By Roy L Hales
Though the population doubles or triples during the summer months, there are less than a thousand people on Cortes throughout the year. The RCMP come from off island, but we have a medical clinic, ambulance and a relatively large volunteer fire department (with firehalls at Mansons Landing and Whaletown). So, at the Cortes Island Preparedness and Awareness weekend, I asked the local Fire Chief how often does Cortes Island need emergency services?
How Often Does Cortes Island Need Emergency Services?
“We have about 20-25 fire calls per year and about 20 medical related calls, in terms of assisting the ambulance. That (last) number is likely to increase because we are planning to go to a first responder department this year, which means we will respond to medical calls on top of fire calls. Not just assisting BC Ambulance, before they get there,” said Mac Diver, Cortes Island Fire Chief.
The smoke coming off from vehicle and structure fires can be very toxic. Diver says cancer and death are a very real possibility. So the fire fighters often wear SCBA cylinders.
Breathable Air Compressor
The Cortes Island Volunteer Fire Department at Manson’s Landing has its own breathable air compressor.
“For public awareness, we do fill scuba tanks for recreational and commercial divers. There is a $10 fee per tank,” said Diver.
Top photo credit: Volunteer Fire trucks and an ambulance (from Campbell River) at Cortes Island Emergency Preparedness & Awareness Weekend – Roy L Hales photo