The Scotch Creek/Lee Creek Fire Department is currently below mandatory levels of firefighters which could result in higher property insurance rates for everyone within the fire protection area.
"Our fire services are struggling to recruit new members and that is jeopardizing the ability to maintain critical accreditations that dramatically reduce the insurance rates of our residents," says Derek Sutherland, Team Leader of Protective Services for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD).
Currently many residents of the Scotch Creek/Lee Creek Fire Department (SCLCFD) service area enjoy Superior Tanker Shuttle Accreditation (STSS). The sole purpose of this accreditation is to ensure the fire department has capacity to flow significant water in a short amount of time and maintain that flow indefinitely. As a result, members in an STSS accredited fire service area enjoy far lower insurance rates than residents in fire service areas that don’t have this accreditation.
“If we don’t get more members we are in danger of losing our STSS accreditation. If that happens, everyone pays," says Sutherland.
While the current number of Scotch Creek/Lee Creek firefighters is enough to allow for an adequate response time to emergencies, the Celista Fire Department has been called on to supplement the fire response in Scotch Creek. The goal now, is to increase the number of Scotch Creek/Lee Creek firefighters to a sustainable number on its own.
"The volunteer firefighters we have are truly dedicated to the safety of their community and they are working very diligently to ensure the community has a good emergency response every time a call comes in. We don't want to burn out those hard-working volunteers," says Sutherland. "We are looking to increase the number of Scotch Creek/Lee Creek firefighters to a number that is healthy and sustainable."
Sutherland points out some of the benefits to being a firefighter, including the fact that all CSRD firefighters are paid on-call for their work, training and mileage.
"Firefighters get to give back to their communities in rewarding ways. They provide community leadership and have the opportunity to build strong skills in firefighting, equipment operating, and administration while enjoying time with other dedicated community members" adds Sutherland.
The CSRD Fire departments train all members to current standards in excess of those mandated by WorkSafe BC. All fire department members can be assured that no one is asked to do a job until they are trained and competent in doing that job. Safety is the CSRD's primary focus.
Join your fire department today, start at www.csrd.bc.ca/firefighterrecruiting or by calling 250-833-5955.
Photo above right: Members of the Scotch Creek Fire Department conduct a training exercise involving the proper methods for extinguishing a burning car. All CSRD departments conduct a rigorous training program for recruits, with safety being the top priority. (CSRD/Scotch Creek Fire Department photo)