Fire Chief in Fort St. James is looking for volunteer firefighters for the Sowchea Bay Fire Hall.
The district’s fire department operates the Sowchea Bay Fire Hall under a service agreement between the district of Fort St. James and the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, to provide fire protection to Luck Bay residents.
“The problem is that there are only a few residents who are currently volunteering at the Sowchea Bay Fire Hall,” said Steven DeRousie, fire chief in Fort St. James.
Due to the crisis in the forestry industry and with Conifex closing operations, the fire department will lose more members, DeRousie added.
“When one or two volunteers move away for new work, that has a significant impact on the firefighting capabilities of the Sowchea Bay fire hall.”
The fire department is reaching out to residents of Luck Bay to consider becoming volunteer members of the community’s fire hall. This request is being shared with former volunteers who have prior firefighting experience, DeRousie said.
Sowchea Bay fire hall needs residents from the Luck Bay area who live within 8 kms of the fire hall to be volunteers.
“The 8 km distance is a requirement of the insurance industry based on the response time after a call is made to 911 for residential fire insurance lines,” the fire chief explained.
Residents with previous firefighting experience are the most valuable to the community, DeRousie said, adding the fact that they come with skills and prior training, it only takes a refresher course and some training to meet the current standards for firefighting.
An open house is being held at the Sowchea Bay fire hall on Nov. 28, from 4pm until 8 pm for anyone wishing to ask questions or learn more about what is required to be a volunteer firefighter.
DeRousie will be at the open house, he said, noting the regional district fire chief will also be present along with current members who will share their firefighting experiences.