Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2018 May

During the month of May 2018, the Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue (SSIFR) responded to 62 incidents. These included: 21 medical incidents, 16 open burn incidents, 7 motor vehicle incidents (MVI), 3 brush fires and 2 reports of a suspected brush fire, 4 calls for assistance, 1 structure fire, 1 reported structure fire, 2 alarms - one commercial and one residential, 1 drowning, 1 propane incident, 1 BC Hydro line down, 1 rope rescue, and 1 beach fire.

SSIFR responded to two incidents in May for fires resulting from pots left unattended on kitchen stoves. According to National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA,) cooking equipment is the leading cause of both home structure fires and civilian fire injuries and the second leading cause of home fire deaths.

On May 24, SSIFR attended two back-to-back technical rescue incidents, the first involving an out-of-district rescue. Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) was called to assist with this technical call. The second technical incident that day was to rescue a victim who had fallen over a bank on Nose Point Road. GSAR was also requested to help on this call and assisted with patient care. Many may not know that the SSIFR team is trained as Salt Spring’s first responders for technical rope rescues. With a focus on low to steep slopes, SSIFR also works closely with GSAR on incidents that are considered high angle and complex.

Operations Update

The Government of British Columbia commissioned an independent review of flood and wildfire practices in the province, with a focus on events surrounding the 2017 flood and wildfire season. The BC Flood and Wildfire Review will examine the implementation of both provincial and local government emergency management systems to determine how the province can better plan for the future. To review the full review of flood and wildfire practices in the province, visit.

For Salt Springers interested in reviewing the Fire Chief’s Annual 2017 Report, it is posted on the SSIFR website and can be reviewed and downloaded.

We are excited to have our two summer students join us this season providing assistant with administration as well as pre-fire planning. Welcome Connor and Alex.


In May, we offered an in-house Basic Forestry course (S100) in preparation for this summer’s wildfire season as well a conducting a full-scale scenario utilizing all our forestry and sprinkler skills. Six of our members attended the BC Fire Training Officers Association conference in Sooke. A variety of subjects were covered, including heavy rescue, rapid intervention rescue, forcible entry, wildland firefighting, fire attack, building search, elevator rescue and several leadership-based sessions.

Fire and Life Safety Inspections

Thirty-three commercial fire and life safety inspections were conducted along with two site fire safety consultations. Our Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue team, in partnership with the Salt Spring Island Conservancy and Salt Spring Wood Chipping, held two “Broom in Bloom” chipping events, one at Central Fire Hall (#3), and the second at Fulford Fire Hall (#2.) The broom removal project is aimed at reducing the highly flammable and invasive broom and gorse from our island, reducing the fire danger. Approximately sixty residents dropped off truckloads of broom for safe disposal.


We offered a FireSmart education session to the residents of the Beaver Point Emergency POD group. Twenty residents learned the ins and outs of how to properly FireSmart their homes and properties. SSIFR offers FireSmart education sessions to neighbourhood groups on a regular basis to instruct residents on fuel management. If you would like to discuss a workshop, please connect with the staff at 250-537-2531 or stop into the Ganges Fire Hall (#1).

As part of Emergency Preparedness month, the SSIFR education team had several booths at the 3rd Annual Emergency Fair, presenting FireSmart, home sprinklers, first aid, and general fire and life safety information. We also held a FireSmart awareness session at the Ganges Fire Hall, working alongside a team from the Salt Spring Island Emergency Program. Our First Aid team also taught CPR/AED to 12 new parents at the Family Place.
Working in collaboration with the Salt Spring Island Emergency Program, we have formed a new Wildfire Interface Committee as part of our plan to revise and update our Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). This new committee has members from all agencies as well as other key stakeholders.

On May 18th, we initiated a backyard burning ban in alignment with the our region’s provincial prohibition of fires, including machine piles and burning backyard waste. Under our Open Burning Bylaw No.125, we issued our first Final Notice letter to a repeat offender for infractions of our burning regulations.

Campfires are still permitted with a valid fire permit.

You can apply for a fire permit at the Ganges Fire Hall or online at

July 9, 2018 10:54 AM

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