Archive for events

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!

 

 

MICS Saves the Day

Last Wednesday, July 25, our pagers went off for a structure fire on North road. As all of our FFs were heading for the fire hall, a second page came through, standing down our department, as the fire was on Mudge Island.

The relief of not having a structure fire to contend with on this extremely dry July morning quickly changed to concern, as Mudge doesn’t have an actual fire dept.

A small band of locals known as MICS, the Mudge Island Citizens Society,  have undertaken the task of acquiring equipment and training for a day like that morning.

As I drove onto Brickyard beach, I saw how urgent the developing scenario appeared. A wide plume of black smoke rose into the sky . Occasional flares of orange flames indicating that trees were candling. The plume seemed to be getting wider as I watched. Luckily there was no wind to spread it faster.

Within a few minutes, I could hear a siren from across the water. The retired Gabriola fire engine No.3 was responding, along with their other two trucks.

I knew the BC Wildfire Service would have been contacted as well. In a remarkably short period of time, the black smoke started to turn grey and patchy white, indicating water was being shot onto the fire.

A helicopter appeared and did a couple of loops around the fire site, then disappeared. There had been a second fire call on another island, and after reporting on the Mudge fire, it flew off to assess the other one.

Two more helicopters soon arrived and deployed Bambi buckets, which scooped up seawater and made numerous runs dousing the fire.  It was less than an hour after the fire started that the heli’s were dropping water, which IMO, is a pretty reasonable time for outside support crews to be active on a scene.

Later on, sprinklers were set up, and and the sound of a Wajax fire pump roared on until the next morning- to the reported chagrin of one Gabriolan.

MICS is to be commended for the great job they did containing the fire until the helicopters could deliver their payloads. Without them, the likelihood of a great deal more fire damage was a certainty. They deserve the support they get from fellow Mudgekins and others who have contributed to support this most essential endeavour.

This Saturday, MICS will be hosting their annual fundraiser, the money being used to keep them in business. With this past weeks event still fresh in everyone’s  minds, I suspect this may be a very successful event.

For more information on our neighbour, check out www.Mudge.ca

Free Batteries! (and an Open House)

Smoke alarms save lives!

With the recent time change, this is a perfect time to change the battery in your smoke alarm.  Batteries should be changed every six months, so taking care of it when you change your clocks is a great idea.

The GVFD is pleased to be able to provide you with free 9V batteries for your smoke alarms.  Just stop by the Albert Reed Memorial Firehall, 730 Church Street, between 10-3, Tuesday through Friday.

 

In addition to installing new batteries every six months, you should test your smoke alarms monthly, and ensure that they are clean, and free of dust.  If you would like more information about smoke alarms, please contact the GVFD.

For more information on fire related topics, come visit us at the fire hall Open House, on April 14th, 2018.  We can talk to you about smoke alarms, the FireSmart program, fire extinguishers (they’re for sale too), and many other things.  We will also try to have a few firefighters ready to demonstrate our new live fire training building!

Open House times and activities will be advertised closer to April 14th.

Jay Dearman’s Memorial

This is an information update regarding the memorial for GVFD firefighter Jay Dearman, scheduled for Feb.10, 14:00 hrs. at the Albert Reed Memorial Firehall, 730 Church st.

We are asking that anyone wishing to speak at the memorial contact GVFFA president Jenn Knight via email asap to have your name put on the list in advance of the gathering.

email:

JenMKnight@hotmail.com

To anyone attending from off island, we have arranged for our local bus to meet the 11:55 and the 13:10 ferry to shuttle people to the hall.

The bus will also shuttle people from the hall back to the ferry in time for the 16:20 and 17:35 sailings.

Follow the signs to various parking sites at the Church, the lower field at the firehall and a parking area past the hall.

To ensure no obstructions in the event of a response by BCAS or the Fire Dept., we will be restricting parking on Church street for the duration  of the event.

For more information, please contact the firehall office at 250-247-9677.

For more information please contact the office at the firehall at 250-247-9677

 

20 years with the GVFD


Bill Sprogis completed 20 years with our fire dept this past July. He has participated in many an adventure over those years and no doubt will be attending many more. Thanks for being here, Bill!


 

It’s Time For Another Open House!

GVFD Open House – Saturday, May 13th

It’s time for another open house!  Come join us at the Albert Reed Memorial Fire Hall, 730 Church Street, from 1-4pm, on May 13th.
Gabriola firefighters will be there to talk about ways to FireSmart your property before the warm, dry summer weather gets here.  We will also have a wood chipper on site, so you can see how simple it is to use.  Chipping is a great alternative to burning all those pesky branches that are cluttering up your yard.  We have lots of FireSmart brochures, and are happy to discuss them with you.
Effective CPR save lives.  Want to learn basic, compression-only CPR?  Give us 30 minutes, and we will teach you, let you practice, and have a quick discussion about the automatic external defibrillators that are in more and more public areas.  Heart & Stroke Foundation Instructors, Jethro and Dimitri will be hosting CPR instruction every 1/2 hour during the Open House.
Do you have fire extinguishers at home or work?  Do you know how to use them safely?  Stop by and learn how to use an extinguisher properly.  Need an extinguisher?  We have them for sale at a great price.
We’ll also have one of our trucks set up with hoses flowing water for the kids (of all ages) to check out and try.
Just want to stop by and meet some of Gabriola’s firefighters and first responders?  You can do that too.  We’ll show you around the trucks, and answer any questions you may have.
We hope to see you there!

GFPID special meeting

GABRIOLA FIRE PROTECTION IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT
SPECIAL MEETING – OCTOBER 8, 2014, 7:30 P.M., NO. 1 HALL

There will be a Special General Meeting for the Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District on Wednesday, October 8, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. at the No. 1 Fire Hall (730 Church Street). The purpose of the meeting will be to elect a member of the public, a registered land owner in the Improvement District and a Canadian Citizen 18 years or older, for a vacancy on the Board of Trustees, to fill the remainder of a term of approximately 2 years (April 2016). Nominations accepted from the floor.

Amateur Radio Field Day

Our ham-radio friends sent us this announcement:

Visit the radio room in the new firehall for amateur radio field day on June 28th 10 am to June 29th 10am.

This annual North American event is organized to test and demonstrate amateur radio communications in times of disaster.

All are welcome to drop in at any time during the event.

The radio room is in the basement of Fire Hall Number 1, on the side that faces the Old Fire Hall. The radio room has its own entrance on that side of the building.