Fraser Lake fire chief faces recruitment challenges

The Fraser Lake Fire Chief is looking for more firefighters to strengthen his department.

The Fraser Lake Fire Chief is looking for more firefighters to strengthen his department.

Dave Balding took over from previous fire chief Joe Pacheco in May after he took the chiefs position with the Vanderhoof fire department.

Balding joins the Fraser Lake department from Southern Vancouver Island where he spent 25 years in a volunteer department. He says he is really enjoying northern life.

“I’m completely new to the area and I’m liking it very much,” said Balding.

“The staff, the people in the village – they are just incredible people,” he said.

Since he started the job on May 2 he says one of his key aims has been to recruit more volunteers to the department. Currently, the department has 17 firefighters. The maximum number of volunteers the department can take is 32.

“We are seeing some of the challenges that frankly a lot of the volunteer fire services are seeing in terms of both attracting and retaining members,” said Balding.

He attributed societal changes as part of the problem with finding volunteer recruits.

“Most homes now have two working parents and it’s becoming an increasing challenge to free up spare time for volunteer activities,” he said.

Balding hopes raising the departments profile within the community and doing some more marketing should help with recruitment.

“One of the things that the fire service is typically not very good at is marketing itself, and I think we need to be engaged in the community and we need to conscientiously raise our profile to get more community involvement,” he said.

Balding says he plans on holding an open house and getting the department involved in more community events to allow people to interact more with the department.

He added that there are many benefits to belonging to the fire department, in particular the feeling of being part of a team.

“One of the most tangible things is the sense of belonging to a very close knit team – almost a family if you will.

“The relationships that are developed and the support network that exists within the fire department typically are very, very strong and we frankly have a tougher time attracting members than we do keeping them and think thats in large part because of that strong support network,” he said.

“It’s also a great way to help your community – you certainly are helping people, quite probably when they are in their worst hours,” he added.

Balding says he would welcome anyone with an interest and even just recruiting a few more members would make a big difference to the department, and would certainly lighten the load on the rest of the volunteers.

“When somebody picks up the phone because they are having an emergency and they call the fire department, they expect a well trained, well equipped crew to show up and do their job, and so they should.

 

“It can be challenging to meet that expectation without enough volunteers,” said Balding.

 

 

Just Posted

Broken axle caused New Hazelton train derailment: TSB

It could happen again without a different way to inspect trains

Cullen remains uncertain about political future

Says he’ll make decision in early March

Terrace resident’s bill banning single-use plastics introduced in Ottawa

MP Nathan Cullen’s presented Ben Korving’s private member’s bill Wednesday

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Vanderhoof eligible for up to $6M in provincial infrastructure funding

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Most Read