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December 10, 2017
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Burnaby Firefighters At Work
Updated On: May 17, 2014

Members of the Burnaby Firefighters Local 323 are trained to a high level of skill in numerous fields including fire fighting, motor vehicle accident extrication, hazardous materials response, technical rescue, first responder medical assistance, fire boat and public education. Burnaby's Fire Department call volume has averaged 13,500 calls a year over the last five years.

Fire Fighting

The members of the Burnaby Fire Department respond to reports of fire in the City of Burnaby, including residential, commercial and industrial incidents; vehicle fires; bush and grass fires and various other fire types. Our members continually train in order to maintain a high standard of proficiency in such areas as incident command, “live fire” training, high rise fire fighting, Skytrain response, driver training and refinery fires. The training grounds at Fire Station 1 are used daily by our members to familiarize themselves with new fire fighting techniques and technological changes, as well as normal operational procedures.

First Responder Medical Assistance

Our members are trained as First Responders, the first level of a layered pre-hospital care system designed in the best interests of patient care and outcome. We respond to medical incidents as set out in the Medical Protocal Dispatch System used by the ambulance service. Our members are professionaly trained in Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and in the use of the Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) to treat certain types of cardiac incidents. As First Responders, we provide basic medical care when being called to medical emergencies as well as providing on-site patient support and comfort. With seven fire stations in Burnaby, we can respond to most incidents within four minutes.

We would like to receive higher levels of medical training and assist the public more often, but are prevented from doing so by Provincial regulations which limit such assistance to members of the ambulance service. British Columbia is the only province in Canada with this type of regulation. If you call 9-1-1 someone should arrive within six minutes.  We can and will respond if we are called.

Auto Extrication

Innovations by the automobile industry have resulted in increased safety for vehicle passengers, but in a serious motor vehicle accident they make our job more difficult and dangerous. The same reinforcing that protects the vehicle occupants impedes our efforts to treat and/or free them from the wreckage. Thus we must adapt to new methods of  ‘removing the vehicle from around the patient’, all the while being careful to avoid deploying the many airbags (which activate at 300 feet per second) and seatbelt tensioners (which have explosive charges in them). 

We have many roles at an accident scene. These include, but are not limited to, protecting the scene and patients from other vehicle traffic, checking for hazards (electrical boxes/wires down; ruptured gasoline, propane or natural gas tanks; other fluids or hazardous materials spilled), preparing the pumps and fire hose lines in case of fire; stabilizing the vehicles involved and treating and/or extricating the patients.

Hazardous Materials

Thousands of hazardous materials shipments pass into or through Burnaby every day. They are transported by truck, semi-trailer, tanker truck, train, ship and other modes of transport. Burnaby has three refineries and a huge industrial base, including businesses which deal with a wide variety of chemicals. The potential for an accident or spill is ever-present.

Every one of our fire suppression members is trained to a minimum of “awareness level” in hazardous materials response. That means they can all respond to and assess such an incident, evacuate and treat persons exposed to the hazards, set up the decontamination zones and prepare the scene for the arrival of the entry teams. Other specially trained members will put on the protective suits, enter the affected area or building, rescue incapacitated persons and decide on the best course of action. 

Technical Rescue

Part of Burnaby’s beauty is its’ diversity, from the high rise office towers and apartment buildings of Metrotown to the wilderness of Burnaby Mountain. It is a city which has four town centres yet is 25% park land. Over sixty of our members voluntarily commit to be part of the Technical Rescue Team. They have training and expertise to rescue people who have fallen off the cliffs on the Mountain, to work off of construction cranes and down the sides of high rise buildings, and to enter confined spaces such as sewers to rescue children or workers who have inadvertently become trapped.

Public Education

Our public education members spend countless hours educating school children, residents and businesses of all sizes in fire prevention, home safety and burn awareness. Our members in the stations provide the same education to pre-school, early elementary and community groups (scouts, girl guides). Of all the things we do, this is one which our members hold dear to their hearts - because educating children in fire safety and burn awareness may help prevent a lifetime of pain and scarring


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