Customized Fire Safety Solutions for West Coast Fire Protection
When it comes to fire protection, each geographic area presents its own unique challenges and safety requirements.
The Pacific coastal area of BC is comprised of many unique landscapes and terrain types. The rugged mountains found on the mainland and Vancouver Island are blanketed with lush forests that provide timber for the logging industry.
From these snow capped peaks have emerged world class ski resorts which have grown into small communities and in some cases, large townships. The myriad of Islands and inlets between Vancouver Island and the mainland support a variety of marine industries, including commercial fishing, recreational fishing, fish farming, fishing resorts, whale watching, etc. Scattered throughout the west coast mainland and islands are numerous native communities, some in very isolated locations and others sharing their location with townships and cities.
All of these diverse and sometimes unique industries and communities have to be outfitted with fire protection equipment, which then has to be maintained and inspected on an annual basis.
The logging industry demands a high standard of fire safety practices and equipment, given that operations commonly take place in remote areas, where the sparking of a small blaze can quickly develop into a large forest fire. Road building and logging equipment can be equipped with specialized dry chemical suppression systems, as well as portable fire extinguishers. Crew trucks and service vehicles all have dry chemical extinguishers and also water extinguishers (piss cans) for immediate response.
Unique to the west coast are floating camp barges, which facilitate the operations conducted amongst the islands and in the numerous inlets up and down the coastline. These barges are often utilized in very remote locations, accessible only by float plane or by boat. The importance of fire protection under these circumstances is paramount. Barges usually have abundant fire extinguishers, as well as kitchen suppression systems, fire alarm systems and CO² suppression systems to protect the generators, and they are sometimes even equipped with sprinkler systems. The challenge facing the fire protection companies that are given the task of maintaining these camp barges is to have available personnel who are qualified in the all of these specialized systems and equipment.
There are many resorts scattered up and down the coast, each offering a diverse array of services that are as unique as the surrounding landscape. Some of the activities and attractions available include world class sport fishing; whale watching and grizzly bear tours, as well as the opportunity to enjoy a quiet retreat and just take in the natural beauty of our coast.
Many resorts are based on Vancouver Island and allow easy access; however many others are remote and can only be accessed by boat or float plane. Maintaining the fire protection equipment for these operations is a high priority, especially for those in remote locations that are not supported by a fire department.
The natural beauty of the terrain and the abundance of marine life bring tourists from all over the world to the BC coast. Salmon fishing, whale watching, and bear watching are just a few of the activities that support the growing number of small-to-large marine vessels that cater to this industry. Vessels carrying 12 or more passengers must be equipped with engine compartment suppression systems. The typical agents used in these systems used are: CO², FM200, FE241 and Novec.
The Pacific West Coast is also home to major shipping ports that service deep sea vessels. Goods from all over the world land in BC and are transported across Canada. These large ships have specialized CO² suppression systems to protect their enormous engine rooms, as well as other hazardous areas on the vessels.
There are over 750,000 people living on Vancouver Island and the many smaller islands on the west coast. Access to the mainland and these islands is accomplished via a large fleet of ferry vessels, operated by the BC Ferry Corporation. Fire safety on these passenger/car vessels is taken very seriously and is stringently maintained. Typically, a ferry will be equipped with numerous fire extinguishers, as well as fire hoses; a CO² suppression system to protect the engines and/or generators; fire alarm system, emergency lighting; and on larger vessels, kitchen suppression systems. Once again, fire protection companies must employ diverse qualified personnel in order to maintain the specialized systems and equipment required by these vessels.
RCMP vessels, Coast Guard vessels, tug boats, fishing boats, yachts and pleasure vessels all have different and sometimes unique forms of fire protection equipment on board. Depending upon where a vessel is built it might have a European suppression system or (relatively new) water mist system.