Fighting fires in rural areas not all fun and games

Local firefighters receive training on how to be leaders themselves

Submitted by Chief Marty McKinney

Hemlock Valley Volunteer Fire Dept.

Have you ever been sitting in your easy chair watching your favorite shows on TV, laying in bed at night or just puttering around the house and you hear the siren of a fire truck going by.

What a cushy job those guys have sitting around the fire hall, playing pool, watching TV and eating just waiting for a call-out that may or may not come.

For the rural fire fighter you have it all wrong.

80 per cent of all North American Fire Fighters are volunteers.

These are people like you and me who have their regular jobs, families and hobbies and like to sleep at night just like the rest of you but they will drop everything or jump out of a warm bed in the middle of the night to run to the fire hall when ever that pager they have goes off.

They may not know if it is a structure fire, medical or a rescue call but they all are ready to go, no matter what the weather.

Not only do these volunteers attend these incidents but they also take time from their busy lives to train every week with their respective departments and many attend additional classes to upgrade their personnel knowledge.

Over the past two weeks I attended training sessions with a number of the members from several of the FVRD Fire Departments.

This training was held at the North Fraser Fire Hall #1 on Nicomen Island and was attended by members from the North Fraser Hall, Columbia Valley, Chilliwack River, Boston Bar, Yale, Popkum and Hemlock Valley Fire Departments.

The training provided by the JIBC was to assist those who attended in becoming Training Officers so they could spend more of their leisure hours assembling training session for their respective Fire Halls to make sure the members are trained properly and sufficiently.

Safety First.

So, next time you see a vehicle sporting a “Fire Department” license plate give them a wave or a thumbs up for the excellent work they do and the priceless service they supply to the communities they live in.