Ucluelet Fire Rescue Adds Six New Firefighters to Team – Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News

Six new recruits were welcomed to the Ucluelet Fire Rescue Team (UVFR) last week.

Class of 2022 recruits Jamie Pleune, Fionn Greene, Dan Lehr, Neil Lounsbury, Trent Larson and Dominique Bouchard bring the Ucluelet Fire and Rescue Team to 22 members.

“It’s a good healthy number. They bring a good mix of really relevant skills,” said Fire Chief Rick Geddes, who has 22 years of firefighting service under his belt.

Among the recruits are a millwright, an aircraft maintainer, a pilot, someone who is certified in height and confined space rescue, and someone with previous experience in against fires.

“We are very excited about the future,” said Geddes.

In 2021, nine members of the UFR team completed air brake training as well as technical rope rescue certification through a grant from the Fire Chiefs Association of BC and next March, Geddes says that they will be working alongside Parks Canada and the Tofino Volunteer Fire Department will be undergoing forest fire training.

“A few members have nearly completed Level II firefighter certification, which is the universal standard for firefighter qualifications,” Geddes continued.

Longtime Ucluelet resident Mike Martin was named Firefighter of the Year.

“It’s hard to pick that out of this group, but Mike really did a great job of raising his level of commitment in training. He was really able to nail a lot of things he needed to get done. He always bring the coffee when we practice. It’s the little extra things that really make a difference,” Geddes told Westerly.

Martin joined the UFR about six or seven years ago after witnessing an incident with his uncle where paramedics had to be called.

“It’s a great honor to be named Firefighter of the Year, but everyone on the team deserves a pat on the back,” said Martin.

The UFR had a record year in 2021, responding to 173 calls for service; a slight increase of 114 calls in 2020 and 148 calls in 2019.

“There were a lot more accidents on the road and more people in town. I think that had an impact on the ratio,” he said.

While the UFR’s annual Valentine’s Day dinner fundraiser is on hold this year, Martin said to keep an eye out for monthly community engagement socials at the fire station or around town.

“And welcome to the team to the new recruits! It’s awesome. They look like a great team and I can’t wait to get to know them better.

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