The Lake Cowichan Fire Department is always on the lookout for ways of improving their fire protection skills.
The most recent improvement to the department has been a new tanker truck, with an 1,800 gallon capacity.
Using reserve funds, the tanker was purchased to replace its 1977 predecessor.
“They were only certified to 30 years old,” fire chief Doug Knott said.
The coming month will see a fire underwriters survey undertaken in the department’s fire protection area.
This survey is a large undertaking, and will help set insurance rates for the future. To set these rates, the department’s volunteers, equipment, and the fire protection area, will all be taken into consideration.
With the last survey having taken place in the mid ‘80s, Knott said that there are bound to come some worthwhile tips and requirements as a result of the survey.
Thursday, October 6, saw two new members joined the department.
Brad Kochanuk said that he decided to join the department as a means of helping out his community.
“I’d hear the sirens all the time,” he said. “And, I live nearby.”
The other new member is 18-year-old junior member Taylor Poirier, who plans on learning from and using his fire fighting experience toward his hoped-for career as a paramedic.
“I’m taking my paramedics courses, so it’s a good way to get involved in first responding,” he said.
Poirier is currently in the midst of the course at the Justice Institute in Victoria; currently commuting from his home in Lake Cowichan for the four month course.
“They’re really great guys,” he said, of his fellow department volunteers. “They really take it seriously.”
It’s a good in for a future paramedic, as about 30 per cent of calls out are medically-related.
“We’re replacing an ambulance when it’s not available,” Knott said.
With only one ambulance in the Cowichan Lake area, should there be two call-outs at any given time, the fire department must respond.
In some cases, they’re also called out in conjunction with the ambulance, as additional help.
The junior firefighter program is open to young men and women aged 16 to 18. Junior members are allowed to help out in a limited capacity until they are eligible to becoming a full member at the age of 19, upon successful completion of the program.
Poirier and Taylor LaForge are currently enrolled in the junior firefighter program.
A third member – a 16-year-old – will be sought in the fall, with department volunteers giving a presentation at Lake Cowichan Secondary School in search of a candidate.
This has been about an average year with regard to call-outs, Knott said.
They’re still seeking two boats; one for the lake and the other for the river. Currently, the department must find volunteer members’ boats in the event of a call out on water, which can cost the department valuable, potentially life-saving time.