Here is what is likely the last update on the fire hall construction. Included is an update on the Superiour Tanker Shuttle Accreditation and the end-of-project financial wrap-up. Click on the image for a pdf.
After a ton of hard work and long hours of studying, Duncan MacCaskill and Rob Lewis have been promoted from Rookie to Firefighter. Duncan returned to us this year after a lengthy absence and Rob joined our department almost two years ago.
The test to be promoted has a multi hour practical component and a 40 question written test. They both demonstrated an outstanding commitment to their training, to the betterment of our department, and to the health and safety of our community.
Congratulations Rob and Duncan!
On behalf of HIFR, and the entire Hornby Island community, I’d like to congratulate Jac Graham, Rob “Louie” Lewis, Albini Lapierre, and Scott Towson for achieving their FR licenses though the Emergency Medical Assistants Licensing Board.
They dedicated themselves to a 40 hour course then did many more hours of practice before challenging both a written and practical exam. I’d also like to thank Paula Courteau for her many hours of prep and for her excellent instruction, and John Heinegg for doing all of the evaluations.
I could not be more proud of the dedication of this group of volunteers to the health and safety of our community.
The most recent news letter from the Coastal Fire Center has a bunch of great information inside. The front page tells us all about the various categories of outdoor fires… What makes a campfire a campfire and what differentiates a category 2 backyard burn from a category 3 slash pile.
Further on in the newsletter they discuss the often talked about ventilation index and how to report a non permitted burn.
Click on the image for a pdf version of the newsletter.
As of noon today the Ministry of Forests closed all backyard burning in the coastal fire region. If you have a current permit, you should consider it revoked.
Campfires are still allowed without a permit. A campfire is fire for cooking, warmth, or ceremonial purposes and not to exceed .5 meters x .5 meters.
It’s been a pretty dry spring so far and the forest is starting to get a bit crunchy. All backyard burning, other than campfires, will require a permit. Permits are free and we write them on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It requires one of us come to your place to make sure that the pile is safe. You will need to have a hose or other water deliver system on standby and some hand tools to pull the pile apart if required.
Please be kind to your neighbors and only light up your pile when the venting index for Central Vancouver Island is good.
To get your permit call the fire hall at 250.335.2611 and leave a message or talk to the chief.
With all the talk about emergency preparedness that we’ve been seeing lately, I thought I would pass this on to our community:
The BC Cattlemen’s Association has partnered with BC Ag Safe, with funding from Imperial Oil, to put on an “Emergency Management” workshop throughout the province over a nine week period starting February 27th. They will be covering topics such as how to safeguard your operation from emergencies such as fires and floods, how to create a safety plan, what to do in the midst of an emergency and who to contact for assistance and resources after an emergency.
These workshops are open to all agriculture commodity groups, as well as acreage/rural land owners. If you or another representative are planning to attend, please RSVP back to me at email@example.com or call 250-573-3611.
Below is a list of the workshop locations and dates, with venues currently being secured.
- Tuesday, February 27: Fort St. John 4pm
- Thursday, March 1: Vanderhoof 9am
- Saturday, March 3: Smithers 9am
- Thursday, March 7: Quesnel 9am
- Wednesday, March 8: 100 Mile House 9 am
- Wednesday, March 14: Kamloops 9am
- Wednesday, April 4: Williams Lake 9am
- Wednesday, April 11: Cranbrook 9am
- Thursday, April 12: Grand Forks 9am
- Monday, April 16: Penticton 9am
- Tuesday, April 17: Vernon 9am
- Wednesday, April 25: Comox 9am
They will be sending out a reminder invite, with the exact address in the next week, but look forward to hearing from you.
After the tsunani warning last night I’ve had a few phone calls from people asking how they can ensure that they are notified of a imminent emergency.
The Comox Valley Emergency Program has a notification system to keep residents and businesses informed in a timely manner. Alerts will be sent to a mobile phone OR via voice message on a landline and can be tailored to the community in which you live. Sign up for it here. If you want to receive alerts relevant to Hornby Island make sure that you select our zone which is Electoral Area A (Baynes Sound – Denman/Hornby Island)”.
If time allowed, the secondary notification would be HIFR driving our five trucks through affected neighborhoods broadcasting the warning over our loudspeakers.
On January 2nd we attended a motor vehicle incident on Central Road, at Strachan. The driver was OK, but the result was a downed power pole with the primary hydro line down across the road.
Upon arriving at the scene that day, one of our senior officers saw what he would expect to see on Hornby. Neighbours helping out someone in need, without thinking twice. However, what these helpful people didn’t realize was the severity of the potentially dangerous situation that they were putting themselves in.
Primary voltage lines from hydro poles can kill people dead. Really dead, full stop. And if a person were to manage to survive the high voltage shock, the results aren’t much more appealing, with life altering injuries such as lost limbs or third-degree burns.
We had a training course from senior BC Hydro personnel as a part of overall HIFR training last year and we learned just how dangerous hydro can be. It only takes a very small amount electricity to kill in various situations so the 14,400 volts on the top of our poles is not to be trifled with. Many people will think, “well I saw the line on the ground and it was obviously dead, as there were no sparks”. Or some people with a little more experience may say to themselves that the fuse must have blown and so the line is dead. Or perhaps they think because there is no power at the houses down the line, certainly it must be dead.
However, this just isn’t so. BC Hydro can try and re-energize the line at any time from a remote location. This can happen without warning. Another hazard is private generators that might be improperly hooked up to a house’s breaker panel and not be isolated from the hydro lines. The power from a house can travel back up a home owner’s lines and then through a transformer and become 14,400 volts all over again. BC Hydro crews have told me they live in fear of this and treat every line on the ground as though it were live and deadly. Phone lines, ground wires and the old cable TV system are also all to be avoided as they can cross a live primary line and carry deadly voltage too.
For members of the fire department the worst of it is we can’t help someone if they get themselves into a situation. We must stay ten meters back from hydro lines and we must protect ourselves from danger at all costs. We need to live to help another day.
Please protect yourself. If a line is down, treat it as though it can kill, because it just might. NEVER get closer than 10 meters from any downed wire. If you’re in your car, stay in your car as that’s the safest place for you. You just can’t assume that it’s safe to get anywhere near a downed wire.
As BC Hydro says on their website…..DOWN EQUALS DANGER.
As part of the Island Agricultural Show in Cowichan there will be a half day workshop in strategies for protecting your home, property, animals, and general livelihood from wildfires. Click here for more details.