Port Hardy Fire Rescue (PHFR) submitted to council its first and second quarterly report for 2020.
“2020 has been a year of modification, adjustment, and training from a distance,” stated Fire Chief Brent Borg in his report to council. “Port Hardy Fire Rescue members have done a commendable job at adapting to our new normal around the fire hall and on the fire ground. Zoom meetings and practices, and extra effort by the training officers have kept the department trained and ready for the next call. Sanitization and physical distancing protocols have become routine while around the fire hallsince we have returned back to hands-on training.”
Borg noted that during this half of the year, “we had 63 calls totalling 1249 member hoursat incidents with an average attendance of 12 members. This is significantly lower than this point last year when we had attended 91 call by the end of June. False alarms and fires at Highland Manor are an ongoing issue and give me serious concern regarding the health, safety, and wellbeing of the tenants and when on calls, our members.”
Back on April 18, PHFR attended the largest fire in Port Hardy since Alpha Processing went up in flames in 2001. “We had 32 members attend and logged in 351 hours at the RockPro building on Hardy Bay Rd,” stated Borg. “With the hard work of our members and our Mutual Aid partners from Port McNeill we were able save half of the building.”
PHFR has completed quite a bit of training in the first half of 2020:
1. Several months of Zoom training covering forceable entry, RIT (Rapid Intervention Team), VEIS (Vent Enter Isolate Search), Wildfire Response, Radio Communications and more;
2. Emergency Scene Traffic Control course;
3. Two day Forceable Entry/Respectful Entry Course hosted by PHFR with 11 Port Hardy members and 11 members from other North Island departments participating;
4. Trained on the use of a new MSA RIT pack and then put into service;
5. Trained with new decontamination kit and put into service; and
6. Purchased new cordless 18V tools, trained with them and then put them into service. The tools have already been used at multiple incidents and hall duties, including auto extrication, forcible entry, as well as repairs and maintenance around the halls.
According to Borg’s report, PHFR managed to hold 26 practice nights and 11 weekend hall duties the first half of the year before COVID-19 hit.
“PHFR has a roster of 36 members,” Borg confirmed, adding they currently have six officers, four senior fire fighters, 19 fire fighters and six rookies and recruits and one Junior Fire Fighter. “This is the highest membership PHFR has ever had.”
Borg finished his report by stating that COVId-19 has “brought many challenges to the fire service and how we operate. We had to develop and implement COVID-19 pandemic response SOG’s. We had to inventory, and source required PPE needed for use at the fire halls and fire grounds. Training and meetings during the initial phase of the pandemic was done via Zoom. After the lock down, we resumed hands on training at the halls following physical distancing and sanitation guidelines. We split our practices into two groups starting at staggered times to keep groups smaller and distancing protocols in place. Every truck and all touch points in the halls are sanitized after every practice and face masks are now the normal. The members of PHFR are taking the new guidelines seriously and having to break old habits but I am confident we will get through this in great shape.”