January 31, 2013 - 3:29 PM
Vernon's fire chief says the new unified command structure will work like a football team: members will train, learn and grow together. "I've played on a lot of sports teams, and it's when a team works together that you get the best results," Kieth Green says.
The formerly independent Okanagan Landing firefighters will join the Vernon team on Friday, as per a city decision not to renew their contract. Since the decision was announced last summer, the Okanagan Landing firefighters have tried to convince the city not to cancel the contract which ran out Wednesday.
Despite hard feelings harboured by some of the Okanagan Landing Firefighters, Green sees the unification as a great opportunity. Thirteen of the 26 Okanagan Landing firefighters have indicated interest in joining the city contingent, and will meet Friday and Saturday for an orientation.
"We're looking to those who join to act as leaders," Green says. "I hope through the firefighter grapevine, people sitting on the fence will get the good word from those who've joined. We always welcome the others."
Green says the reduction in Okanagan Landing firefighters is compensated for by last fall's recruitment.
"We have between 34-36 total right now, with four members on a wait list from the fall... I'm quite comfortable with that number," Green says.
He says the advantage of working and training together is that everyone's expectations will be clearly defined. The downtown and Okanagan Landing teams will work together for serious fires in certain areas, while more minor calls will be handled mostly by the downtown contingent. The Okanagan Landing station will remain staffed only with volunteer firefighters.
"It'll be all about getting to know each other on the same team," Green says.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013