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

Surrey Students NOW slate plans SOGI info session

Event aims to to ‘address concerns and misinformation about the resource being used in our schools’

Surrey First vows to create ‘Mayor’s Youth Council’ if elected

Youth ages 16 to 24 would ‘weigh in’ on decisions regarding everything from affordable housing and transit, to recreation programs and public safety

Another Surrey mayoral candidate wants to ‘pause’ LRT plans

Hayne and his Integrity Now team join other candidates who aren’t sold on the city’s light rail plans

Teen stabbed at Surrey’s Unwin Park

17 year old was transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries

Cloverdale CHAMP celebrates War Amps on its 100th anniversary

Child Amputee Program provides financial and peer support

Ottawa area residents take stock of tornado rubble as Ford tours the ruins

A tornado on Friday afternoon tore roofs off of homes, overturned cars and felled power lines in the Ottawa community of Dunrobin and in Gatineau, Que.

Cap rent increases at inflation rate, B.C. task force recommends

MLAs say drop annual increase that would allow 4.5% rise next year

School, church and old mining site make Heritage BC’s 1st ever ‘watch list”

The list includes sites in need of protection to maintain B.C.’s culture and history

5 to start your day

Maple Ridge students send books to fire-destroyed school, teen stabbed in Surrey park and more

Yowza! Twerk, emoji and facepalm are added to Scrabble dictionary, OK?

Merriam-Webster has announced 300 new words have been added to the spelling game

LGBTQ activists, allies in Victoria counter anti-SOGI protest with rally of their own

Lower Mainland activists plan to protest SOGI on legislature lawn, Sept. 29

Three people attacked on Queensborough Bridge

Man in custody following incident occurred Sunday

Cities make power play for new fiscal order with eye to 2019 federal election

Trudeau ordered Champagne to talk with provinces and territories about ways to “address the timeliness of the flow of funds” to projects.

Trudeau arrives at United Nations, hoping to re-establish Canada on world stage

Trudeau is beginning his day at the opening of the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, where he’s scheduled to deliver brief remarks later this afternoon.

Most Read