The Tumbler Ridge Volunteer Fire Department has been in existence since the early days of Tumbler Ridge, one of the first organizations to be here while permanent structures were being set up.
It has always been a volunteer department, currently with a paid Fire Chief. The rest of the good-natured bunch are on-call night and day, commended largely by trying to keep people, animals and property safe from fire and its ravage.
As well-depicted in some memorable television shows and feature films, such as Backdraft (1991), Ladder 40 (2004) and Third Watch (1999-2005), the brotherhood between these men and women in uniform is something to be in awe of. Not only that, they have an almost unprecedented good time when at events encouraging them to do so.
The Tumbler Ridge Volunteer Fire Department is currently under the command of Fire Chief Dan Golob, who took charge in 2004, after leaving Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island as the Volunteer Fire Chief there.
Tumbler Ridge is experiencing growing pains and one of the unfortunate casualties seems to be the fire department. With shift work and people located on site at the mines, availability is dramatically affected. Where there used to be at least 5 or more firefighters at any given call, even with the town half its current population there are now only a few able to come to a fire page-out. Sometimes too few to help to their full potential. Think of how that can affect any one of us.
Attempts to recruit firefighters have been extremely challenging. It would seem in the good old days of Tumbler Ridge, the impressive numbers were good enough that even when the men and women were on the mine sites, there were still enough available on call. It is frightening to imagine that this leaves the community of Tumbler Ridge so unprotected.
We seem to have a surplus of healthy, young individuals in town, whether it be for a short time or long term, who would be well suited for this and feel the great honour and quiet appreciation that comes with it. It takes commitment and a desire to help your fellow man. Hopefully that is not in short supply in a great town such as Tumbler Ridge. Give back to your community in a way that will never be unrewarding.