Queen Charlotte fire department is healthy, says deputy chief

  • Jan. 15, 2010 4:00 p.m.

Queen Charlotte’s new deputy fire chief Sean Muise reported on the volunteer fire department’s training achievements and connection with Skidegate’s firefighters at a recent council meeting. Mr. Muise and fire chief Larry Duke attended the Jan. 11 meeting to give an update of their activities. Mr. Muise said the Queen Charlotte department is now at a healthy size with 18 regular fire fighters and five auxiliary members. Many are new members who bring a cross-section of different skills to their role in the fire department; some work for Gwaii Haanas, others are general contractors with knowledge of construction materials and mechanics with understandings of different makes of vehicles. Another important new member is Marvin Boyd of Robertson Island. Mr. Duke said this will help to improve fire services on the island. In early December, the Queen Charlotte fire department held its first practice in Skidegate. The two departments have coordinated their training days together and will be working together on drills from their new training manual (acquired with a Gwaii Trust grant). Ladder rescue skills, hoisting tools and more are part of the drills. The trainings will be in Skidegate on the first Tuesday of every month. Mr. Muise said this has already helped recruit more members from the community. The Charlotte fire department dealt with one major structure fire last year, along with several lift assists for the BC Ambulance service and some chimney fires. They did not deal with any motor vehicle accidents, although Mr. Muise said they are continuing to train for the possibility. Last year the department bought a new thermal imaging camera, also with a Gwaii Trust grant. This will help firefighters find those who may have been thrown from a car in a motor vehicle accident or someone concealed in a smoke-filled house. The fire department also has better radios that reach to Skidegate and is on the verge of going cellular, said Mr. Duke. Councillor Kris Olsen thanked the fire department for the donation of a fooze ball table and a shuffle board game to the Queen Charlotte teen centre as well.