The Kimberley Fire Department has submitted their year-end report to City Council and Fire Chief Rick Prasad says overall, 2018 was a busy year for the local department.
“Overall we had a really good year,” said Prasad at a regular Council meeting on Monday. “There were lots of questions about fuels management and forest fire mitigation. We also had five structural fires which is more than ever before. These were detached homes or buildings and we managed those fires really well. Nothing alarming stands out in terms of calls for service.”
He adds that there are four main areas that the detachment focuses on; response, training, prevention and administrative services.
“The department continues to evolve into a modern day operation and utilizing the latest advances in technique and technology,” said Prasad. “Coupling this with the professional approach taken by all fire department personnel has resulted in another successful year.
“Wildfire threat was on the mind of every member of our community as, for the first time in years, our community considered evacuation. Additionally, we responded to 195 other emergencies including structure fires, BCAS assists, motor vehicle incidents, hazardous material incidents and various other events.”
He adds that officers conducted 316 inspections in 2018.
“Our commercial property inspection program serves as a valuable way of engaging our business community,” said Prasad. “The current staffing model has allowed us to complete a substantially higher number of inspections and thus has had an immeasurable effect on the safety of this community.”
In terms of fuels management, Prasad says their program saw some substantial work being done.
“Like no other year, our fuels management practices demonstrated their relevance and going forward we will continue to aggressively reduce the threat of wildfire to our community,” Prasad explained.
Councillor Darryl Oakley asked about the potential of a fireguard for the community. Prasad responded saying that there is currently a grant application in the works that will be able to help the department with emergency and fuels management. He adds that they should know by the end of the month if the grant will be accepted.
Training also took place to ensure that each member of the detachment is prepared.
“Fire department members averaged over 120 hours of training in a push to decrease response times and increase safety and effectiveness,” Prasad said. “Advanced incident management training was completed by each fire officer and each fire fighter received additional training on wildfire response.”