Rescue

From all of us at Hornby Island Fire Rescue, have a great Christmas, and we hope you all have a prosperous and fulfilling New Year. Be safe and drive carefully.

Christmas Lights are Lit

Hornby Island Fire Hall lit up for Christmas

While some of us were practicing with the basket stretcher, and filling the Sandpiper water tank other HIFR elves were decorating the hall. It only took a few hours for a group of them to turn the fire hall into a Christmas postcard.

From everyone at HIFR to everyone on Hornby Island and anywhere else, “Happy Holidays!”. Have a safe and fire free season.

SCBA Evaluation

Our current airpacks or “Self Contained Breathing Apparatus” (SCBA) are almost 20 years old. They get used at almost every practice and at every fire scene and are showing their age. The maintenance required to keep them in service is becoming so expensive and time consuming that we’re looking at replacing them.

We brought in 4 different setups from the big 3 manufacturers: Scott, MSA, and Draeger. Using a 10 page evaluation form, 3 of our firefighters ran the air packs through their paces.

Every aspect of the packs were evaluated: Comfort, weight, ease of donning, changing the air tank, and durability of materials are only a few of the capabilities that we looked at.  The results have tabulated and we are now in talks with the CVRD to move forward to the next step.

Trucks are Now Snow Ready

At our chimney fire call today, it was pretty obvious that the weather was not going to cooperate with us. The roads were slick and the snow was still falling. When we got back to the Fire Hall we decided to chain up the trucks. This is not a decision that we take lightly. It involves an extra hour of being on a cold, wet truck bay floor after the equipment has been cleaned and put back in service.

The chains are also hard on the floors, hard on the roads, and hard on the trucks themselves. Then, after the roads improve, someone has to return to the firehall and take them all apart again. All that work is worth it when we have to drive out on a cold, snowy slippery night.

In fact, it was only 30 minutes after we finished chaining up the trucks that we got our second call of the day. At that point all of the drivers felt pretty good about the time spent on the cold, wet truck bay floor.

Water Storage Tank Update

New water tank at the bottom of Sandpiper
New water tank at Porpoise and Depape in Sandpiper.

In the event of a fire, HIFR cannot rely on having an endless supply of water from a hydrant the way urban centers do. Our hydrants come in the form of the ocean, backyard ponds, or one of the many storage tanks that we have placed around the island.

When the situation calls for it, our pumper truck can empty its entire load through hoselines in under 5 minutes. We need to be able to get water on scene as quickly as possible. To this end, we have contracted Jed Young to install 4 new tanks at pre-determined locations around the island.

Tanks will be installed in the following locations:

  • Sandpiper at Porpoise and Depape
  • Galleon at Brigantine and Sollans
  • Whaling Station at Perriwinckle
  • Euston Road at the top

Jed has sandblasted and painted the tanks with a rust resistant paint. The tanks are now all in their proper locations. They need to be backfilled to hold them in place, plumbed with fire department hookups, and then filled with water. We are still on schedule for having all of the new tanks usable by the end of the year. Look forward to additional landscaping during the upcoming spring season.

Graham Herbert's Sandpiper Tank
Graham Herbert's eye-popping mural on the Sandpiper Tank

We are thrilled to have the Hornby Island Arts Council take a keen interest in integrating the storage tanks into the island landscape.  They have coordinated island artists to paint murals on each of the tanks as funding comes available.

Graham Herbert has completed the latest project with his beautiful mural on the Sandpiper tank on Central road. The Whaling Station tanks on St Johns Pt Road is the next one to be done. Glen Rubina has been commisioned for that job. Elaine Savoie is also lined up for a mural on the Savoie Road tank.

HIFR Volunteers At New Clinic Project

Ten members of the fire department gave up a Saturday to retrofit some additional floor supports in the new clinic. We installed 14 new footings in the crawlspace of the clinic. These footings will bear the weight of 6×6 posts that will support the existing beams midspan.

All of the concrete was mixed outside of the crawlspace, loaded into 5 gallon buckets, and pushed on dollies to the forms that were being filled. Saddles were then placed on the footings to hold the posts.

Hornby Island Fire Rescue is proud to be a part of this massive community effort to build our new medical clinic. We have a special stake in this building since it is where most of our medical calls either end or start out. We all feel a little more connected to the building having worked on it.

More Smoke Detectors Available

The latest batch of smoke detectors has arrived. They are available for free just by calling the fire department at 250.335.2611. Leave a message and someone will bring one or two by your house and even install it for you.

By installing a detector you just may save a life and your property down the road. If you are renting your cabin, you have a legal obligation to make sure you have a working smoke alarm in place.