When the White Rock Lake Wildfire threatened their community last summer, the members of the Falkland Fire Department were a driving force in helping to patrol and protect their community.
Their actions not only ensured the safety of the community during the evacuation, but their direct intervention saved a home from catching fire and potentially igniting others.
While on patrol, firefighters came to a house and heard the smoke alarm going. They discovered a cooler had been placed on a stovetop which had been left on prior to the power being disconnected. Firefighters entered the house just as the cooler ignited, extinguishing the fire and saving the home.
The efforts of the Falkland Fire Department were acknowledged at the April 21, 2022 Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) board meeting with the presentation of the Fire Department of the Year honours.
But the award acknowledges more than the department’s efforts during the summer’s wildfire season.
Their focus on in-house training resulted in 14 members moving up from the recruit level to exterior operations firefighter or better. The department also went from 11 trained members in January to a CSRD-high of 25 by the end of the year.
“This sets the record for the most members to complete their training in a single year among our fire departments, a record that will likely stand for some time,” said Sean Coubrough, CSRD fire services coordinator, who also recognized the work of fire chief Troy Ricard in helping to keep community members informed and calm during the stressful wildfire evacuations.
Electoral Area D director Rene Talbot thanked the chief and volunteer firefighters for their efforts.
“I am extremely proud of our firefighters. When their families were evacuated, they stayed behind to keep our community safe… There’s a great fire chief and a really good crew of volunteers and their efforts this year have been above and beyond.”
Ricard acknowledged Derek Sutherland and Coubrough for giving fire fighters the opportunity to rise to their current level.
“We’ve been very blessed to have a spectacular group… and our training officer and all of our officers have done a spectacular job of getting our people trained to a certain level,” Ricard said at the meeting. “It’s been a pleasure working with these fellows for the last few years. I can’t say enough about how the communication has changed between our department and the CSRD. We’ve always kind of felt like the black sheep out in Falkland and the last couple of years that has really changed.”