Fire Department year-to-date call volume up

Sounder News

Tuesday, October 20 2015

Call volume for the Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department is up roughly 25 per cent from this time last year.

Fire Chief Rick Jackson was reporting to the Fire Board Trustees last week during their regular meeting, saying calls up until to September 30 had hit 326 compared to 263 in 2014.

“It’s been a crazy summer,” he said, pointing out there had been a high number of medical responses in that period.

September’s call volume saw 28 call-outs for service for the department, with 20 of those calls being medical responses, two calls for alarms activated, four were burn complaints, one was for a shut-down investigation, and one was considered “other” (no details given).

October 4-11 was Fire Safety Week - firefighters hosted an Open House on Saturday, October 10 and were on hand to teach fire extinguisher use.

The department invited Jared Hooper from Sure Signs to set up and take orders for address signs. Having a visible and reflective sign at the end of driveways has been a project of the fire chiefs for many years - with more hours being dark than light during the winter, Jackson said it is a good time for people to improve how visible their house number would be to emergency crews.

This year’s theme for Fire Safety Week was ensuring all bedrooms in homes have smoke detectors.

Jackson said there are also new 10-year battery powered smoke alarms available for purchase which have built-in batteries (no more stealing of 9V batteries meant for other purposes). Jackson said a local source is Arbutus Building Supplies. The detectors should still be checked with each time change though to ensure they haven’t malfunctioned. 

The new fire hall meeting room will see a regular user, as the Gabriola Lions’ Club have booked the space to hold their meetings which are on the first and third Mondays of each month according to Jackson.

Jackson and other department officers are testing an “I Am Responding” system which works in conjunction with their pagers. 

The new system can send a message through either cellular or WiFi connections. This means firefighters will be able to let dispatch know they are responding to a call-out, and will also be able to send non-emergency messages to members.