HIFR Installs Fire Extinguishers at Elder Housing

The Hornby Island Elder Housing Village is a convenient and affordable housing village for Islanders 55 years and older. The society that operates the village relies on the generosity of Hornby Islanders and the goodwill of volunteers to keep the rents as low as possible.

Chief LaRose volunteered the better part of a Saturday installing over a dozen fire extinguishers in the dwelling units ensuring that each unit has a working extinguisher. Thanks for your work, Giff.

Orlando Graham’s Poster

I remembered a wildfire prevention poster contest we had in the school in 2006 for the Grade 3-5 class. The students were asked to draw a poster of what they thought would be a clear and simple message to warn of the dangers of wildfire. The winner of the contest would have their design made into posters, which would be used in a campaign to increase public awareness on the Island and on the Mt. Geoffrey trail system.

Orlando’s design was clearly the best we received (as voted by the firefighters). He had captured the
essence of the impact of wildfires on the forest and the creatures that live there. As modest as ever, Orlando didn’t sign his art and by the time I had all the copies made and laminated and magnetic signs made, it was too late to get his signature on them. You will still see them around; stapled to the trees at trail entrances and on the sides of our department vehicles.

I will have new copies made and posted to once again remind everyone of the impact our actions can have on our forests and wildlife.

Giff La Rose, Fire Chief

School Kids Visit for Fire Safety

School children visit HIFR for fire safety workshopOn May 16th, the Fire Department was pleased to welcome 6 students from our local school to attend a morning class on fire safety around the house. Led by 3 of our fire fighters, we started the morning off with a discussion about what fire is and what we need to be concerned about. Our knowledgeable students then joined us in the kitchen to examine what is hot or not, if it is safe to leave pans on the stove, and why it is not safe to play in the kitchen. We finished the morning off in a room filled with thick smoke and the sounds of fire and smoke detectors while a fire fighter came to our “rescue”. This gave our students a chance to recognize what it would sound like and look like if a fire ever happened at home and get some tips on how to react. After a final chat upstairs our students returned to school with smoke detectors to be installed in their bedrooms, a map to plan their escape routes, and some quiz books to encourage additional learning.

We would like to remind families that it is recommended that they install smoke detectors in each bedroom and all the major rooms in your home. They should be tested and have the cobwebs cleaned out monthly, and have their batteries replaced each year. If you find you have to pull the batteries to “shut up that smoke detector” you may be interested in kitchen smoke detectors that have 5 minute “snooze buttons” on them. After 5 minutes they will turn themselves back on ensuring you are alerted to possible fire emergencies. Advanced warning of a fire is the best insurance you have that your loved ones will not get hurt. Take the time to establish your escape routes, decide where to meet outside the home, and practice it yearly.

Our volunteer Fire Department is committed to the life time task of understanding fire and protecting our community. If you have a Hornby Island group that would like to spend time with our fire fighters learning more about safety in the home or business, please contact Hornby Island Fire Rescue. We are always delighted when our community members join in our passion.

We thank Ruth, Aaidan, Braelin, Jade, Raylen, Sarah, and Sequoia for investing in their future by coming to learn about fire and how to stay safe. It was a fun and productive morning.

Wood Stove Inspections

As many of you know, getting a WETT certified inspector over to the island can be an expensive proposition. We at HIFR have looked into getting one of our members certified but the cost is huge, the liability insurance is out of this world,  and the certification process is unworkable for us on a remote island.

It’s short notice, but on June 1st Comox Fire and Patio is sending someone over to do an inspection. Chances are good that if he can do several inspections while he’s here, the cost per inspection will be reduced significantly. If you’d like to get in on the inspections on June 1, I suggest calling Comox Fire and Patio at (250)338-8522.

Burn Permits Now Required

It’s that season again. Permits are now required for any open burning larger than a campfire. Permits are free and are available by calling the Fire Department at 250.335.2611. On Wednesdays and Saturdays we will come by to have a look at your burn setup and write the permit.

The permit process is to ensure that anyone who is planning on doing a burn has taken all the appropriate precautions. To hasten the permit process please make sure that your fire is:

  • not under power lines
  • not under tree branches
  • a safe distance from any buildings
  • on mineral soil, not organic soil
  • not containing any plastic, rubber, or petroleum products

Dryer Vent Safety Alert from Safety Authority

“A dryer and the attached vent system requires regular cleaning and maintenance, just like your furnace or other fuel burning equipment. Lack of regular cleaning and maintenance of dryers and their attached venting systems, has been identified as causing fires.”

The BC Safety Authority has issued a safety alert about maintaining your dryer vent. The upshot is that when lint collects in the vent, the dryer has to work harder to push the air out. This will heat up the dryer even more, creating a feedback loop and possibly a fire hazard.  Read the whole alert here.

Chimney Fire Season

We’ve now been to 2 chimney fires in under a month. Fortunately no one was hurt and no property was damaged. There was a common theme to both of our calls that is worth mentioning. That theme is a wood stove connected to a chimney with a horizontal pipe.

This is the type of chimney with horizontal component that we've talking about

Any horizontal surface will collect stuff, whether it’s knick-knacks on a kitchen shelf or creosote in a chimney. It seems that in both cases the fire started near to the joint where the horizontal component of the stovepipe connected to the main chimney. The good news is that usually this stovepipe is relatively easy to clean. The bad news is that it is often forgotten when the rest of the chimney is cleaned.

If you have one of these setups, make sure that the elbows out of the wood stove get taken apart and thoroughly cleaned as part of your regular cleaning schedule. Also, if you have this type of setup, you will want to clean out the stove pipe more often than those with a strictly vertical chimney system.

If you should discover a chimney fire, throw 1 cup of water into the firebox, close the door and the damper on the stove. Then call 911, and leave the house. One cup of water will expand to 1500 cups of steam which can go a long way to cooling the fire without damaging the flue.

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.