There weren’t many quiet moments for Vernon firefighters last year.
The fire department’s 2013 annual report indicates there were two major blazes at the landfill, 37 structure fires, a large-scale hazardous material incident in downtown Vernon and two fires at the Capri Gardens apartment.
On top of this, the department brought the downtown and Okanagan Landing halls under one command structure, assumed management of the regional fire training centre and focused on training.
“Vernon Fire Rescue Services completed some important initiatives in 2013, with a focus on a service delivery model that is aligned with council’s direction and current fiscal realities,” said fire chief Keith Green.
“Looking forward, more of the same collaboration and teamwork harnessed in 2013 will further assist VFRS in delivering our services in the most effective, efficient and responsible manner possible.”
In addition, firefighters conducted multiple community fire and life safety educational events, and they volunteered hundreds of off-duty hours to raise more than $24,000 for charity.
The 2013 annual report also highlights the activities of North Okanagan Emergency Management.
“NOEM and emergency social services responded to several high-profile incidents in 2013, including the evacuation of 300 residents — the largest in the city’s history — during the Ellison park interface fire,” said Brent Watson, the city’s emergency program co-ordinator.
There were also two major floods in Lumby and 31 other emergency incidents requiring evacuation of impacted residents.
“These events required more than 1,100 hours of operational support by 119 volunteers — six times busier proportionately than the City of Vancouver,” said Watson.