Golden Fire Rescue has kept busy over the last three months, responding to 75 calls over the last 90 days.
While that may seem like a lot, acting fire chief Mike Pecora says that it’s about average for what the department normally responds to in that period of time.
“I don’t think people realize how many calls we actually do here,” said Pecora.
Of those 75 calls, 12 were confined space rescues and eight for live fires, with four being classified as internal and the other four as external.
He says over the summer, the department has kept busy with coursework and training, saying that just last weekend alone seven members were able to complete their airbrakes course. In addition, 18 members were able to do Hazardous materials and Weapons of Mass Destruction Operations level training, which is a 24-hour course offered two weeks ago.
With COVID-19 forcing many courses online that would have otherwise required travel to Maple Ridge or New Westminster to attend, many of Golden’s firefighters have been able to complete additional coursework.
“It’s made it way more accessible and we had some budget, so I just started spamming people who needed to get certain things done,” said Pecora.
“As bad as COVID is , it hasn’t really been that bad for us because we’re our own little family in our own little bubble and we stick together.
“We really have come together in the last few months and really locked in and kept training.”
Pecora also says the fire department has reached a few milestones in terms of diversity on the squad, with three female members and a Sikh member. He says they’re always looking to add more diverse people to their team.
“They’re absolute rockstars,” said Pecora.
The Golden Fire Rescue also had an opportunity to send a team of four with engine five, which is classified as a wild and truck, to Penticton to help fight the wildfires just a month ago. Pecora says his team was there for three days and were immediately deployed to the frontlines to help with setting up sprinkler systems and hoses.
While they were gone for a few days, Pecora says that Golden and area were still protected, with plenty of other vehicles and members left behind to cover the area.
“It was actually really neat to get out there, we were third to show up and we were out on the frontlines the next morning,” said Pecora.
“We actually called the chief in Pentiction when we saw how bad things were getting and told him what we had in terms of equipment and crew and his response was essentially, ‘Why the hell haven’t you show up here yet?'”
Now, the department is preparing for public engagement for Fire Prevention Week, posting resources and videos to the department Facebook page, as well as across Town of Golden platforms.
This year, the focus is on educating about kitchen safety and demonstrating to local businesses how to correctly deploy fire extinguishers.