Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2019 August

Response Report: Salt Spring Island Firefighters responded to 58 calls the month of August.


The Ganges Fire Hall suffered two roof leaks over the month with the light summer rain. To rectify this issue before winter arrives a roofer and an engineer are needed. Work has been undertaken to arrange both of these tasks.
We also experienced an infestation of red and carpenter ants in the Ganges Fire Hall offices this summer. We will be closing the Office to undergo fumigation Sept 8th for a minimum of 24 hours. We are also in the works of removing all overhanging tree branches and bushed away from the building to reduce the issue.

On August 7th, SSIFR Firefighters responded to a vessel fire offshore in the harbour off Maracaibo. The large vessel anchored offshore was showing heavy smoke on arrival. The Canadian Coast Guard was unable to suppress the fire but secured the vessel from drifting. SSI Firefighters patrolled the shoreline to ensure no fire extension to the brush or nearby residences.

On August 20th SSIFR responded to a triple header (3 calls at the same time), all serious medical calls reported at the same period of time. Responders were stretched thin and resources were strategically moved around to support each of the calls. BC Ambulance was down to only one ambulance on the island at the time. Our excellent first responders were able to assist the community with compassion and excellence even with long delays.

One August 24th the Salt Spring Island Emergency Program launched their first workshop led by the new Coordinator Brian Bogdanovich. The next Emergency Program Workshop will be September 7th at the SSI Public Library on the Principles of FireSmart. This very informative program will give residents the knowledge to help better protect their homes in the event of a wildfire. The session starts at 5:00pm and all are welcome.

On August 28th, staff participated in a saltwater pump demonstration at the Government docks. The demonstration was on two saltwater pumps for firefighting. The availability of these pumps to both landowners and the fire service proved to be of great value. The largest of the two pumps could supply 300 gallons a minute of water with very user-friendly operation.


Our dedicated members trained on several disciplines over the month of August including: First Responder Training, CPR, Rescue Boat Operations, Drafting, Team Building, Ground Ladders, Auto Extrication and Technical Rope Rescue.

Inspection and Fire and Life Safety Education

Fire & Life Safety Education - Our Fire and Life Safety Educators met with 75 members of the community on several key interests. We collaborated with the SSI Emergency Program for a community presentation at the SSI Public Library on our islands Emergency Preparedness.

We are currently training new in-house Fire and Life Safety Educators to assist with a new program partnering with the CRD Emergency Program. In the fall there will be a full launch of the new SSI Emergency Resiliency Training program available to the community.


Our organization has never been so healthy with a full roster and very low turnover. As a result of the healthy roster, we will not be holding a Paid-On-Call recruit drive for 2020. Management’s target roster number is a minimum of 50 active members, currently, we have 56 active members. Fire Underwriters recommends for Salt Spring Island a minimum of 45 Paid on Call members.

For the first time, we had a local young female attend the annual Camp Ignite in Vancouver. The four-day event educates and inspires young women to follow their dreams of becoming a firefighter. Thanks to a full scholarship from the BC Fire Chief’s Association SSIFR Cadet Ella Baker was able to be part of the experience. Her personal story of the camp was highlighted in the Aug 21st edition of the Gulf Islands Driftwood. Congrats Cadet Baker!

Respectfully Submitted,

Arjuna George
Fire Chief

September 19, 2019 12:59 PM

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