Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2018 November

Response Report - Salt Spring Island Fire rescue (SSIFR) responded to 34 incidents in November totaling 633 incidents from January 1-November 30, 2018. These incidents included: 2 Chimney fires, 8 medical calls, 6 MVI (motor vehicle incidents), 3 Rescues (1 rope/high/confined, 1 elevator, 1 animal), 5 Calls for assistance, 3 Open burns, 2 Beach fires, 1 Tree on lines, 4 Alarm Bells (2 residential, I commercial, and 1 carbon monoxide alarm) Operations Update - Every fall, Mainroads Contracting organizes a meeting with other emergency response agencies to prepare for the winter season. This year, the meeting was held on November 7th, and SSIFR attended, along with other local emergency preparedness agencies. Initial weather forecasts predict a low snow year but potentially heavy rain and wind. On Nov 28th the Alert Ready Emergency Notification system was tested in BC. The Alert Ready system is Canada’s emergency alerting system. Alert Ready delivers critical and potentially…
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Carbon Monoxide (CO) Incident On Island - Do You Have An Alarm?

Do you have a Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm installed in your home? - Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue recently attended a carbon monoxide (CO) incident at a home that was too close a call for those exposed. Although it was originally thought to be false alarm, firefighters took reading of the air with a 4 Gas detector and quickly determined high levels of carbon monoxide. The propane furnace was identified as the probable culprit. After thorough ventilation and shutting down the furnace, the air quality improved. Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn. In homes, fuel-burning heating and cooking equipment are potential sources of carbon monoxide. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. What are the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning? Carbon Monoxide enters the body throu…
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Salt Spring’s Firefighters - Lieutenant Peter Andress

Raised on Salt Spring by a family that supported the community through a variety of volunteer roles, it was only natural for me to follow that same path of volunteerism. In high school, I was a member of the Youth Coast Guard in Mill Bay. I was a member of the local Land Search and Rescue team for 12 years and served as chair for eight of those years. My transition to the the fire service was a natural one. As a Paid on Call (POC) firefighter, I am able to satisfy my need to be a contributing part of the community in which I was raised. This commitment to service has resulted in me also becoming a part of both the rope and water rescue teams in addition to the minimum weekly commitment of a POC. Each of these responsibilities require time, both to train as well as to share what I have learned from past training with my teammates. Becoming an officer was a natural progression, reflecting my time and energy commitments. There are times that my commitment feels like it is no…
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How Safe is Your Lovely Roaring Fire?

Did you know that chimney fires are the most common fire emergencies  this time of the year?  - As our weather cools, and you begin enjoying your roaring fire, there are important safety tips you should know. Each year, Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue (SSIFR) is called to between 7 and 15 chimney fires. As these fires can easily spread - having already destroyed too many homes on Salt Spring - why not Burn it Smart to prevent fires in your chimney? The best way to prevent chimney fires is to: Clean, maintain, and inspect your chimney at least once a year Chimney fires are caused by accumulations of creosote, solidified flammable particulates from wood smoke. These deposits can generally be removed by annual cleanings, although chimneys with unusual configurations or extra heavy use may need care more often. When was your chimney last cleaned? Burn only clean and well-seasoned wood Burning wet or unseasoned wood creates additional creosote in your chimney. …
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Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2018 September

Response Report - SSIFR responded to an above average month with 79 Incidents in September. Alarm Bells - 5, Assistance - 11, Medical - 27, HAZMAT - 2, MVI - 5, Structure Fire - 4, Open Burn - 18, Hydro - 1, Beach Fire - 2, Brush / Grass Fire - 3, Rubbish Fire - 1 Operations Update - After significant rainfall and a reduced fire hazard to Moderate/Low the burning ban that had been in place since July 18th, 2018 was lifted. This month we launched our annual Paid-On-Call Recruit Drive. Firefighters staffed the Fall Fair booth Sept 15-16 promoting the organization and our recruit program. Applications close Oct 31st 2018. Applications can be picked up at the Ganges Fire hall or online at www.saltspringfire.com/recruit September 4th was the close of our Wildfire Deployment for the Northern BC wildfires. For the second year in a row we have deployed SSIFR firefighters and our Reserve Water Tender to assist the Province. Our 2018 deployment spanned from August 15th to Septembe…
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Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2018 August

Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue August 2018 incidents report. Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue (SSIFR) responded to a department record of 108 Incidents for the month of August. These were: 38 calls for assistance, 17 medical emergencies, 1 residential structure fire and 1 suspected residential structure fire , 2 commercial structure fires , 4 MVIs (motor vehicle incidents), 17 brush/grass fires or suspected fires, 10 open burn fires, 3 Hydro fires, 1 boat fire, 3 hazardous material incidents, 2 animal rescues, 1 rope rescue, 5 commercial and 3 residential alarms This month, crews were busy with wildfires, each of them successfully-contained: On August 3, SSIFR responded to our first major wildfire of the season. The fire, in a hard-to- access wooded area on Beaver Point Road, proved to be a challenge. The fire crews were effective in containing the fire. On August 21, SSIFR responded to another south end brush fire, this time on Musgrave Road. Despite drought-like cond…
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Don’t Miss Your Chance to Discuss the Fire District’s Budget Increase

On Monday, October 1, 2018, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Lions Hall, Fire Trustees will welcome your questions about a new budgetary direction they are proposing to pursue. Although much in the 2019 budget is the same as previous years, this budget also includes some new reserves, including one to help pay for a new firehall. New expenditures for the proposed budget include $137,350 for an apparatus replacement reserve fund and $300,000 to be placed in reserve for a new firehall. A significant majority of the Trustees believe these increases would be prudent planning. But, Trustees need to hear from you. Do you support raising taxes to set aside funds for future needs and, if so, how much should be placed in reserve? If you come to Lions Hall October 1, you will be given plenty of opportunity to learn more and voice your opinion about the proposed budget. Only after the feedback received at this public meeting is carefully considered, will the Fire Board finalize its 2019 budget. …
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Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2018 July

Salt Spring Fire Rescue (SSIFR) responded to 71 Incidents for the month of July. Operations Update Due to dry and hot weather, SSIFR declared a full fire ban July 18, in an effort to reduce human-caused fires on the island. Since July 12th Salt Spring Island has maintained a steady “Extreme” Fire danger. Work is underway enhancing the front office at fire hall one in Ganges. The small improvements will create a more welcoming entrance with better access to fire and life safety educational information. Incident Highlights With the dry conditions and low humidity several mulch fires were reported due to improperly discarded smoking materials. A ‘No Tossed Butts’ campaign will launch in August in an effort to bring awareness to improperly discarded butts and the risk they pose for our island. July 14th, Firefighters responded to a two-vehicle motor vehicle incident (MVI) on Long Harbour with extensive vehicle damage and multiple patients. Long Harbour Roa…
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Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue continue wildfire deployment

Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue has been requested to continue our wildfire deployment in northern British Columbia. A replacement crew left August 29th, 2018 to relieve SSIFR Firefighters Taylor and Nuyens. Firefighters Mitchell Sherrin and Jason Gaffney took over starting Aug 30th, 2018. The state of emergency declared August 15th has now been formally extended to Sept 12th, 2018. Recent reports from the BC Wildfire Service now state 2018 as the worst fire season on record with over 1.3 million hectares burnt so far this year. As of August 29th, 2018, 534 wildfires are burning in B.C., with 34 evacuation orders affecting approximately 3,200 people, plus 53 evacuation alerts impacting approximately 21,800 people. I would like to thank both Firefighters Taylor and Nuyens for assisting our neighbours to the north during British Columbia’s worst fire season in history. Our thoughts continue to go out to all the communities affected by this year’s fire season. …
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Salt Spring Fire Fighters 2nd Deployment to Replace Exhausted Local Team

Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue has sent a replacement team to relieve Firefighters Ponsford and Byrne after an exhausting week battling the fires in northern British Columbia. Firefighters Eric Taylor and Warren Nuyens are the second team to deploy from Salt Spring Island. Ponsford and Byrne are on route home for some well-deserved rest. Ponsford and Byrne spent the last few days fighting the Verdun Mountain fire and working night operations with other BC Firefighters and the BC Wildfire Service. “What we saw at the Verdun Mountain Fire was the tip of the iceberg as far as the size of the fire and the destruction and displacement it has caused”. The Verdun Mountain fire is now estimated to be at 31,413 hectares according to the BC Wildfire Service. SSIFR Firefighter Patrick Byrne also expressed his feelings on the experience “the community support for all the fire crews working up here to contain these fires is deeply moving, heartfelt thanks!” Our second deployment start…
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Alert: South End Brush Fire In Progress (Now Under Control)

UPDATE: Crews have secured a perimeter around the fire and are now in the process of extinguishing and hand-digging the fire. There is no threat to structures and no need for any evacuations. The fire is classified as "Under-Control" Salt Spring Fire Department has advised us that there is a brush fire on Musgrave Road (100 feet x 80 feet). At present there is no risk to people or buildings. Isabella, Musgrave and Mt. Tuam PODS have been notified. Crews have responded to a brush fire on Musgrave Rd at 3:25pm. Fire is estimated at 100’ x 80’ beside the road and it is already 50% contained as of 16:15. Please remain away from the area to allow crews to work. Updates will follow when there is more information. (Note: File Photo)
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Salt Spring Fire Fighters Deploy to Help with Shovel Lake Fire

British Columbia is facing another extreme fire season with over five hundred fires burning in British Columbia. On Aug 15th a provincial state of emergency was declared for the second year in a row. After a request for assistance from the Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC) Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue deployed our reserve Fire tender (RT2) with two SSIFR firefighters; Capt. Doug Ponsford and Firefighter Patrick Byrne. Our SSIFR firefighters joined forces with over 100 firefighters from all over the province in an effort to combat the Shovel Lake Fire. The massive Shovel Lake fire is estimated to be 85,744 Hectares in size. The firefighters are calling Nechako Valley Secondary School in Vanderhoof home. Capt. Ponsford expressed that the community has been very supportive and welcoming. SSIFR Firefighters Ponsford and Byrne are part of Task Force 3 and are shuttling water for fire suppression and structural protection in the Babine area fires burning near Fraser La…
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Alert: Fulford Harbour Boat Fire

It probably started around 12:15 and was out with the boat totally destroyed by about 12:45. Coast Guard and lots of other vessels on hand. Didn't see the initial fire so don't know if there was an explosion or not. Of course, have no idea if the occupants got to safety but likely they did as it's a very busy boat channel. These pictures are from the end of Isabella Point Road. Photos and news story contributed by Laurie Robertson. Some of the smoke from the fire could be seen on the Salt Spring Exchange - Fulford Harbour Cam.
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Fire News: Close Call, On Alert, Lessons Learned - Uniting Community Efforts Through the Emergency POD System

(Humanity) is not imprisoned by habit. Great changes in (us) can be wrought by crisis - once that crisis can be recognized and understood. Norman Cousins Glimpsing backwards to discover patterns of adaption For those of us who have gone through hardships in the past, this week we woke up once again to the need for radical mutual care. It made me reflect on the day we moved in when a neighbour walked down the driveway with a jar of homemade plum jam. She became a life long friend. Being welcomed home by a neighbour is one of the best feelings in the world. Importantly, coming from away we were being carefully skilled on community living. Salt Spring rural life has been good that way. Twenty years later our home is filled with 26 nervous neighbours eager to discuss the recent fire and our ability to respond. Three days after the Beaver Point Rd fire threatened to turn much of what we love to ash we gathered to determine how our chapter of the Emergency Pod system worked …
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Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2018 June

Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue responded to 60 Incidents in June 2018. These were: Twenty (20) medical emergencies, One (1) structure fire, Five (5) motor vehicle incidents (MVIs), Eight (8) calls for assistance, Two (2) BC Hydro incidents - one fire and one tree on lines, Thirteen (13) open burns, One (1) animal rescue, Two (2) chemical spills or leaks, Two (2) reported (sighted or smelled) brush fires, and Four (4) commercial and two (2) residential alarms, Operations Update: Chief George attended the Annual General Meeting for the CRD Communications Centre (Fire Dispatch). This centre dispatches for sixteen fire departments and handled a total of 5,268 calls in 2017. Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue was the 3rd busiest service with 701 calls in 2017, 13% of the total number of dispatch calls. The annual commercial inspection of all fire apparatus was successfully-completed by Salt Spring’s PNR Trucking. This inspection is required for the annual fleet insurance renewa…
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Salt Spring's Firefighters - Chantelle Pohl, My Story

My story starts with a fluke accident on a water slide that suddenly transformed me from a healthy and happy 20-year-old to a depressed and suicidal young woman suffering from Chronic Back Pain. For two years, I was in constant pain, unable to work, and seldom even able to get up from my couch. Despite being unable to earn money, I gave away thousands of dollars trying to remedy the pain as well as seeking its root cause. I was told that I may have chronic pain for the rest of my life. This was simply not something I was willing to accept! My journey to recovery started with seeing a sign Got Back Pain? at a trade show and laughing inside, thinking: You have no idea! I kept walking, assuming that this back place would be no different from the other dozen that I had already tried that had just band-aided the situation, offering no real improvement. . . . But, something inside made me turn around and go back and inquire. Best mind-changing decision I've ever made! They look…
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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 tha…
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Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2018 April

In April 2018, Salt Spring Fire Rescue responded to 41 incidents including: Three commercial and one residential alarm bell, Three calls for assistance, One beach fire, One chemical spill or leak, One BC Hydro fire, 21 medical assistance calls, Two motor vehicle incidents, Six open burn calls, One rescue, and One chimney fire. Operations Update Thanks to Happy Dogs Legacy Campaign, Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue has outfitted our frontline apparatus with pet oxygen masks. These special oxygen masks allow us to provide pets that have been exposed to smoke the best possible chance of recovery. April 11th the Province of BC announced proposed amendments to the Workers Compensation Act. The suggested change to legislation will add PTSD and other mental disorders to the list of conditions that are recognized as being presumptive conditions associated with firefighting and other emergency professions. This is the first step towards providing m…
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Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 2018 March

In March 2018, Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue responded to 45 incidents including: - Three alarms (two residential and one carbon monoxide,) - Five calls for assistance, - Twenty calls for medical assistance, - Two motor vehicle incidents, Six open burns, Five structure fires, Three vehicle fires and One false alarm. With rainfall for both February and March lower than usual, firefighters are preparing for another hot, dry summer. Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue received two letters of appreciations and two plaques from Emergency Management BC and the BC Wildfire Services for its response to the devastating wildfires of 2017. Training This month’s Tuesday night training included: - First Responder skills, - rescue boat training; - firehose handling; - Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA); and - fire extinguishers. Our recruit class of twelve also spent 50 hours training to become First Responders. This course is delive…
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Fire News: Being FireSmart Protects Your Home

FireSmart is a wildfire safety programme with an economical and common sense approach. The key concept of FireSmart involves removing or reducing the amount of burnable material (think “fire fuel”) from around your home. The area within 10 meters (30 feet) of your home is the “Priority Zone.” If you remove fire fuel from this priority zone, it will dramatically increase the fire protection of your home. Small actions, like clearing away dead woody debris, mowing the lawn, and pruning lower branches from nearby trees, can be the deciding factor between whether or not your home survives a fire storm. Cleaning needles from gutters and moving flammables (like firewood) away from the priority zone are other simple common-sense things you can do to protect your home. For more information about FireSmart, check out the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch website, the FireSmart Canada website, drop by the Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue (SSIFR) Ganges Firehall, phone (250) 537-2…
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