Taking over as new chief of the Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department this past April, longtime volunteer firefighter Brad Elliott has a passion for the job.
A member of the WVFD for the past 16 years, Elliott took over the position from longtime chief Randy Worsley following his retirement.
“Randy was my mentor, and I had been deputy chief prior to that,” Elliott explained, noting the volunteer department had always been in good hands under Worsley’s leadership.
Shifting into the new role, Elliott said the department is excited about its training centre located next to and behind the WVFD hall, and eager to receive a new fire truck in 2021 to help serve the community.
“It’ll be brand new,” he said, noting its current main engine will need to be retired in the near future due to reaching the end of its legal lifespan required through insurance.
The WVFD currently has 18 volunteer firefighters, however, Elliott said it’s the group’s number one goal moving forward to recruit new members.
This September, the WVFD held an open house where Cariboo residents were welcome to come check out the fire hall, take part in some fun games for children, enjoy a barbecue and refreshments and witness some firefighting demonstrations.
“We really want to encourage the public to come out and volunteer,” he said.
The training centre located on the WVFD grounds is a spectacular structure where firefighters are able to put their skills into practice through the placement of multiple ‘C’ cans.
“We can do hot burns behind the hall, then train within a confined space with the ‘C’ cans,” he said. “We’ve had those for about a year and we’re just starting to train with it and hope to have it all painted before this fall. We finished it up earlier this spring so it was safe to use.”
He said this summer was a bit slower than the past summer due to cooler, wetter weather.
“We dealt with minimal calls in response to wildfires, but a large volume of our first responder calls are medical,” he said. “We help out where and when we can with mutual aid to Williams Lake, Miocene and search and rescue, and 150 Mile if required.”
If anyone is interested in volunteering with the WVFD Elliott encourages them to inquire.
“Please come out,” he said. “We just don’t have enough people.”
The group meets at the WVFD every Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
“Come on out and talk to myself or deputy chief Sabrina Dyck, get an application and come out and give it a try.”