Fire Chief confirms retirement at Gabriola Fire Board AGM

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, May 1 2019

Fire Chief Rick Jackson confirmed this past week that he would be retiring this year, during the Annual General Meeting of the Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District.

Jackson did so during the Fire Chief’s report, which he said would be his last given at an AGM.

Jackson joined the Gabriola Fire Department in 1984, later transitioning to the Fire Board.

In 1994, he applied when the Trustees made the Fire Chief position a paying job, and has been there since.

“We’ve seen many changes, and important upgrades.”

The Superior Shuttle Tanker Accreditation was a highlight Jackson brought up - this is where during a structure fire, tanker trucks shuttle water from water sources to large temporary water storage containers on scene, and do so at a rate which gives the Fire Department the same water capability as having a fire hydrant on scene.

This can save homeowners considerable money on their home insurance - as long as the insurance company is aware of it.

Jackson said Gabriola was the second fire department west of Ontario to earn this distinction for residential properties, and the first to earn the accreditation at a commercial level.

“I’m proud of this department. This is my last of 25 years of AGM. I intend to stay involved with the department and next year will let my name stand as a trustee.

“It has been an honour.”

Currently, there are over 40 members of the Gabriola Fire Department - and Jackson said at the pre-AGM Board meeting that there is a waiting list of more people wanting to join.

This includes 23 who are now trained as First Responders to go out on medical calls.

For 2018, First Responder calls accounted for 50% of the 454 call-outs for service received by the Gabriola Fire Department.

Burn complaints, Investigations, Hydro-related, and “other” accounted for 39% of the calls.

For the remaining 11% of calls, there were 3 brush fires; 10 structure fires; 14 false alarms; 12 chimney fires; and 12 motor-vehicle-incidents.