School Kids Visit for Fire Safety

School children visit HIFR for fire safety workshopOn May 16th, the Fire Department was pleased to welcome 6 students from our local school to attend a morning class on fire safety around the house. Led by 3 of our fire fighters, we started the morning off with a discussion about what fire is and what we need to be concerned about. Our knowledgeable students then joined us in the kitchen to examine what is hot or not, if it is safe to leave pans on the stove, and why it is not safe to play in the kitchen. We finished the morning off in a room filled with thick smoke and the sounds of fire and smoke detectors while a fire fighter came to our “rescue”. This gave our students a chance to recognize what it would sound like and look like if a fire ever happened at home and get some tips on how to react. After a final chat upstairs our students returned to school with smoke detectors to be installed in their bedrooms, a map to plan their escape routes, and some quiz books to encourage additional learning.

We would like to remind families that it is recommended that they install smoke detectors in each bedroom and all the major rooms in your home. They should be tested and have the cobwebs cleaned out monthly, and have their batteries replaced each year. If you find you have to pull the batteries to “shut up that smoke detector” you may be interested in kitchen smoke detectors that have 5 minute “snooze buttons” on them. After 5 minutes they will turn themselves back on ensuring you are alerted to possible fire emergencies. Advanced warning of a fire is the best insurance you have that your loved ones will not get hurt. Take the time to establish your escape routes, decide where to meet outside the home, and practice it yearly.

Our volunteer Fire Department is committed to the life time task of understanding fire and protecting our community. If you have a Hornby Island group that would like to spend time with our fire fighters learning more about safety in the home or business, please contact Hornby Island Fire Rescue. We are always delighted when our community members join in our passion.

We thank Ruth, Aaidan, Braelin, Jade, Raylen, Sarah, and Sequoia for investing in their future by coming to learn about fire and how to stay safe. It was a fun and productive morning.

Wood Stove Inspections

As many of you know, getting a WETT certified inspector over to the island can be an expensive proposition. We at HIFR have looked into getting one of our members certified but the cost is huge, the liability insurance is out of this world,  and the certification process is unworkable for us on a remote island.

It’s short notice, but on June 1st Comox Fire and Patio is sending someone over to do an inspection. Chances are good that if he can do several inspections while he’s here, the cost per inspection will be reduced significantly. If you’d like to get in on the inspections on June 1, I suggest calling Comox Fire and Patio at (250)338-8522.

Burn Permits Now Required

It’s that season again. Permits are now required for any open burning larger than a campfire. Permits are free and are available by calling the Fire Department at 250.335.2611. On Wednesdays and Saturdays we will come by to have a look at your burn setup and write the permit.

The permit process is to ensure that anyone who is planning on doing a burn has taken all the appropriate precautions. To hasten the permit process please make sure that your fire is:

  • not under power lines
  • not under tree branches
  • a safe distance from any buildings
  • on mineral soil, not organic soil
  • not containing any plastic, rubber, or petroleum products

HIFR Helps with Clinic Move

Congratulations to the New Clinic Committee and the Hornby Island community in general. Funded by the community, and built almost exclusively using volunteer labour, there is a beautiful new medical clinic for the island.

HIFR is proud to have played a part in this project by doing some remedial floor support work and then again on Saturday by helping the move. Doug, John, Embers, Sheree, and Julian gave up a few hours to finish the move of some cabinets, desks, and other furniture.

Cadet Camp 2011 Wraps Up

This year’s Cadet Camp was a great success with sunny, warm weather and fun, interested participants.

On Wednesday morning the cadets cut apart a car with our hydraulic tools, learned how to escape a burning building, navigated a maze filled with theatrical smoke, and experimented with fire behaviour. After a great lunch of homemade pasta with cheese sauce and salad we took the trucks to the school parking lot. There they learned how to use a hose line and sprayed a lot of water and foam.

Thursday morning was spent learning first aid skills by patching each other up according to a “wheel of fortune of injuries”, and learning the ins and outs of the 911 system. We were able to do an actual 911 call to fire dispatch to watch the system work from calling 911 to when our pagers go off. Lunch was chili with home baked bread followed by ice cream sundaes. The afternoon was spent extinguishing both oil fires and wood fires using a variety of extinguishers.

To cap it all off, the cadets returned to the firehall with their parents later in the evening for a firefighter challenge. It was a great opportunity to show off their newly learned skills. They went through a course involving finding their way out of a smoky maze, rescuing a baby along the way. They then dragged a charged hoseline 50′ and had to knock over a traffic cone with the hosestream. They completed the circuit by dragging a dummy 50′ back to the starting point.

Once everyone had completed the course we all retired upstairs for desserts, certificates, and a few special awards. Big thanks to all the kids who participated. You make it all worth it.

Extra thanks to all the firefighters who took time off of work, or who simply gave p a day or two of their lives to make this successful. Extra special thanks to Rachelle, Theresa, and Jules who aren’t even on the department, but who worked tirelessly to make such fabulous food for all of us.

See you all next year!

Multi Casualty Practice

At last night’s practice Duncan and Julian completely outdid themselves. They organized a school bus, a dozen or more volunteers from the community, props, makeup, and a smoke machine to build a very realistic scenario.

We arrived on scene to find the school bus billowing smoke, and 10 – 20 people banging on the windows and calling for help. Our triage team boarded the bus and in short order had all of the walking wounded out of the bus and started work on the 5 remaining injured. All 5 of those patients were packaged for their particular injuries and all came out on a spine board. We had the last of the seriously injured patients out of the bus about 70 minutes after we arrived on scene.

A scene like this calls on many skills:

  • There is the obvious medical care component in dealing with injured passengers. Last night we had a cardiac patient, a head injury, a fractured hip, and 2 spinal fractures, along with all the miscellaneous cuts, scraps, and minor breaks.
  • We called on our fire suppression skills with the simulated fire under the hood of the bus.
  • In getting the front of the bus open, we needed to use our extrication tools and know-how.
  • The incident commander needed to call on some extra logistic planning skills to deal with limited resources for so many patients.

It was a challenging practice, but I believe that we rose to it and I was thrilled with how we performed. While there were several things that we would do differently next time around, this practice made all of us feel confident that we are able to handle a situation like this if it were to happen here.

Thanks to Rubin, Zsofine,  Scott, Olivier, Heron, Sascha, Juniper, Nico, Aarron, Gwynna, and Reina for taking an evening out of their lives and helping us hone our skills. Support like this from our community really helps us with our commitment to the department.

We’d like to single out and mention Duncan and Julian for all of the work that they did to set up this practice. Getting the bus, researching ins and outs of triage, all of the phone calls to organize the volunteers, and the time spent setting up the scene demonstrates an enormous dedication to the department and our training program.

Cadet Camp Grads Extinguish Fire


On Sunday, March 6 at 1800 we received a general page for a fire on Little Trib beach. We arrived to find a soggy and barely smoldering fire all but extinguished. Further investigation revealed that the bonfire had extended to the dead grasses at the head of the beach, but that had also been extinguished.

As it turns out, a large fire had been left unattended at the head of the beach and in front of a local residence. Soledad and Breanna, two of our recent Cadet Camp graduates came across the fire on their way home and immediately realized the hazard. While one of them found a bucket the other called an adult and initiated a fire department response. Using skills that they learned in Cadet Camp, they safely and successfully knocked down the 1.5 -2 meter flames before the fire could extend to the brush between the beach and the houses.

HIFR would like to thank Breanna and Soledad for their sharp thinking and quick action in helping us deal with a potentially dangerous situation.

DePape Water Tank In Service

Our contractor has completed the installation and plumbing our latest water storage tank at the corner of DePape and Porpoise. The tank has been filled over the last few days and is now fully functional.

Normally we would fill the tank by shuttling 15 loads of water from the fire hall to the tank with our tanker. Fortunately, with all of the recent rain, the creek beside the tank has been running quite strongly and we were able to fill the tank with a portable pump.

When the ground dries out a bit the contractor will return to fix up the landscaping. Look for another fantastic mural by a local artist shortly after that.

Perriwinkle Road is next in line for plumbing and filling.