Until recently, there were only six publicly accessible defibrillators in the Langleys. A lack of coverage was identified in the Township in the area around office complexes near Willowbrook.
Fortunately, local fire protection company Phoenix Fire identified the gap and jumped into action, according to Erin Patrick Williams, business development manager with Phoenix.
As part of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s BC Public Access to Defibrillation program (PAD), Phoenix Fire bought an automated external defibrillator (AED) and donated it to the community. The new AED is stored at Phoenix Fire (which is at 20626 Mufford Cres.) and now serves a five-minute radius.
AEDs are portable, easy-to-use devices to restart the heart and the PAD program works to have AEDs available in public places. If someone were to experience cardiac arrest, a call to 911 will identify the nearest device registered for public use with the program.
“They’ll call us or send someone who is along the way,” said Williams of how the AED at Phoenix Fire would be brought to the individual in trouble.
Not only can the public pick up the AED, but first responders nearby could take it where necessary as well.
Information about the PAD program can be found at www.bcpadprogram.ca.
The donation was an obvious decision, said Phoenix Fire co-owner Suren Ramlochun.
“I’ve been in Canada 17 years,” he said. “I have gained a lot through community involvement and I’m at a stage now where I can help.”
Ramlochun’s desire to be involved and help the community ripples through the work Phoenix Fire does.
“We focus on fire prevention as well as fire protection,” Williams said.
The company supports Williams’ involvement with Global Medic and donations of old and obsolete equipment to Nicaragua.
Phoenix Fire works as a depot to gather old fire extinguishers and other fire prevention equipment from clients, other fire protection companies, and businesses for Global Medic. Once enough to fill a shipping container is gathered, the equipment is prepared for transport to Nicaragua.
“The industry generally disposes of fire extinguishers,” Williams said. “Developing countries, they are grateful for anything.”
Phoenix Fire is the only company in B.C. doing a collection like this.
“We believe in the bigger picture,” Williams added. “We talk about fire safety, fire prevention and we do a lot of community engagement.”
In fact, customers who buy a fire extinguisher from Phoenix Fire can try “blowing it off” free so they know how to work it.
Langley resident and Burnaby firefighter Erik Vogel recently returned from Nicaragua as part of Operation Nicaragua, a program designed to help firefighters in the developing country be safer in their efforts to help their friends, neighbours, and countrymen in the case of fire.
Vogel is a member of Global Fire, part of the Global Medic organization which local firm Phoenix Fire supports. Through Global Medic and the work of Phoenix Fire, Vogel was able to take a large number of fire extinguishers along on his recent trip for Nicaraguan firefighters.
It was Vogel’s third trip to the country where he, fellow firefighters, and other volunteers go to help with firefighting education.
A decommissioned fire truck from Vogel’s department was donated to the volunteer force in Nicaragua, something the country does not have funds to provide.
On the next trip, Nicaraguan firefighters will likely receive equipment from the Township fire department as Vogel recently received word that he will soon be able to make a presentation to council about the program.
Equipment such as uniforms, fire hoses, and life-saving tools that are out-of-date in Canada are donated by many fire departments in B.C. and are well-received by the firefighters who might have to show up to a fire with buckets in the back of a pick-up truck.
PHOTO: Phoenix Fire co-owner Suren Ramlochun and Langley resident and Burnaby firefighter Erik Vogel loaded fire hoses and other equipment for Vogel’s recent trip to Nicaragua. (Submitted)