It’s a trend happening across rural BC: the skilled and dedicated volunteers running rural fire departments are turning to local governments for help as firefighting becomes more complex, training costs rise, and volunteer recruitment is more challenging.
The Moberly Lake Volunteer Fire Department (MLVFD) is no exception and in 2021 the society running the department proposed a transition to a service operated by the PRRD. The PRRD Board of Directors supported the change, and amended the service delivery model from providing funding to the volunteer society to a direct service delivery model. Effective January 1, 2022, the PRRD operates and manages the MLVFD.
Moberly Lake residents shouldn’t notice any change, says Fire Chief Fred Burrows, the veteran firefighter and long-time chief of the Fort St John Fire Department, whom the PRRD hired last fall to lead the transition. “Residents were well-served for many years by an incredibly dedicated group of volunteers who provided critical fire prevention and suppression in the Moberly Lake area, and that’s what residents can continue to expect,” says Burrows.
Residents pay for the service through their property taxes and already significant investments in the MLVFD are coming. In December, the PRRD’s Electoral Area E Director Dan Rose committed $242,250 in capital and operational upgrades to the MLVFD, a good portion of which will be spent on a new tracked exhaust removal system that will ensure the fire hall is properly vented when trucks are running inside. Other funds will go to upgrades to the fire hall: gas detectors, new lockers and gear for firefighters, water cistern maintenance and completion of the exterior water fill station.
The transition is going well and other plans for upgrades and improvements are being developed. Chief Burrows is assessing training needs and will work with the PRRD’s communications team for help with volunteer recruitment to strengthen the MLVFD’s capacity.
If you have any questions, contact MLVFD Chief Fred Burrows at 250-219-8245.