Fall 2015 Fire Department Report (From the Pointer)

 

Willis Point Volunteer Fire Department Report

Fall, 2015
Fire Chief Aran Puritch

Hello Willis Pointers,

We still have a forest!  Thanks to the diligence of residents in the point for reporting fires (including the smell of smoke), a fast response, and some creative thinking, the fire department was able to extinguish a very threatening wildfire in the hillside above the trail to McKenzie Bight.   The crew trains and conducts drills relentlessly all year for this kind of situation and it is fantastic to have such a good outcome when faced with the real thing.  A summary of the call will follow but first this report covers the new water cistern, training initiatives, and several significant membership happenings.

Water Cistern

Thanks to a tremendous effort by our Fire and Recreation Facilities Commission we are very close to having our new emergency water cistern in service.  The amount of their volunteer time spent on planning, project management, and installation work is easily in the hundreds of hours.  The fire department is especially excited about the new cistern as it will be much faster and easier for us to refill our trucks in emergency situations and ensures we have adequate water available.  Well done Fire and Rec!  (see attached picture of Ken Smith and Joel Cotter installing the tank)

Training Update

We continue to have excellent practice night turnouts and a strong commitment to meeting the requirements of the revamped provincial training standards.  Captain Art Wynans has been doing an excellent job of delivering the training in-house resulting in higher enrollment and lower costs to the department. Members have also completed externally delivered courses including: Critical Incident Stress Management, Steve Eldridge and Britt Tregear; Air-brakes endorsement, Tristan Rowins; and First Responder Level 3, Brett Clarke.  The fire department covers all training costs as we strive to foster a culture of continual learning.  All we ask is that firefighters volunteer their time. Training is the primary daily function of all fire departments as it is imperative to ensure firefighter safety and provide the best chance for good outcomes.

Roster

The crew has been up to their usual antics with some deciding to move from the point, getting married, getting jobs, or just little things like starting families!  We wish Brett all the best in his upcoming marriage to Jess and move to the Comox valley.  Congratulations to Lorne Hutchins as he is the proud father of little Maverick.  Congratulations are also in order to Steve in his marriage to Violette.  Thankfully Steve is able to stay in the point. One of our longest standing members, Darren Pine, has moved to Brentwood Bay.  Fortunately he still lives close enough (and often works in the point) which enables him to stay on. We welcome three new recruits from Willis Point: Brad Dyrbye, Sarah Johntson, and Yanik Gagnon.    Our auxiliary firefighter program has been very active with two members, Kory Kowalyk and Jeff Cullen, finding full-time employment with Victoria Fire and Vancouver Fire respectively.  New auxiliary members joining are Matt Cleaver, Garrett Best, Sam Bradstock, Kyle Wickes, Maya Kirk, and Nathaniel Wynans.

Fire Call Summary

The department successfully extinguished a human caused wild land fire located in the hillside above the trail leading to McKenzie bight on the evening of August 16th.

Firefighters initially attacked the fire with extinguishers but quickly deployed a portable pump on the beach and relay pumped through the Highland Fire department’s newly configured brush truck.  From there supply lines were dragged up the treacherous hillside to a rock bluff at the point of the fire.  Firefighters also used rakes and shovels to create a fire break.

The fire was approximately 10 meters square with flames reaching up to 3 meters into the trees.  Fires can double in size in the matter of minutes so it is easy to see just how important the rapid response was.   A delay of even 30 more minutes could have turned what was about a two hour effort involving 25 firefighters into a multi-day disaster with dozens of personnel and equipment from around the region.

Smoke was detected rising from the forest at approximately 7:40 pm and several residents called 911.  This early detection and prompt reporting was instrumental in facilitating a rapid response.

Locating the fire was a significant challenge as it was on very steep terrain about 50 meters above the ocean side trail leading into the park.   To help pinpoint the location, firefighters went into the inlet by boat where they could better view the fire and relay the exact position to firefighters on the ground.

Most of the Willis Point crew attended along with 11 members of the Highlands Volunteer Fire Department.  Also attending were BC Ambulance and BC Forest Service fire personnel.

The fire was determined to be located on private land in what is known as Lot B. This section of the forest is frequented by people accessing the park.

The exact source of ignition remains unknown however there is a high likelihood it was the result of a discarded cigarette and virtually certain to be human-caused; the forest does not spontaneously ignite on a clear summer evening!

This was the only serious fire incident of the summer and we averted a disaster. Thank you to the firefighters and emergency services personnel for a job well done.

Pointers have also played a key fire-prevention role by observing the fire ban and reporting smoke sightings and unauthorized burns.  Let’s keep this up to ensure we preserve our beautiful community.

 

 

That concludes the Fall 2015 report.  Keep safe.

 

Sincerely,

Fire Chief Aran Puritch
www.willispoint.ca/fire

firechief @ willispoint.ca

 

 

 

 – Recruitment -
WPVFD provides several very important services to the community in rescue, first response, and fire suppression.  Without our fire department, insurance rates would increase significantly and fast response to critical medical calls would not be possible.  To maintain this level of service, we really do need a large group of volunteers and encourage you to join our team. 

You don’t need any special training or skills to join and in fact you might possess very important competencies we could use already, such as having an air-brakes endorsement or medical training.  If not, we’ll teach you everything you need to know.  Any firefighter will tell you that it’s a lot of fun and very rewarding so I encourage you to start thinking about yourself as a volunteer firefighter today!

 

Come by the hall any Wednesday evening at 7pm to check us out or contact any one of the members.

 

Fire Ban and Fire Smart for Homeowners

All burning is banned in Willis Point until until after the summer and when the NO FIRES sign is removed.

Home-owners are encouraged to safeguard their homes from fire by removing flammable materials including brush and debris from around their homes.  The BC Forest Service has an excellent pamphlet that summarizes the steps to do this.  In it they recommend a 10 meter section around the home to be free of flammable materials.  This doesn’t mean you should clear-cut your yard but you should do things such as  removing  low hanging branches, shrubs and other flammable material.  You should also keep the area watered.  For more details and recommendations be sure to consult the guide at http://www.embc.gov.bc.ca/em/hazard_preparedness/fire_threatens.pdf

St. Paddy’s Day – March 14th 6pm!

 

Hi Everyone,

The Willis Point Community Association will be hosting a St. Paddy’s pub night Saturday March 14th. It’s less than three weeks away!

As in years past, we’ll be serving Jason’s amazing Shepherd’s Pie, and hosting live music by returning guests “The Fine Spirits”. Tickets are just $5 at the door, starting at 6pm for dinner, and music 8:30-10:30pm.

We’ll have a bit of billards, darts and fooseball for the pub atmosphere too!

Thanks,
Art, on behalf of WPCA.

stpadys2009003

October 1 – Outdoor Burning Permitted

The fire ban has been lifted and outdoor burning is now permitted in Willis Point.

Be sure to follow these guidelines for your fire.

Permits are not required for incinerator or small outdoor fires.  Large debris clearing fires require a permit available from the fire department at the above link.

Fire Chief Aran Puritch

MARCH 1st DART NIGHT!! PRE-Register 250-652-6033

_DSC0411

Saturday, March 1st @ 6pm – Dart Night at the Community Hall.  SHARPEN THEM UP!!
This is a fun evening of a darts, drink and food.  The dart tournament is a round robin pairs event where you are paired up with a random person to compete in darts.  There’s NO SKILL needed to have fun.  It’s a blast and a great way to meet the people in the community.  Please bring your friends from outside the POINT!  There is a $5 per person registration cost.  PLEASE call 250-652-6033 to pre-register.
We will be looking for volunteers to set up on Feb 28th (Friday) evening at 6pm and cleanup on March 2nd (Sunday) morning.
We will be posting the menu for this event closer to the date.  19 and up.
We will also have a free “SAFE RIDE HOME” driver for Willis Point Residents so that you can leave your car at the hall and get home safely.

Happy HourS Pub Night Fundraiser at the Community Hall

Goa-Bars-and-Pubs

The WPCA is resurrecting a Willis Point tradition!  Friday, January 24th will be Willis Point Pub Night up at the Community Hall.  This is meant to raise funds for the Willis Point Community Association but more to have great events that people can come out to and get together with their neighbours for drinks, food, music, and fun.
We will have a bar that night with some excellent dinner items.
The menu is:
Baron of Beef Dip Sandwich
Split Pea with Ham Soup in a sourdough bread bowl
Vegetarian Chili in a sourdough bread bowl
Caesar Salad
We’ll be opening the doors at 5pm so you can come on up for dinner and a drink.  Come on out and connect with the neighbourhood!
Thanks
Jeff Irwin
WPCA, Chair

Carolling at Willis Point 2013!

_DSC0002_resizeCOME CAROLLING AT WILLIS POINT THIS CHRISTMAS

Join the annual troop of carolers to sing in our new neighbors and a few of the old timers as well!

WHEN:      THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2013 –  6:30PM

WHERE:   MEET AT THE MAILBOXES AT MARK LN AND WILLIS PT RD

HOW:

We all pile into several vehicles and take to the roads but be prepared to walk up some steep driveways! Songbooks are supplied and a voice (good or awful) is required.

REWARD:

After the singing – we then move onto the Halsey’s on Mark Lane for some snacks and Christmas Cheer.

Click here to download the Willis Point Christmas songbook (pdf)