How many Fire Fighters do we have?
While the CBVFR currently has approx. 35 Volunteers, the CBVFR has been fortunate enough to have had over 500 community members volunteer their time over the past 73 plus years.
How many calls do we attend?
The call volume of the CBVFR has fluctuated greatly over the years. Currently the CBVFR is responding to an average of 175 calls (one call out every two days) a year for emergency services. Accurate records only date back to 1980, but at the time of the current fire hall replacement the CBVFR was responding to an average of 38 calls a year. The highest recorded year on record is 291 calls. All these incidents are staffed entirely by volunteers who give their personal time to serve our community. This is combined with 50 schedule training sessions, 50 scheduled maintenance sessions and countless additional training sessions, community service activities, charity events etc.
Is the Fire Hall staffed all the time?

The Fire Department is staffed entirely by Volunteers. This means that there is not someone always at the Fire Hall. Volunteers are dispatched and respond to the Fire Hall for Each Emergency Incident. The only scheduled time that someone is most likely to be at the Fire Hall is during our weekly equipment checks and during our weekly training sessions.

  • Sunday 8:30am – 10:30am
  • Monday 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Are there enough Volunteers available to provide services 24/7?

The Fire Department typically has between 28-35 members. As Volunteers they are not all available at the same time, but statistic show that our average response is 10-12 members. Monday to Friday during regular business hours is when we are at our shortest availability. For this reason we have Mutual Aid agreements with our neighbouring Volunteer Fire Department in Duncan, Mill Bay, Shawnigan Lake and North Cowichan. Should a major incident occur and the Officer in Charge requires additional resources and personnel, they can call upon our neighbouring departments for assistance. We provide the same services in return.

If I require the Volunteer Fire Department to respond to an incident, what can I expect?

Our basic response plan involves 1 Officer to respond directly to the scene for the purpose of determining the exact problem and what resources are required. This person will most likely be driving their private vehicle and not be wearing a Fire Department uniform. All our Officers are issued High-Viz Red Jackets that display the Fire Department badges, but as volunteer they may not always have it handy. They should identify themselves as a member of the Fire Department and be carrying a Fire Department issued portable radio for communications. If you’re used to living in an area with Career Fire Department protection this may seem unusual, but in the Volunteer system this is normal. As Volunteer we routinely leave our jobs, our families and other activities because someone in the community has placed a call for help.

Why does the Fire Department respond when I call for an Ambulance?

Fire Department personnel are trained in First Aid and CPR and carry specialized medical equipment such as an AED. For some Medical Emergencies the Ambulance service may request the Fire Department to respond as “First Responders” in order to provide initial care prior to the arrival of BC Ambulance. These situations may be due to the seriousness of the Medical Emergency, the estimated response time and travel distance of the nearest available Ambulance or the difficult or remote location of the Medical Emergency.

Do Volunteer Fire Fighters have special privileges when responding to an Emergency Call in their private vehicles?

NO. All members responding to an incident are required to drive in accordance to the law. Private Motor Vehicles are NOT emergency vehicles and they are to be driven in a safe and appropriate manner. At times, some members may choose to activate their hazard flashers while responding to an incident. This is not meant to allow them special privileges, but is meant to indicate to other motorists that they are responding to an emergency and motorists may choose to give that vehicle the right of way. If you feel that a Volunteer Fire Fighter has responded in a Private Motor Vehicle in an unsafe way, please gather as much information as possible (Make, Model, Color, License Plate, Time, Date and Location) and report it to the Fire Department or the RCMP. We are not any help to our community if we are the cause of an accident while responding to an incident.

Am I Allowed to Burn?
On July 10, 2013 the CVRD enacted CVRD Bylaw No. 3716 – Smoke Control Regulation Bylaw, 2013. This bylaw effectively restricts Backyard Burning to 2 time periods ONLY:
  • March 15 to April 15
  • October 15 to November 15

Read the Entire Bylaw: CVRD Bylaw No. 3716 1.

During these 2 periods allowed burning consists of:
  1. Burning any material, piled or un piled, smaller than two meters in height and three meters in width, including burning barrels; and
  2. Burning stubble or grass over an area less than 2,000 square meters (0.2 hectares).

*Check for current burning status before lighting outside fires*

Can I have a Campfire?

Check current fire danger ratings for specific campfire bans. A campfire means an open fire that burns piled material no larger than 0.5 metres in height and 0.5 metres in diameter.

A person may light or make use of a campfire when:
  1. There are no other restrictions in place for doing so;
  2. Doing so is, and will continue to be, safe;
  3. Reasonable precautions are taken to ensure the fire is contained;
  4. The person is equipped with a hand tool, such as a shovel, or at least eight litres of water, and attends the fire to prevent its escape;
  5. The person maintains a fireguard;
  6. The person carries out fire control and reports the fire if it spreads beyond the burn area;
  7. The person ensures the fire is extinguished before leaving the area.

Find the complete guide to campfires in British Columbia here.

How Many Smoke Alarms Should I have in my home?
The minimum is 1 smoke alarm outside each sleeping area. If all bedrooms exit into a common hallway, 1 smoke alarm in the hallways will serve this requirement. In a two story home, at least one smoke alarm should be installed on each floor. To optimize your family’s safety, a smoke alarm may be installed within each bedroom. The BC Fire Code states “Smoke alarms within dwelling units shall be installed between each sleeping area and the remainder of the dwelling unit, and where the sleeping areas are served by hallways, the smoke alarms shall be installed in the hallways.”
What Type of Smoke Alarm should I have?

There are many different brands of smoke alarms available on the market but they fall under two basic types: ionization and photoelectric.

Ionization alarms sound more quickly when a flaming, fast moving fire occurs.

Photoelectric alarms are quicker at sensing smoldering, smoky fires. There are also combination smoke alarms that combine ionization and photoelectric into one unit, called dual sensor smoke alarms.

Because both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are better at detecting distinctly different yet potentially fatal fires, and because homeowners cannot predict what type of fire might start in a home, the installation of ionization and photoelectric or dual sensor smoke alarms is recommended for the highest level of protection.

In addition to the basic types of alarms, there are alarms made to meet the needs of people with hearing disabilities. These alarms may use strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to assist in alerting those who are unable to hear standard smoke alarms when they sound.

Are Smoke Alarms Hard to Install?
If your smoke alarms are hard wired, that is wired into the electrical system, you will need to have a qualified electrician do the initial installation or install replacements. For battery powered smoke alarms, all you will need for installation is a screw driver. Some brands are self adhesive and will easily stick to the wall or ceiling where they are placed. For all smoke alarm installations, be sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions because there are differences between the various brands. If you are uncomfortable standing on a ladder, ask a relative or friend for help.
How Do I Keep My Smoke Alarm Working?
If you have a smoke alarm with batteries:
  1. Smoke Alarms powered by long-lasting batteries are designed to replace the entire unit according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. In standard type battery powered smoke alarms, the batteries need to be replaced at least once per year and the whole unit should be replaced every 8-10 years.
  3. In hard-wired, battery back up smoke alarms, the batteries need to be checked monthly, and replaced at least once per year. The entire unit should be replaced every 8-10 years.
What if the Alarm Goes Off While I’m Cooking?
Then it’s doing its job. Do not disable your smoke alarm if it alarms due to cooking or other non-fire causes. You may not remember to put the batteries back in the alarm after cooking. Instead clear the air by waving a towel near the alarm, leaving the batteries in place. Some of the newer models have a “hush” button that silences nuisance alarms. The alarm may need to be moved to a new location.
What if My Smoke Alarm is monitored by an Alarm Company?
If your alarm is monitored then the Fire Department will be automatically dispatched to your alarm activation. If the Alarm Company can determine that the alarm is false by positive contact with the home owner, they will notify our dispatch center of such. It is however normal for a fire department representative to carry on to the home to verify the source of the alarm and that no further assistance is required.
How Long will my Smoke Alarm Last?
Most alarms installed today have a life span of about 8-10 years. After this time, the entire unit should be replaced. It is a good idea to write the date of purchase with a marker on the inside of your alarm so you will know when to replace it. Some of the newer alarms already have the purchase date written inside. In any event, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for replacement.
I have been told I need a Fire Inspection prior to receiving my Daycare or Pre-School License. How do I get this done?

Contact the Fire Department and request a visit for this purpose. The Fire Department representative will set up a mutually convenient time and conduct the necessary inspection. If the inspection does not determine any deficiencies, then the report can be signed off.

For more information or to book a visit, please contact us: or 250-743-7111

Why does the Fire Department perform Annual Inspections on all Commercial Properties?
The Fire Department has an obligation to provide for public safety. The Fire Services Act for BC requires that the District provide for a regular system of inspections on hotels and public buildings to ensure that they are safe from a Fire Prevention standpoint. The inspection program is intended to be a positive initiative and provide both the public and the business owner some reassurance that their establishment is safe and provide them with direction on how to improve their safety level.
I have been told I need the Fire Department to sign off on my development plans. What types of things do they require?
The Fire Department has a few items that they recommend for Real Estate Developments. One of the key issues review by the Fire Department is road access. Is the road wide enough to accommodate a Fire Engine? Does the roadway or cul-de-sac provide enough space to turn a Fire Engine around? Another issue the Fire Department may provide feedback on is number and location of Fire Hydrants within the Development. In Multi Residential and Commercial buildings the Fire Department may recommend that a sprinkler system be installed. The Fire Department bases all it’s recommendations on the current NFPA standard applicable to each topic.