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Firefighter call-outs rose 46% last year in the Sunshine Coast Regional District

The regional district's four volunteer fire departments attended 778 calls in 2021, compared to 532 the year before
Gibsons fire truck close
Volunteer firefighters across the SCRD saw an increase in callouts in 2021.

More people called for help in 2021 in the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) than had in recent years – and the region's volunteer firefighters answered.

In 2021, SCRD’s four volunteer fire departments attended 778 calls, compared to a total of 532 calls in 2020 and 587 calls in 2019.

“That’s a lot of extra workload for the volunteer firefighters,” Elphinstone director Donna McMahon said after the statistics were presented at a Feb. 17 committee meeting as part of the regional district’s year-end report for the planning and development department.

The four departments under the SCRD’s jurisdiction are the Egmont & District Volunteer Fire Department with 17 members, the Halfmoon Bay Volunteer Fire Department’s 32 members, 21 firefighters volunteer with the Roberts Creek Volunteer Fire Department and 48 volunteers make up the Gibsons & District Volunteer Fire Department.

While the Egmont Department saw 40 call-outs for 2021, 2020 and 2018, the rest of the departments experienced a rise in call-outs. The Gibsons department went from 240 calls in 2020 to 352 calls in 2021, after a slight dip from 2019’s 296 calls. The volunteers in Roberts Creek likewise saw an increase near the 100-mark, with 222 calls last year compared to 129 calls the previous year. In Halfmoon Bay, volunteer firefighters responded to 164 calls in 2021, up from 123 calls in 2020.

Notable incidents included the November flooding, a horse stuck in a sink hole and a tree falling on a house.

Over the year, the volunteer departments put in a total of 2,798 practice hours.

During another Feb. 17 committee meeting, the directors moved to award a health benefits contract for the SCRD’s volunteer firefighters to HUB International Insurance Brokers for up to $186,860. The directors also moved to fund an apparatus replacement for the Gibsons & District Volunteer Fire Department up to $400,789 through a Municipal Finance Authority five-year short-term loan.