FireSmart Community Champion Course – June 7th

We will be facilitating a FireSmart Community Champion Course from 9am-1pm on Sunday, June 7th.  This course will be taught via the Zoom online platform.

This course is meant for people who are willing to become leaders in their neighbourhoods, and will outline how they can be involved in the FireSmart Community Recognition Program, and help reduce the risk of a wildfire devastating their neighbourhood.

Please visit FireSmart BC for lots of great information.

Please contact our office to register.

Burning Ban in Place but there is a better way to get rid of that fire load!

Thanks to the RDN and other supporting agencies there is now a way that we can safely get rid of that fire load in your yard before wildfire season without burning!

A 30 Yard Roll off bin Grant for Neighbourhoods

Requirements are….

  1. You must have 4 or more confirmed neighbors that have yard waist to add to the bin
  2. The 4 homes must have an assessment done by the GVFD representative before a roll off bin will be delivered.
  3. Only burnable organic yard waste is permitted in the bins (IE. Branches, grass and leaves)
  4. Absolutely no other prohibited materials (IE. building materials, rocks, or dirt)

Please gather your 4 or more neighbors and then give the GVFD a phone call to schedule your assessment. (250) 247-9677 or email at gabfire@shaw.ca

In addition to this grant, there are many more available to Fire Smart Champions and their neighborhoods! If you would like to become a fire smart champion the GVFD will be putting on an online, ZOOM conference course soon! Please call the office at the GVFD to get your name on the list!

Lets get creative, work together, and FIRE SMART our community without affecting air quality for those who need it the most in these unprecedented times.

 

Thanks Gabriola!

 

 

Request for Medical Equipment

Dear Gabriola,

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department as well as some of the other emergency services (Excluding BCAS) on the island are sending out a request for any personal protective equipment such as N95 surgical Masks to be donated to emergency personal. We are running low on vital supplies that keep our responders and health care workers safe. The normal means for us to order these supplies are extremely backed up due to high demand and shortages all over the world. If you have some personal protective equipment that you are willing to part with please contact our office at (250) 247-9677

Things we are looking for are, (in order of most importance to least)

-N95 Surgical Masks
-Gloves
-Surgical Gowns
-Safety Glasses
-Face shields
-Hand Sanitizer

Thank you for your continued support Gabriola, we are so proud to serve this wonderful community.

Open Burning Ban in Effect

Important  announcement regarding open burning on the island.  Under the directive of the RDN, the Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department has now implemented a complete ban on all open burning. This is due to the current COVID-19 health emergency and air quality concerns for those that may be affected. This ban is effective immediately and you will see all the “No Fire” signs up around the island by the end of the day.

Exemptions from the open burning ban are cooking fires and wood stoves to heat your homes. We thank you for your continued support and compliance during these difficult times. We will get through this, together.

Letter From the Fire Chief COVID-19 Updates for Gabriola Island

Dear Gabriola Island community, over the last few weeks our community and our world has been facing extreme challenges in order to fight the spread of COVID-19. Though we have not been as active on social media of late, it does not mean we haven’t been working round the clock to provide the safest care we possibly can for our community and our firefighters. We just wanted to take a moment to reassure you that the department and the other emergency services have taken extreme measures in order to protect the community and our members from the spread of COVID-19.

As of March 17th our department was divided into three platoons. These platoons work one week on and then are off for two weeks to quarantine before their next shift. This was implemented in order to insure that if one platoon is exposed to COVID-19 the whole department will not have to be quarantined and out of service.

At the beginning of March a COVID-19 Emergency working group was created with representatives from each emergency service on the island. This group involves, the Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department,  Gabriola Medical Clinic, BC Ambulance Service, RCMP, Home Care support, and Gabriola Emergency Social Services. The group is in constant communications with each other about the developing situation involving COVID-19, and  is working hard together to craft emergency response plans for our community.

The directives we are taking are directly from the Vancouver Island Health Authority as relayed to us via the RDN. If there are any urgent updates or communications that the members of the community need to know about it will be sent out via the RDN Emergency Program. If you haven’t signed up for these alerts yet please go to https://rdnemergency.connectrocket.com and do so as soon as possible.

Oh behalf of the GVFD I want thank our community for its continued support during this difficult time. I also want to take a moment to thank our incredible volunteers and their families for their continued service and sacrifice in this difficult time. We will all get through this, together.

Sincerely,

Fire Chief Will Sprogis

Information Protects Lives

Hello Gabriola, we just wanted to take a moment and make a special post asking the community to help us out.

If you need to call 911 for any reason, please let our dispatchers know right away if any of the following points apply to you,

  1. If you have any Cold or Flu Symptoms at all, no matter how minor they may seem.
  2. If you or someone you have been in direct contact with has been outside the country or in an airport within the last three weeks.
  3. If you have been quarantined by any Health authority.

 

Help us help you by keeping our Volunteer First Responders and other Emergency Personal safe in this difficult time.

 

In addition, if you do have to call us you might notice that we look a bit different than normal and use a few different ways of helping you. Our First Responders are practicing social distancing and we need you to do the same as much as possible.  Please don’t be alarmed if we are completely dressed in isolation gear, this is  to protect both you and ourselves.

Thank you Gabriola for helping us help you, and remember…

We stay at work for you, so please stay home for us

Fire Hall Office closed to public

Effective immediately, the office at the Albert Reed Memorial Fire Hall will be closed to the public.

The fire hall and office will be operating as usual, but the doors will be closed to public in order to protect our members and community.

You can still reach us by phone (250-247-9677) or email (gabfire@shaw.ca).

If you want to purchase a fire extinguisher, we can deliver it to you.

We will continue to conduct on-site inspections prior to burn permits being issued.

FireSmart Community Champion Workshop

Are you keen to help yourself and your neighbours by moving towards being a recognized FireSmart community?

We will be hosting a Community Champion Workshop on Sunday, March 15, 2020.  The course will take place from 9am-1pm, at the Albert Reed Memorial Fire Hall on Church Street.

Space is limited, so if you are interested, reserve your spot ASAP by calling the GVFD fire hall, at (250)247-9677.

This workshop is geared towards those people who are willing to step forward and be a leader in their neighbourhood.  Please see the PIP CCW Recruit Flyer for more information.

Gabriola Island Emergency Preparedness Open House

On Saturday January 25th from 10am to 3pm the Gabriola Fire Hall on Church Street will be hosting an Emergency Preparedness Open House

Multiple agencies will be on-site with demonstrations and information, as well as actively recruiting volunteers:

  • Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department
  • HAM radio
  • RCMP
  • BC Ambulance Service (BCAS)
  • Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSARS)
  • Emergency Social Services (ESS)
  • Pets and Livestock Services (PALS)
  • Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Services (NEPS)
  • Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN)

Two of the main presentations will be Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness by NEPS and Downed Power Line Safety by BC Hydro. There will also be demonstrations on live fire, CPR, fire extinguishers, and “fire smarting” your property.

There will be information packages available about:

  • Fire Smart
  • Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness
  • Block Watch Information from the RCMP
  • as well as many other important topics for our community!

This is an all-ages event for the whole family with lots of fun stuff for kids to explore and participate in, including a family scavenger hunt where the prize is a FREE Emergency Preparedness Kit!

We hope to see you out for a fun day of education as well as learning about the many local volunteer opportunities for you to help keep our community safe!

 

FireSmart Community Champion Workshop

Are you keen to help yourself and your neighbours by moving towards being a recognized FireSmart community?

We will be hosting a Community Champion Workshop on Monday, August 19, 2019.

Space is very limited, so if you are interested, reserve your spot ASAP by calling the GVFD fire hall, at (250)247-9677.

This workshop is geared towards those people who are willing to step forward and be a leader in their neighbourhood.  Please see the PIP CCW Recruit Flyer for more information.

Chimney fire spreads to roof moss

Monday morning firefighters were paged to a report of a structure fire. On arrival, members found the homeowner had extinguished a fire in the moss on the roof. The fire appears to have started when sparks from the chimney landed in the very dry moss on the roof.

it is extremely important to ensure both your chimney is clean and the roof is free of any combustible debris if you need to use your wood stove for heat during the summer months.

Do not burn paper, garbage, or anything else that can cause sparks to emit from the chimney and land in any combustible materials

 

 

GVFD Open House

The GVFD officers and firefighters will be hosting an Open House at the Albert Reed Memorial Fire Hall (North Hall), from 10am-2pm on Saturday, April 6, 2019.

Come meet our crew, look at the hall and trucks, and take part in some informative and fun demonstrations, including:

  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Fire Smart your property
  • CPR
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Watch our firefighters training in our live burn building.
  • Let the kids try spraying water from the ground monitor.
  • Chat with people from the RDN, ESS, and PALS about emergency preparedness.

Reminder: With the recent time change, it’s a great idea to install new batteries in all your smoke detectors, and make sure they work properly.  Working smoke detectors save lives.

Christmas 2018 Wind Storm

Now that some time has passed and everyone here has their services restored (3-10 days after the storm) we should have a quick look at the situation.

All of Gabriola and much of southern BC was affected by the winds that knocked down trees and wires, flattened buildings and cars, and generally upset humanity throughout the region.

I was off duty during for most of this period, but was able to monitor as our able Duty Officer implemented a strategy for dealing with the storm’s aftermath. Along with numerous pages for hydro fires, medical aids, ambulance assists and a structure fire, our fire crews attempted to determine how much of the island was inaccessible. While doing this, when safe to do so, they would cut up the trees to open those roads to traffic. Many places had dangerously entangled trees mixed with power and communication lines, and both they and the highways crews were unable to clear those roads. It was important to establish which areas were inaccessible and to determine alternate response routes if possible, before the callouts came in.

By the second day, it was apparent the power wouldn’t be back on soon, and the RDN opened an emergency comfort site at the Rollo seniors centre. This provided a place of warmth, a tea or coffee, and information that helped people make decisions about how to cope with this situation. A message was sent out via email, phone, text and radio to inform residents it was operating. I believe the RDN will be further working on improving this strategy for next time.

Over at the Coop gas station an issue with their newly installed generator meant it was unable to operate at full power, which restricted normal services and caused them to have to close at dark. (In future outages the generator will be operating correctly, and they anticipate normal services and operating hours.)

Their power situation no doubt created the ‘fuel shortage’ concerns which prompted the long lineups. Coop staff were “corralling cats”, as one person called it, trying to maintain order and safety while cars darted around and created some mayhem while lining up along North road, past Robert’s restaurant. The next day they moved the lineup to Lockinvar, and it was a much safer situation. With a limited staff they did an admirable job under trying circumstances.

I was told that, even with those extra fuel sales, the fuel supplies were expected to have lasted until they received the scheduled delivery on Wednesday. As well, a discussion was initiated with BC Ferries regarding the possibility of a special dangerous cargo sailing on the Monday, had their been a danger of running out.

(Incidentally, if for any reason the fuel supplies are severely depleted, a certain percentage will be reserved for fire department, ambulance and police vehicles.)

These extended episodes always stimulate a desire in some for more emergency planning. Usually that desire wanes considerably once the power comes back on. What percentage of the population is prepared to be self sufficient for a week, which is the official recommendation?  Single digits is my guess.

Still, it’s clearly prudent to give some thought to how ones basic needs will be met, and/or to consider alternative strategies for various disasters or disruptions. As a starting point, check out what we pay some of our tax dollars toward. The RDN site – www.rdn.bc.ca/emergency has a lot of linformation. There is also Emergency Social Services (ESS) information in our Gabriola phone directory. (Page 77) The contact information for our ESS group is there. They are happy to provide local info and even arrange neighbourhood meetings.

Being prepared can help make these situations, if not fun, at least less uncomfortable. With the changes going on in our world we are told to expect more disruption. I think the secret is to remember these inconveniences while the power is still on- and make some preparations for the next time.

Happy New Year Everyone!

 

 

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