The Courtenay Fire Department has dealt with fewer fires and fewer car accidents since the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The approach has also changed for crews in the event of a fire or accident, Courtenay Chief Don Bardonnex said. If there’s smoke in a building, firefighters ask occupants to stand back. At an accident, they need to first question people about their health before dealing with the scene in order to determine the level of equipment.
“Our call volume is down a bit, because people just aren’t out there. They are staying home,” Bardonnex said. “We’re definitely noticing it that way.”
Normally, he notes Ryan Road is backed up to the top of the hill at 3 p.m. on weekdays.
“Now, you don’t even have to wait at a traffic light. Getting to calls is easier, getting firefighters to the hall is easier. Things changed here by the simple fact that firefighters aren’t allowed at the hall unless there’s a response happening.”
The Courtenay fire station has closed to the public. Inquiries are dealt with over the phone.
“We’ve discontinued training until this (COVID-19) is done, just because you don’t want all those people in one room,” Bardonnex said.
“My advice to everybody is keep doing the job (to help flatten the curve), stay at home as much as possible and stay safe.”