A pair of volunteer firefighters in Charlie Lake celebrated their Level 2 certifications and became fully qualified members of the fire department last week.
It takes one and half years to earn both levels of NFPA certification as a professional firefighter, and the Charlie Lake department recognized Jess Horsfield and Morgan Rymerson for their hard work by trading in their yellow helmet for a black one.
The two say they’re excited to take on the new challenges and opportunities that come with their certification.
“Once you start one course, it really leads to the next. And it’s just been history from there,” said Horsfield. “It really opens a number of other doors, and that could be with the fire hall.”
Horsfield already has a history as an emergency responder background, starting her career in 2015 with the Sicamous Fire Department. She’s also worked at Site C as an emergency response advisor, and joined TEAAM Aeromedical this summer as a rescue specialist.
“I enjoy being boots on the ground, and I stepped into the management side of it with my career," said Horsfield. "So I like all aspects and being able to switch it up.”
Rymerson has a bachelor’s degree in biology from UBC, and taught at both School District 60 and Northern Lights College over the past three years before beginning a new career as a paramedic this year.
“It’s vastly different, from what I’ve been doing before. I’ve learned from pretty much everybody at the fire department,” said Rymerson, who was one of a handful of firefighters sent to White Rock Lake to help with wildfires in the province this summer. “My focus is medical school and that’s the direction that I’m headed. I work for BC Ambulance, and it’s interesting because the scope of practice is different for ambulance than it is the fire department.”
Charlie Lake Fire Chief Edward Albury said he’s very proud of the two firefighters and glad to see their hard work pay off.
"I'm proud of them for getting it done. Most of the thanks goes to Deputy Schildroth, he looks after I'd say 95 per cent, if not higher, of the 1001 program," said Albury.
Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative. Email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org