Fire calls decrease in 2010

The rapid response of Coldstream’s team of firefighters is being credited for a year of fewer fires and fewer losses.

The rapid response of Coldstream’s team of firefighters is being credited for a year of fewer fires and fewer losses.

The Coldstream Fire Department attended 84 call outs in 2010 (down from 98 in 2009). The dollar value of fire losses, $83,000, was also significantly lower than in previous years.

“These losses were quite low considering the quantity of fires,” said former fire chief Leo Lecavalier in his final report to council before retiring.

“We again had a lot of luck combined with really good saves.”

The veteran firefighter says there is a definite correlation between the department’s rapid response protocols and minimizing fire losses.

“The most recent example was the Giles Drive truck fire that resulted in a structure fire,” said Lecavalier.

“Sixty seconds delay would have made a significant difference.”

Coldstream’s motor vehicle accident numbers are also on a slight decline. Lecavalier credits Vernon dispatch for its attempts to follow Coldstream’s protocols more precisely.

“Vernon also responded to a couple without calling Coldstream. Good news for our taxpayers.”

A soggy 2010 also resulted in 12 fewer grass/brush fires.

Lecavalier acknowledges the combined efforts of his department along with ambulance and police for assisting in a safer year.

“One excellent save was the report of the drowning on Kal Beach where our quick response and professionalism was instrumental in saving a boys’ life,” said Lecavalier.

With 17 calls, September was the busiest month of 2010.

The only area where calls have increased over the past few years is various alarm calls, which accounted for 28 of the total 84 calls.

Lecavalier says it is mostly due to residential alarms in newer homes and a lack of maintenance on them.

While the team of firefighters is doing a commendable job, Lecavalier suggests some changes may be needed at the department.

He points to attendance records, which are very high at practices but during weekday callouts the numbers are relatively low – since many of the volunteer firefighters have daytime jobs which make it difficult for them to attend.

“Due to community growth and larger exposures likely to be built in years to come, we may have to increase the volunteer membership of hall No. 1 and also consider two daytime paid firefighters in the not too distant future,” Lecavalier recommends.

A paid chief is one wish list item the department is looking at.

“Discussions have been underway for some time with the Fire Department Liaison Committee regarding a paid chief for the future as well as a couple of daytime members to assist in maintaining a primarily paid-on-call membership,” said Lecavalier, who is being replaced as chief by David Sturgeon.