Rotarians around the world, including the Salt Spring Island Rotary Club, have all worked hard and been very good this year. We deserve lots and lots of presents. We only want one gift, dear Santa; help to prevent all children in the world from suffering from polio. Santa, you know we have worked hard to stop polio since 1985 and we have been 99 % successful! We saved more than 10 million children from crippling paralysis. We immunised over 2.5 billion children. We eradicated polio in all but 3 countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria & Pakistan. Our progress to the end goal, though, is at risk when the polio virus in these countries is imported to formerly polio free countries. Imagine, Santa, our horror with the news on October 24th, 2013, World Polio Day, when we learned of the outbreak of polio in Syria. Syria had been polio free since 1999. The civil war in Syria meant many children under the age of 2 were not vaccinated against polio. Now the polio virus is …Read more about Rotary Christmas Wish
Anonymous No More?
The Driftwood of October 2 reported on that “opponents (of the Emergency Centre)… brought forward an anonymous document proposing “plan B” … promising a building for less than half of the fire board’s proposed long term borrowing cost”. Perhaps they are anonymous no longer. Permasteel vice-president James Savage was interviewed on CFSI by Darlene Steele where he extolled the virtues of and savings, perhaps, to be had in using his product. Since this was also loudly brought forward by one person early in the process, I have to ask if she is one of the proponents of Property Taxpayers (sic) Plan “B”. At one (of two) fire board meetings Ms. Steele attended this year, she emphatically stated that no proposal could be considered without access to the needs analysis behind the plan. I would ask the same of her with regards Plan B. Who did the needs analysis? When? And where is it? Also, where are the floor plans, elevations and specifications for Plan B? All of these have be…Read more about Anonymous No More?
Training In Paradise – an Interview with Deputy Fire Chief, Arjuna George
CD – Deputy Chief George, I saw several photos on Facebook of your recent Training in Paradise weekend. Tell me a bit about the weekend. Deputy Chief – This is a regional firefighter training weekend put on jointly by SSIFR and by the Justice Institute of BC (JIBC), the provincial body for accreditation of firefighters and other emergency response agencies. Please join the conversation and view the images at our Facebook page. CD – I notice that this was your tenth anniversary of Training in Paradise (TIP). How did it start? Deputy Chief – In 2002, Captain Jamie Holmes and I attended a regional training in Kelowna. While the training was excellent, we felt there was something missing. On talking it over, we found that there had been zero interaction with the other firefighters who attended. So in 2004, we sponsored a regional training that not only had the always excellent training, but also included some social events where the firefighters could network with one ano…Read more about Training In Paradise – an Interview with Deputy Fire Chief, Arjuna George
Apparatus Bays in the New Salt Spring Emergency Fire/Rescue Centre
There are three single apparatus bays at Firehall #2 in Fulford and two bays at # 3 Firehall at Central. It is planned for either three or four drive through double bays at the new firehall # 1, depending on whether there is a partnership with Search & Rescue. One of the drive through double bays will be dedicated to Search & Rescue (SAR), the other three to the Fire Protection (SSIFD) service, allowing for up to 6 full sized fire apparatus. The three double bays will allow for the inside storage for all vehicles currently owned. Some vehicles, at this time, are kept outside which leads to faster depreciation,deterioration and increases the chance for equipment failure in an emergency situation. Some equipment is stored in outdoor containers around the island which means it is not readily accessible when every second counts. All bays will be properly equipped with a dedicated exhaust system for Diesel and Gasoline Engines. This is a vitally important safety featur…Read more about Apparatus Bays in the New Salt Spring Emergency Fire/Rescue Centre
Fighting Fires on Salt Spring - An Interview with Fire Chief Tom Bremner
Carol Dodd (CD) - Wow! Christopher Roy’s photos of the fire on Sunday, July 7th on Robinson Road are terrific. Chief Bremner, I have a number of questions I’d like to ask you. First, there seems to be a small lake nearby – could you have pumped water out of the lake to fight the fire? Chief – Normally, we would not use a standing body of water to draw water to fight a fire except as an absolute last resort. We don’t know what contaminates might be in the water, and were we to draw foreign bodies or silt into the system it could damage our equipment and render it unusable. With small filtered pumps, unfortunately, we cannot obtain the volume or pressure needed to fight large fires. CD – there are a lot of trees around the site, were you concerned about a possible forest fire? Chief – Absolutely. As a matter of fact, a number of trees did catch fire, we had BC Forestry notified and on standby however with limited water we were able to douse some of the flare-ups and othe…Read more about Fighting Fires on Salt Spring - An Interview with Fire Chief Tom Bremner
Hall Team Visits the New Saanich Fire Hall
Ten members of the building committee, the fire trustees and SAR visited the new Central Saanich Fire Hall that will be completed in the next month or six weeks. The site is larger than ours, and the building is about 15% larger than that planned for Salt Spring. The floor space that has been saved in the Salt Spring design is somewhat smaller rooms and less offices. But the core of the building is the same and incorporates all of the features required by a Fire/Rescue Service today and for the foreseeable future. It was instructive to see how the traffic flow in the building has been designed to have firefighters onto the truck and ready to go within one minute from anywhere in the hall or from arriving at the building on a call. The thoughtfulness that has gone into every aspect of the design is evident throughout. Small details, such as integrating roof (mechanicals) access into the hose and training tower exemplify the talent and experience our design team brings to th…Read more about Hall Team Visits the New Saanich Fire Hall
Emergency Centre Building Referendum Delayed
The Emergency Centre Building Committee has informed the Chair of the Board that a referendum will not be possible for June or July. The Chair has consulted with the members of the Board and has accepted the committee’s recommendation to delay the referendum. The building committee is working hard with the architects and engineers to get to an accurate cost for the new Fire Hall and Emergency Centre. In order to ensure that there is adequate time for the Rate Payers of Salt Spring to evaluate the costs, to provide input to the Board of Trustees, and to make an informed decision; it is better to postpone the referendum. We will continue the process of refining the plans and will continue to hold public meetings as more details become available.Read more about Emergency Centre Building Referendum Delayed
Will Fire Hall Three be Closed?
Many people are wondering that if the new Emergency Centre is located closer to the current Fire Hall Three at Central. "Will Fire Hall Three be closed?" The short answer is "No, it will not be closed". Hall Three was built to serve the northern areas of Salt Spring in 1994. It houses a Pumper Truck and a Tender (water tanker) and has a small office space and washroom. Storage is limited forcing the use of exterior storage containers. As well, the communications tower on site is critical for North Island Emergency Services communications. In order to retain our Superior Tanker (Water) Shuttle Service Accreditation (see below), we must continue to house all of our current fire apparatus in their respective response locations throughout Salt Spring. Reviews by the Fire Underwriters Survey (FUS) noted that the location of the Hall Three apparatus is a critical component of our Superior Tanker Shuttle Accreditation and is required to meet the current fire equipment need…Read more about Will Fire Hall Three be Closed?
Financing the New Fire Hall - “If I Had a Million Dollars…”
“If I Had a Million Dollars…” I’d retire the current long term debt. Not really, as the province does not allow for pre-payment options. Long term debt is issued to the Fire Protection District by the Province of British Columbia to finance significant physical assets. Interest and principal are collected at source by the province from local property taxes. For a list of current long term debt, please see www.ournewfirehall.com Financing the New Fire Hall # 1 The new Fire Hall/Emergency Centre will be financed in two stages. During the building process, interim financing will be provided by a financial institution on a line of credit at a negotiated interest rate. Monies will be borrowed as required during the course of construction. Once the Fire Hall/Emergency centre is complete, the Province of British Columbia will repay the interim financing and will create a loan to the Fire Protection District at the then current Provincial Rate. This rate will be guaran…Read more about Financing the New Fire Hall - “If I Had a Million Dollars…”
New Fire Hall: Why 18,000 Square Feet?
Why is the new protective service building – the fire hall – 18,000 square feet when the old one is only 5,000? The simple answer is that the space is needed. Just because the department has managed to survive in its present building does not mean that it is in any way adequate. This has been true for over twenty years. The fire department has grown, keeping pace with the island’s population; firefighting has changed; regulatory requirements have changed; the building has not changed. In addition, the new building is designed to be shared with Search and Rescue, and the Emergency Operations Centre. All together, these three organizations have around a hundred volunteers: the fire department 60; Search and Rescue 30; Emergency Operations 10 to 15. The old hall was designed for a maximum of 30. Why have so many volunteers? The answer is cost. A full-time, paid firefighter in British Columbia costs around $135,000 per year (including salary and benefits). The volunteer fi…Read more about New Fire Hall: Why 18,000 Square Feet?