Lt. Insp. Sean Lillis is looking forward to meeting members of the community at the 100th anniversary celebration of the Saanich Fire Department. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Lt. Insp. Sean Lillis is looking forward to meeting members of the community at the 100th anniversary celebration of the Saanich Fire Department. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich Fire celebrates 100th anniversary with party

Simulations, prizes, cake and more at No. 1 hall

The Saanich Fire Department is hosting a party to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

On Sept. 21, the public is invited to come down to station No. 1 on Vernon Avenue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a day of activities, prizes, pizza and of course, birthday cake.

Saanich firefighters are looking forward to meeting residents in “non-emergency setting,” said Lt. Insp. Sean Lillis.

Folks who attend will get to take a turn in the earthquake simulator, see various rescue demonstrations, tour the trucks, take a peek at historical artifacts and photos, and watch firefighters run through the fire ground survival program.

READ ALSO: Saanich Fire promotes several members of its fire prevention division

The program is part of a big firefighter safety initiative and has been touring B.C. and the Yukon to give all stations a chance to try it. It allows them to practice escaping burning buildings, Lillis explained. In the early 2000s, several firefighters died after getting trapped in burning buildings. The simulator gives all firefighters experience with various quick escape scenarios so they’re prepared if they need to do it for real. Once Saanich Fire is done with the program, it will continue on to other parts of the Island.

The team practices drills and survival techniques for two to three hours every day, said Lillis.

Saturday’s celebration is for folks of all ages, said Lillis. Kids can enjoy face painting and a bouncy castle.

The youngsters will also be able to try their hands at using a fire hose, step into some firefighter gear and hang out with Sparky the fire dog.

The department started with one firefighter in 1919, and now there are 127 firefighters in the district, said Lillis.


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Firefighters practice escaping burning buildings head-first in the fire ground survival program truck so they’re prepared in real emergencies. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Firefighters practice escaping burning buildings head-first in the fire ground survival program truck so they’re prepared in real emergencies. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)