After high school, I attended Simon Fraser University with an athletic scholarship, playing varsity football. Although I had some scholarship money, which helped with tuition, I quickly realized that I needed to find a good summer job to help with my other expenses.
I applied to become a fire crew member in 2006 and was lucky enough to get on a fire crew in Nelson, BC. My first year was amazing, living in Kootneys and fighting wildfire all summer. We flew around in helicopters, constructed helipads, played with chainsaws and worked outdoors in one of the most beautiful and pristine regions in the country. I was also part of a 20 person team, which I craved from playing team sports my whole life. Needless to say, after my first year of firefighting I was hooked. I continued this routine of School/Football/Firefighting for the next 4 years until I graduated in 2010.
Around the same time that I graduated, I was successful in a job competition to become a crew leader for the crew I was working for, based out of Chilliwack. Not having school or football to shorten my work term, I was able to work an 8-month contract. This was perfect for me because it allowed for 4 months of travelling every year. I would have an amazing summer of firefighting and supplement that with travelling around the world.
I have had plenty of other jobs during the years but firefighting has always drawn me back. I love the outdoors and I love the team comradery. It is also a diverse job that offers for many different streams or avenues to pursue depending on your personal interests. For me, I love wildfire operations so that has been the stream or avenue that I have followed. These different opportunities include aviation (AAO, HLCO), chainsaw training (faller), geospatial mapping (GIS), safety, training and recruitment, etc.
If you are interested in becoming a BCWS Firefighter, we do annual recruitment from December-January. We required Level 1 first aid and transportation endorsement OR Level 3 first aid to apply. You can apply on our Website: www.bcwildfire.ca and search for employment opportunities.