Paul Jordan, co-chair of the Lake Cowichan 75th anniversary committee, thanks the fire department for 75 years of service to the community. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Lake Cowichan Fire Department also celebrating 75 years

It’s also a diamond jubilee year for the Lake Cowichan volunteer fire department

Formed in 1947, the Lake Cowichan Fire Department maintains a high profile in the community.

In addition to protecting the town itself, the department protects areas from Meade Creek to Skutz Falls in a service agreement with the Cowichan Valley Regional District and also has reciprocal agreements for mutual aid with the neighbouring fire departments in the Cowichan Lake area.

The Cowichan Lake Fire Protection Service Area (FSA) is approximately 8,600 ha. The entire area encompassed by the FSA is approximately 13,200 ha.

This FSA includes the Town of Lake Cowichan, portions of CVRD Area I (Youbou/Meade Creek) and Area F (Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls).

The FSA also includes the traditional territory of the Lake Cowichan First Nation, including the Reserve that is their community core located on approximately 40 hectares between the Youbou Highway and North Shore Road.

The department has a very large Fire Service Protection Area with a 71 kilometre perimeter in which they respond to calls for fire incidents (structure and brush), vehicle accidents and fires, lake and river emergencies with their rigid inflatable, low slope rescue calls as well as medical assistance calls, hazardous materials calls and mutual aid with the other five fire departments in the area.

The department is comprised of a fire chief, deputy fire chief, assistant fire chief and approximately 30 paid-on-call members.

In addition to emergency response services, the fire department is very active in the community promoting fire prevention and suppression programs.

The Lake Cowichan Fire Department Resources and Training consist of: SPP-WFF 1 Level 1 Trained; SPP-115 Structure Protection Trained; Local FireSmart Representatives (2); Type 2 Structure Protection Unit Trailer; Low Slope Rescue ; Swift Water Rescue; Medical Aid Response-OFA Level 3 First Aid Attendants; Hazmat Ops/Awareness Trained; Incident Command System Certification 100 & 200; Superior Tanker Shuttle Service Certified since 2012; and Structural Fire Fighting Live Fire 101, 201, 301 fully trained and equipped with all PPE & SCBA to perform Interior Firefighting.

The department also has: 2 Water Tenders 1800 IG & 1700 IG one with Pump & Roll/Foam; 15’ 6” Polaris Rigid Hull Inflatable w/65hp Jet drive Honda 390 WAJAX Pump; 2 Structural Fire Fighting Engines equipped with CAFF (1-1050 IG Pump & 1000 IG Water Tank & the other 1250 IG Pump & 1000 IG Water Tank; 1 F350 Quad Cab outfitted with Honda 390 WAJAX pump, 250 IG water tank, 100’ rubber hose reel, hard suction hose, equipped with foam and forestry rapid attack pack, hose, wyes, nozzles, shovels, and 1 Command/Rescue Vehicle with awning, rehab, light tower, SCBA filling station. This unit has the JAWS, RDC inflatable, medical, cribbing for MVAs, air power tolls & hand tools.

When the new Meade Creek Recycling Facility was built an area was obtained to create a training centre.

Smoke machines are used along with a simulated digital fire prop and realistic interior for the members to safely practice and hone many skills needed when attending structure fires.

In 2017 and 2018 the department has applied for and received FireSmart Grants from Union of BC Municipalities to educate the community on the principles of FireSmart and another to create a Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

The first six FireSmart Canada Recognized Communities were established in our area in the first year of the program.

The Town of Lake Cowichan was also recognized for their work with FireSmart and the CWPP by receiving the FireSmart Community Protection Achievement Certificate from Fire Smart Canada and Partners in Protection.

LCFD also received a 2019 Community Resiliency Investment Program grant through UBCM to further the FireSmart Programs started in 2019.

The department is also an active participant in the community participating in numerous community events and raising funds for Community Services Christmas Hamper, Lake Cowichan Food Bank and fund raising well over $100,000 towards the fight against Muscular Dystrophy

During the summers of 2017 and 2018 the department sent a tender to supply water and a crew of two to assist with Wildfire Fighting efforts in Cache Creek and Vanderhoof, in total five members gained valuable experience and helped others in need in our province.

The task of helping others and performing the hard and rewarding work of protecting our community has been a long tradition of the department which has been passed down from the original members of the department to the present members who are happy and proud to serve the Lake Cowichan Community.

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