Vernon and North Okanagan News
The controversial integration of fire services in Vernon takes effect Friday.
That's when Vernon Fire Rescue assumes responsibility for apparatus and fire fighters responding out of the Okanagan Landing fire station.
Beginning Friday, Feb. 1, Vernon Volunteer fire fighters will be deployed out of Station 1 downtown as usual, as well as out of Station 2 Okanagan Landing.
Vernon Fire Chief, Keith Green, says half of the 26 member Okanagan Landing Volunteer Fire Department have provided letters of intention to join the new team.
"Many of those guys have already attended an orientation session here," says Green.
"I hope through time some of the guys hear through the fire fighter line that this is an enjoyable, respectful place to be. Hopefully in time they give it a fair shake and decide to join."
Green says with the integration there will be 36 volunteer fire fighters on staff with four others on the waiting list.
"That would give us 40 if we decide to take those on in the spring recruit in March," says Green.
"We're quite comfortable with where we are and we're quite comfortable to go higher."
The volunteer fire fighters complement the 24 career fire fighters within Vernon Fire Rescue.
Until now, the Okanagan Landing Volunteer Fire Fighters were a self-contained unit, however, over the years Vernon Fire Rescue starting responding into that zone at the same time as Okanagan Landing crews.
Green says over time the system became very divisive.
"It's never good when it's a race mentality," says Green.
"Over time it just made sense to have the two teams integrate into one organization, under one command structure, one set of operational guidelines where everybody knows each other."
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