Never underestimate the impact of volunteering for your local fire department. That from President of the BC Professional Firefighters Association, Gord Ditchburn.

He says it’s especially important for communities not served by full-time departments:

“I think there could be nothing greater, for me, whether you’re a professional or volunteer if you’re willing to put that gear on and that equipment on and go in to do the work to save somebody you have my full support and I can’t say enough good things about people who are willing to do that.”

Ditchburn adds there’s an expectation for service when help is required:

“….and yet being a volunteer is an important part of your community if you’re not served by a full time department, and as neighbours we rely on each other to help us in a time of need….”

He says losing a member of the team can present it’s own set of challenges, but they can also be overcome. The BC Professional Firefighters Association has 4000 firefighters serving in 53 communities across the Province including in Trail, Nelson, and Cranbrook.

This as the City of Grand Forks announced the departure of Fire Chief Dale Heriot last week, after 21 years of service. A City of Grand Forks representative tells the MyGrandForksNow newsroom that although four volunteers have requested leave at the department, it isn’t uncommon to see that during Summer months. He goes on to say of the 42 members currently at the department (and not on leave), 22 have over five year’s worth of experience, averaging an amazing 16 years of service. The Nelson Star also recently reported the departure of the Regional District of Central Kootenay’s Regional Fire Chief, Andrew Bellerby.