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Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2019 February

    Fire & Police    March 26, 2019

Response Report – Salt Spring Island Firefighters responded to 58 calls for assistance in February, a 52% INCREASE over Feb 2018.


As the cold weather hit, so did an increase in chimney fires and Carbon Monoxide calls.  Chimney fires are a leading cause for structure fires on Salt Spring Island.  These fires can readily spread into the roof or structure of a building and have destroyed numerous homes on Salt Spring.  Chimney fires are often first detected by a loud roaring noise. Clouds of black smoke or sparks might be visible from the top of the chimney. In severe cases, flames can extend several feet above the chimney.

To prevent chimney fires, focus on these two key ideas:

1) Clean, maintain and inspect your chimney at least once a year.

2) Burn only clean and well-seasoned wood.


Our organization sends gratitude to our great firefighters who retired this past month.  Firefighter Colin McDougall joined Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue in 2012 and was a key responder within our service.  Colin has since moved off island, we wish Colin and his family the best in their next chapter of life and thank him for his 6+ years of service to our community.  Also, this month Firefighter Liam Hackett retired and is now a full-time university student in Victoria.  Liam joined SSIFR in 2017 and was excelling as a junior firefighter.  I would like to acknowledge their commitment to public safety and thank them for their years of service.   Currently within our membership we have two members on a leave of absence.

SSIFR Firefighters participated in a BC Lung Association challenge and came out on top as the fastest “Turn Out” team in B.C.  Firefighter Krystal C and Lt Colby S had the fastest time with an impressive 45.6 seconds!  Captain Dominque G and Firefighter Bree H also joined the challenge by climbing an impressive 48 stories at the annual Stair Climb for Clean Air in Richmond all while dressed in full turn out clothing and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).


Our dedicated firefighters had a busy month of regular training as well as special operations and medical training.  Our recruits of 2019 committed over 50 hours to be qualified and licensed First Responders.  The 2-week program provided the basic medical training for our new members to be able to manage medical emergencies.   Our new First Responders are licensed under the provincial Emergency Medical Assists Licensing Board (3 Yr. license)

Our regular members focused on hose and nozzle management, Self-Contained Breathing apparatus (SCBA), and pump operations.  The recruits studied Incident Command and communications on top of their First Responder studies.

Our Assistant Chief attended a FireSmart course in Nanaimo while two members on the CRD HAZMAT team attended a two-day full-scale scenario in Victoria working alongside the RCMP and Armed Forces.

The first two months of 2019 proved to be a challenge with well below seasonal temperatures and unusual snow accumulations.  Our Water and Ice special operations team took full advantage of the ice and conducted critical ice rescue training.

First Responders Recruit Training

Ice Training


Fire and Life Safety Education

Our Fire and Life Safety Educators met with 169 members of the community on several key interests.

  • -FireSmart presentation at Seedy Saturday
  • FireSmart and alternatives to open burning workshop
  • Community Storm Debrief with the Community Alliance
  • Met with the Ganges neighbourhood P.O.D group on FireSmart and neighbourhood resiliency
  • Partnered with the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue team to certify them on emergency airway management and oxygen therapy.
  • Met with new young families on emergency choking and child CPR.
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