Without them, houses and lives would be lost. It’s an important job, and one that the Nakusp Volunteer Fire Fighters do because they love it. Nakusp Fire Chief Terry Warren has been a fire fighter for 35 years, and he sees the importance of the job every day.
In 2017 Nakusp’s Volunteer Fire Department had 151 call-outs, and they included everything from buildings on fire, grass fires, vehicle fires, vehicle accidents, electrical fires, chimney fires, 23 false alarms, and, yes, one cat in a tree. Some of the less run-of-the-mill calls included responding to a sink hole in downtown Nakusp, a woman and her dog on precarious ice near the dock, a burning picnic table, and a sinking boat.
Early in 2018, two houses collapsed under the weight of snow on them, and the fire fighters were there to help them out. One man trapped inside his house was injured in the collapse and had to be rescued with the help of fire fighters. A woman and her pets who had been inside the other house when it caved in escaped without injury.
To be ready to handle whatever comes at them, the fire fighters train every week in scenarios and with different equipment, and learn the theory. The skills they practise get put to use in those 151 different real-life situations, and they’re ready for them.
The work is challenging, and it is volunteer. But of course, the reward is knowing you’re helping your neighbours, your family and friends – your community – when they need it most.