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Residents of Apex Mountain get fire insurance grading

Apex Volunteer Fire Service began 1 year ago on Jan. 1, 2022
Apex Volunteer Fire Service has achieved fire insurance rating for the residents and businesses at the popular ski resort. This new fire department was put to the test in their first year together fighting the Keremeos Wildfire. (Submitted)

As Apex Volunteer Fire Rescue celebrates its one-year anniversary, it also gets to share further good news to the residents and businesses of the ski mountain resort.

Apex Volunteer Fire Rescue has achieved a fire insurance grading, which may enable property and business owners to qualify for improved insurance rates.

A Dwelling Protection Grade 3A has been achieved for Personal Lines insurance and a Public Fire Protection Classification 7 for Commercial Lines.

“Achieving a fire insurance grading of ‘protected’ is a significant milestone that recognizes the hard work of our dedicated volunteers and supportive community members to provide 24/7 fire protection services,” said Apex Fire Chief Kelly Johnston.

“This not only increases the public safety of the Apex community but ensures peace of mind and economic viability for residents, businesses, and property owners through increased insurance affordability.”

This new rating is because Apex volunteer fire department became a RDOS fire service on Jan. 1, 2022. Members of AVFR have made substantial progress in staffing, training, and operational readiness. To date, AVFR has established a staffing strength of 16 trained volunteers and four new recruits.

According to Fire Underwriters Survey, a service for insurers and municipalities, “in past reviews, the staffing of the fire department was a primary item within the fire department review, (which) resulted in fire insurance grading recognition not being granted.”

Apex has 16 trained members, including the fire chief, living and working in the community.

Over the past year, volunteers have been training to become proficient in exterior and interior attack structural firefighting, vehicle extrication, medical first responder, rope rescue, wildland fire suppression, wildfire structure protection, and fire prevention.

The 2022 Keremeos Creek wildfire presented the first significant test for AVFR members and the community of Apex, since the new fire service was established.

READ MORE: Apex residents allowed to go home after being evacuated

AVFR senior leadership has been working with regional district and Apex Mountain Resort staff to provide a new base of operations and home to fire apparatus by winter 2024. AVFR is also working through the process of ordering a fire engine to replace the current Engine 121, also known as Timber. Delivery of the new fire engine is expected by mid-2024.

READ MORE: Apex Fire Brigade Society hopes to gain recognition as certified fire department

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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