Operations & Department
The primary mandate of White Rock Fire Rescue is to protect life, property and the environment from fire and natural or human-made emergencies.
The department quickly responds to a wide variety of emergency incidents with well-trained staff and strives to achieve this through a variety of services and programs in six key areas: fire suppression, fire prevention, medical calls, motor vehicle incidents (MVI), public education, and rescue and safety.
The department responds to incidents involving or potentially involving fire. They assess the problem, protect lives and property, and minimize damage to the environment.
To minimize the occurrence and potential consequences of fires, the department has a proactive prevention program. Regular inspections are carried out in all assembly, commercial, institutional, and multi-residential buildings. The department works closely with Planning and Development Services to review building plans, development proposals and complete license inspections or preoccupancy inspections when required.
Firefighters are trained as First Responders for medical emergencies. This “First Responder” service is a part of the pre-hospital medical care system in the Province of British Columbia.
Motor Vehicle Incidents (MVI)
The department is equipped with rescue equipment that can be used for auto extrication. Fire crews also attend MVIs for a variety of reasons, including fire suppression, medical assistance, fuel leak control, environmental protection and to secure the scene for the safety of other emergency responders.
The department provides fire safety and emergency preparedness training, information and programs.
Rescue and Safety
The department responds to a wide range of incidents. Some examples are people trapped in elevators, oil/fuel spills, electrical problems, damage to gas lines and general complaints.
The department consists of a Fire Chief who is also the Emergency Program Coordinator, a Deputy Chief for Training and Operations, a Deputy Chief for Fire Prevention and Emergency Preparedness, an Administrative Assistant, 24 Professional Career Firefighters and 20 to 24 Auxiliary Paid-Per-Call Firefighters.
White Rock Fire Rescue operates out Fire Hall 1, responding with two Engines, a Tower and Mocom. The modern four-bay station is staffed 24/7 to provide 24-hour year-round emergency response capabilities for fires, rescues and other emergencies.
The White Rock Fire Hall is located at 15315 Pacific Avenue, White Rock, BC.
White Rock Fire Rescue Service is dispatched by the Surrey Fire Dispatch Centre, which receives calls from the 911 Operators.
The Fire Rescue Service operates under the direction of the Fire Chief, who reports to the Mayor and Council through the City Manager.
Recruitment & Auxiliary
The Fire Rescue Service is one of the most unique and challenging work environments known today. It is this diversity that inspires women and men to enter the Fire Rescue Service as an Auxiliary (paid on call) firefighter. Auxiliary Firefighters role is to support the full-time firefighters during paged incidents. This support role is an important strategy in our duties to serve the community.
Firefighters have more than just a desire to help people. They also have courage and dedication, assertiveness and a willingness to learn new skills, face new challenges and work as part of a team. Our service is one which calls on its members to perform dirty strenuous work, often in uncertain and hazardous environments. We can do it safely because of the quality equipment and detailed training we receive. There is a sense of accomplishment after controlling a building fire, joy and elation when a child is rescued, compassion for victims, and fulfillment in teaching fire safety.
Join Our Mission
The bottom line in our business is measured by the prevention of loss of life, pain and suffering and property damage. We exist and are prepared for one reason only, to provide service to the community. If you feel you have what it takes to meet the challenges of our business, we welcome you to contact us at 604-541-2121.
The members of White Rock Fire Rescue are proud to serve our community and recognize their responsibility to help to ensure the safety of our residents.
Through a variety of programs including Fire Prevention, Public Education and Emergency Response we strive to be proactive in how we meet our goals to protect life, property, and the environment, from fire and natural or man-made emergencies. While fire response is a primary function, types of emergencies can cover a wide range and medical aid continues to be an important function as well.
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- Ed Wolfe, Fire Chief
The White Rock area had many disastrous fires in the early 1900s, but had no practical firefighting resources until 1934. Nevertheless, they did have fire protection supplied by Blaine, USA; New Westminster and Cloverdale.
Early Notable Fires
- 1910 Fire
One fire of note was a wild-land fire in September 1910, which burned from east of the White Rock area through to Blackie Spit, a distance of more than 6 miles. Eight homes owned by the Hazlemere Lumber Company, a number of summer homes and some businesses were all devoured by the flames.
- 1927 Fire
In January 1927, fire destroyed buildings along sea front road (Washington Avenue - Marine Drive). Some of the premises destroyed and damaged were; the Pavilion, Auditorium, Clancy Building, Post Office, J.D. MacMilland and Fred Philps buildings. Damaged were Shepherd Brother's Meat Market (operated by Ben and Len Shepherd - Len Shepherd was Surrey Fire Chief Al Cleaver's father in law), and Dinty Moore's Confectionary. This fire became the central point in establishing a volunteer fire brigade for the White Rock area, with considerable debate toward forming the areas first volunteer fire brigade.
- 1928 Fire
An interesting fire occurred in 1928 at the Great Northern Railway Station Depot on sea front road. William R. Barge (Surrey Captain Harold Barge's father) supplied buckets from his hardware store to facilitate a bucket brigade in passing water from Semiahmoo Bay to the train station fire, an action that saved the building.
Fire Brigade Formation
Finally, in 1933, after years of talking, a committee of three - Messrs. W.J. Moffat, W.J. McIlwain and Councillor Logan Davis, was established to muster a group of volunteers to form the White Rock Fire Brigade. W.J. McIlwain was appointed first Deputy and first driver until the group became structurally sound and selected a Chief. The newly created group responded to their first fire in March 1934. It was a bush fire on Buena Vista Avenue that threatened some homes. It was reported that their bucket brigade saved a lot of valuable property.
Organizational development with the newly formed group was lacking initiative. This obstacle soon came under control when retired Fire Chief W.J. Watson of the New Westminster Fire Department and summer resident of the White Rock area was appointed Fire Marshall in 1934.
Fund raising events took place and in 1936 a reorganization meeting was held. W.J. McIlwain was elected Chief. McIlwain soon moved to the interior of British Columbia and the fire brigade faltered for some time under various Chiefs along with a burden of inadequate equipment, requiring tires, batteries and other essential operational items.
In 1940 Jack Kelman (Gassy Jack) became Fire chief and housed the fire truck in his Shell service station at the corner of Oxford and Washington Avenue. So began the functional White Rock Fire Department.