Inmates at the Nanaimo Correctional Centre participate in the Hose Wash Program, as part of the BC Corrections Fire Suppression Program. In 2017, inmates processed and repaired over 40,000 hoses. File contributed. (Province of BC)

Inmates help fight B.C. wildfires with hose repair program

Over 40,000 hoses are cleaned and repaired at a Vancouver Island correctional centre each year

As terrible as the recent wildfires have become in B.C., they have also brought communities together.

Firefighting crews from across the province have been dispatched to combat wildfires in the North and Interior parts of the province, volunteers have jumped in to help people and animals as they evacuate their homes, and donors from across the country have contributed to the Canadian Red Cross.

But, another community has also been helping – from behind bars.

Inmates at the Nanaimo Correctional Centre (NCC) on Vancouver Island are participating in the Hose Wash Program, an initiative that is part of the BC Corrections Fire Suppression Program, in partnership with the BC Wildfire Service.

ALSO READ: Firefighters ask public to ‘smarten up’ as they battle person-caused Nanaimo Lakes wildfire

The NCC is a medium-level prison housing inmates on Vancouver Island.

The Hose Wash Program sees inmates repair, clean and dry thousands of fire hoses from across the province, which are then returned and re-used by the wildfire service.

Between 25-50 inmates participate in the program, repairing upwards of 42,000 hoses per year.

“For me, this wasn’t just about making time pass. We got that it was important to a lot of people out there working the fire lines, so that really motivated us to get it done right,” said an inmate at the NCC in a statement, whose name could not be released. “Some of the guys even showed up on their days off. Keeping up my work ethic will help when I get out.”

RELATED: 200 out-of-province firefighters, support staff to arrive in B.C. in next week

In 2017 the program was extended to run on evenings and weekends so that more repairs could be done to meet higher demands.

This year over 27,000 hoses have been processed. And inmates at the NCC recently started repairing relay tanks as well, which are portable water tanks used by fire crews. So far in 2018 they’ve repaired 278 relay tanks.

“In efforts to support forestry we have increased the hours of our hose wash crew to include evening and weekend work. We have also increased our staffing levels to support and assist the work crews,” said Teresa Owens, NCC Deputy Warden of Programs in a statement.

“It is critical that we get the maximum amount of hose [sic] back into circulation as quickly as possible,” Owens said. “By performing this important work, NCC residents are able to give back to their communities and they are eager to contribute to the fire suppression efforts provincially.”

ALSO READ: Six Victoria firefighters head to B.C. Interior to combat wildfires

Inmates are paid between $2 and $8 per day to participate in the program. This means the cost of repairing a hose for the province is approximately $15, as opposed to $140 to buy a new one.

The hose washing program is not new; in fact it has been ongoing for more than 30 years. But services have expanded to do more than washing and drying, and now include repairs, splicing and testing.

The NCC is one of only four B.C. correctional facilities involved in the Fire Suppression Program.

Crews from the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre and the Prince George Regional Correctional Centre set up and take down firefighting camps, and assist with camp inventory and maintenance. Crews from the Ford Mountain Correctional Centre inspect, test and repair firefighting hand tools such as axes, shovels and fire rakes.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

C.V. Hospital Tuck Shop purchases new equipment

C.V. Hospital Tuck Shop has purchased a transport chair plus bedside and… Continue reading

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is coming to Creston

MP Wayne Stetski invites the public to join him and Federal NDP… Continue reading

I voted for Proportional Representation

“I look forward to new ideas and reforms being introduced based on their merits, rather than based on who is introducing them or opposing them.”

Referendum deadlines approaching

Return your voting package to Elections BC by 4:30 p.m. on November 30.

99 Red Ballons

By Brian Lawrence In what has become an annual tradition, students in… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

B.C. to fund gender-affirming surgeries for transgender people

Roughly 100 people in B.C. travel each year out of province for lower surgeries

U.S. mayor and dying dog’s roadtrip to B.C. goes viral

First vacation in three years came a month after blood cancer diagnosis

Federal fall update expected to offer more support for struggling news industry

Ottawa committed $50 million over five years for local journalism in ‘underserved communities’ last budget

UK’s May appeals to public on Brexit, braces for more blows

British Prime Minister Theresa May answered questions from callers on a radio phone-in, the day after she vowed to stay in office

VIDEO: Stan Lee leaves posthumous message for his fans

Marvel Comics’ co-creator died on Monday at the age of 95

Woman searching for father last seen in Nelson in 1999

Johnson’s daughter, Chandra Machin, is searching for her father

$136M in transit funding coming to B.C.

The announcement was made at the BC Transit yard in Langford on Friday morning

Ottawa apologizes to Japanese family in B.C. after chopping historic cherry trees

Plaque installed in Prince Rupert to honour the memory of Shotaro Shimizu

Most Read