The Cortes Island Fire Fighting Association (CIFFA) has requested that the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) ask the citizens of Cortes Island if they are interested in adding a ‘First Responder’ (FR) capability to the CIFFA list of services.
It was the hope of the CIFFA that islanders would be able to vote on the FR proposal in a binding referendum in October and the FR program would be operational in the Summer of 2019 however, for their own reasons, the SRD has decided to have a non-binding referendum to decide if they will have a binding referendum. The SRD has indicated that a strong positive response to the FR proposal could still result in this service being initiated by the Summer/Fall of 2019.
What is ‘First Responder’ and why is the CIFFA proposing it for Cortes?
in the context of fire departments First Responder refers to the added capability of properly trained volunteer firefighters to directly respond to acute medical calls and provide basic emergency medical services until the arrival of the ambulance. The addition of First Responder capabilities in no way is designed to supplant our ambulance service but to support it.
We will be able to improve the existing emergency medical response in the following ways:
Improved response times. Province wide, the average response time by BCAS in rural communities is approximately between 45mins – 1hr. As a First responder department, we would be able to reduce this to as little as 15min. This would allow us to perform critical medical interventions before BCAS arrives.
More trained personnel. This could be critical to life if there are multiple people affected/multiple casualties, or if the ambulance was already on a call and unable to respond. As well as the possibility to speed up the patient packaging process, including simply carrying patients to the ambulance. We could expect to see up to 10 FR’s at a large incident.
More medical equipment on Island to be used during multiple calls or multiple patient calls.
Faster patient assessments. We would be able to call for resources such as Air Ambulance, or the Coastguard for medical extractions.
We have already raised money to purchase all the necessary medical equipment to become FR’s and at no cost to the tax payers of Cortes Island.
The estimated maximum budget for this service upgrade was $41,000 for 2019 and $25,000 each year after that. The higher cost for 2019 was due to the training costs for the volunteers to become First Responders. We aim to certify some of our personnel to become trainers so that subsequent training costs will be greatly reduced.
The CIFFA Board of Directors
(Chris Walker, President)
(Dave Robertson, Vice-President)
(Bob Osleeb, Treasurer)
(Stephanie Asbeck, Secretary)
(Eli McKinty, Director)
(Pat Whelan, Director)
(Rick Kolstad, Director)
President, Cortes Island Fire Fighting Association
The Cortes Island Fire-Fighting Association would like to thank all the amazing volunteers who helped make the Easter Pancake Breakfast a huge success. Thank You Alice for organizing and running the kitchen, with the crew of Jan, Keith and Suzanne, Deb, Doug, Wendy, Jim, Ken, Samantha, Ayami, Bobbie and Jason!
Thank You to Doone for gathering and organizing the prizes and donations for the fundraising raffle and Lovena for the advertising and marketing!
Thank you Klahoose for hosting this event in your Multi Purpose building. Thank You to all the volunteer fire fighters. Thank you each and every person and business that donated their goods and services. This years Pancake Breakfast raised $3900.00.
Big thanks to the community for taking the time on Easter Sunday to come out and eat pancakes. We couldn’t do it without You!!
The Cortes Island Fire Department has spent a successful day of training to prepare for mass evacuation events. We were accompanied by BC Ambulance Service, Cortes ESS, Quadra RCMP, Cortes Emergency Radio, the Strathcona Regional District, and the Ministry of Forests.
I would like to thank Klahoose for allowing us the use of their wonderful facility.
The Cortes Island Fire Fighting Association (CIFFA) is proposing to add ‘First Responder’ to our service provision as authorized by the SRD.
Fire departments are often able to respond to emergencies more quickly than ambulances. The First Responder program was developed to enable fire departments to provide emergency medical care to the public until the arrival of the ambulance. More specifically First Responders are trained to “perform an organized and prioritized patient assessment; intervene in life-threatening traumatic injuries and medical conditions; manage a patient in cardiac arrest including CPR and the use of Automatic External Defibrillation (AED); recognize and manage a patient with a spinal injury; and record and report patient information.” (From Justice Institute of BC First Responder training course outline).
First Responder services in no way jeopardize the Cortes Island ambulance service (BC Emergency Health Services), in fact the local ambulance is very much in support of the proposal.
What will a First Responder service cost? CIFFA has been preparing for this development for some time and now have all of the equipment to add this service, paid for through fundraising and grant applications. We are now proposing to begin training our volunteers and Duty Officers to the First Responder standard (an eight day course). The first wave of training will be done by off-island trainers and will cost approximately $20,000. We intend that some of our own people will become trainers so that further training costs will be minimized.
There will be additional ongoing costs associated with adding First Responder services of approximately $21,000 per year : – the fire department will be responding to more calls (about double the volume), so there will be more wear and tear on vehicles and equipment, plus more fuel used – We will be increasing the Duty Officer pay to reflect the higher level of responsibility, training and call outs. – Replacement of medical equipment associated with F.R. calls. -Ongoing training costs (re-certification every 3 years using our new on-island trainers).
First, CIFFA will consult with the public to gauge the level of support for the program. Second, if there is solid public support then CIFFA will confer with the SRD and develop a service agreement. Third, the SRD and Director Anderson develop a plan to pay for this service through taxation. Finally we will complete the required training and become First Responders!
We have completed our re-certification course this past Saturday May 27th under the instruction of the Ministry of Forests. Thanks to all the 15 fire fighters who took the time out of their busy spring schedules to come out and train through the oppressive heat we were experiencing.
Cortes Island Fire Rescue
Cortes Island Fire Fighting Association
#2 - 959 Beasley Road
Manson's Landing, B.C.
Phone: 250 935-6779