The Hornby Island Fire Rescue tests their water supply. The shuttles draw water from various locations throughout the island, and deposit the water into the portable “lakes” shown in the picture, providing firefighters with a continual supply of water when attending a scene. Photo supplied.

Hornby Island fire department receives additional protection accreditation

Hornby Island homeowners received some welcome news from their fire department Wednesday morning.

The Comox Valley Regional District posted a press release, advising that the Hornby Island Fire Rescue (HIFR) has successfully passed the Superior Tanker Shuttle Service insurance accreditation. This gives HIFR the capability to supply with their trucks and water sources the same amount of water as a fire hydrant.

With this accreditation, residential property owners on the island may be entitled to discounts on the fire portion premium of their residential policy.

“There are three rates – ‘hydrant protected,’ ‘fire hall protected,’ so you are within a certain distance from the fire hall, or ‘unprotected’… so if you have the shuttle tanker coverage through the volunteer fire department, you are eligible for a lower rating on your base insurance,” said Michaela Pitt, of First Insurance in Courtenay. “You won’t get ’hydrant,‘ but you will get somewhere in between, because it is still not a hydrant.”

What that lower rating is would be determined on a case-by-case basis.

“There are too many factors [to pre-determine rates],” said Pitt. “Some insurance companies may still have old school, where they aren’t doing algorithms. But any of the big ones are now doing algorithms, so it’s impossible to say beforehand exactly what the discount would be.”

“The requirements for this accreditation are stringent and verify that Hornby Island Fire Rescue is committed to maintaining a high standard of organization and training,” said James Bast, Comox Valley Regional District’s Manager of Fire Services.

Hornby Island Fire Rescue Chief Doug Chinnery said this accreditation has been in the works for nearly a decade.

“We have been working on this project for about 10 years,” he said. “We did a bunch of mapping and analysis to determine we needed a second water tanker. We knew that with our old fire hall we couldn’t house a second tanker so this kind of dovetailed with the new fire hall.”

“We went through hundreds of hours of planning and practice and training with our new water tender and our old one, and got it to the point that we were able to move basically what amounts to 200 gallons of water a minute for two hours.”

The fire department has identified various different water sources throughout the island (in addition to the ocean) to ensure there is an accessible water source no matter where a fire might occur.

Those water sources are where the shuttle trucks will draw water from, when the need arises. The shuttles bring the water to the location where the fire is being fought, and deposit the load into a portable holding tank, from which the pumper trucks can draw.

The following video shows a demonstration of a tanker shuttle at work.

“Our ability to move water has just increased immensely,” said Chinnery, who said the practice has already been put into use on Hornby. “When we did the school fire at the end of the summer, we were able to get water on scene way quicker than what we would have been able to do in previous years.”

The HIFR has been using the portable water tanks for a number of years, but has only ever had the one. The fire department now has three portable tanks, and two shuttle trucks.

For more information, visit the Fire Underwriters Survey website at

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Island College announces 2020 graduation award winners

North Island College has announced the award recipients for the 2020 Graduation… Continue reading

Couple opts for plan B for wedding in Courtenay

Pandemic restrictions prompt April Powell and Hayden Eely to change plans for the big day

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Union Bay water plant now finished

Work allows health authority to lift boil water advisory

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Most Read