The Columbia Valley will get a second deputy fire chief this year, who will help run four of the area’s volunteer fire departments.
Traditionally, fire chief Jim Miller and deputy chief Drew Sinclair oversee the Windermere and Fairmont departments. But when the chief of the Edgewater department retired in 2011, the two took on that community’s fire service as well. According to a staff report for the Regional District of East Kootenay‘s Columbia Valley Directors committee, the move was so successful “because of improvements made in equipment maintenance, training levels, health and safety, and morale” that the Edgewater crew has asked the chiefs to permanently run the department.
The new deputy chief will likely take over administration duties for both Edgewater and Panorama and co-ordinate purchases of equipment and training programs for all the volunteer units, among other tasks. The new position will cost the regional district just over $81,000 per year, with Windermere and Fairmont paying for the bulk of the fire chief salaries and Edgewater and Panorama kicking in 15 per cent each.