The Robson Raspberry Fire Department has a new fire chief.
Deputy fire chief Jeff Grant has taken the reigns from retiring chief Keith Watson. Rob Graham will be stepping into the Deputy Fire Chief position.
Grant says the transition is going well.
“Our outgoing fire chief Keith Watson has been a very big influence on us. His succession plan set us up really well. He has done a really good job setting us up to move ahead. He set up a great team of officers,” said Grant.
Grant has lived in Robson most of his life and firefighting runs deep in his family, his dad spent 20 years with the Robson department, one of his uncles worked with the Castlegar department and another uncle was a lead fire investigator for the province of BC for many years.
Grant is the youngest fire chief in the region, but definitely is not inexperienced having joined the department 14 years ago at the young age of 19.
Grant will now be responsible for the administrative aspects of the department as well as the well being of all things related to the fire hall including maintenance and training.
The Robson Fire Department currently has 18 volunteer members and is always looking for more volunteers. Fourteen members currently have 1001 Level 1 Firefighter training, which is the national standard. One of Grant’s goals is to bring that up to Level 2 this winter.
“My foremost goal is training. We have always been strong on the training in the fire hall as long as I can remember. We pride ourselves on staying one step ahead of the training standards,” said Grant. “We want to provide our community with the best protection we can.”
Another short term goal is to work on mutual aid agreements with other fire departments. Long term goals include apparatus and gear replacement.
The department covers the area from the Syringa Creek Provincial Park boundary to the old school house at Pass Creek Road and Raspberry Village responding to 75 to 85 calls a year. They train and practice 4 times a month on Tuesday evenings for 2 hours each time.
Grant is looking forward to the challenge ahead and appreciates the time he as already spent with the department and what he has gained form it personally. “For me,” said Grant, “It has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I have met a lot of people and had great mentorship through some of our older members.”