Captain, Fire Investigations & Special Hazards
Why did you choose the fire service?
I have always had an instinctive ability to provide help during any emergency situation. Prior to being a member of Richmond Fire-Rescue, I took an interest at a young age in public safety and First Aid, which led me to the business of firefighting. The call for help resonates deeply with me, through both successful and challenging experiences in my life. With a family history of military service, I made the decision to pursue a career in the fire service, helping my community close to home, in the City of Richmond.
Please share your professional journey prior to and since joining Richmond Fire-Rescue.
As a member of Richmond Fire-Rescue since August 2000, I started my career with Richmond Fire-Rescue as a firefighter, where I was also a member of the Technical Rescue team, which included High Angle Rescue, Hazardous Materials response, and Confined Space Rescue. In 2008, I made the decision to challenge myself in another key area of Richmond Fire-Rescue, the Fire Prevention Branch, where I served as a Fire Prevention Officer, and then frequently as an Acting Captain. On this path, I have conducted a significant number of both Fire and Life Safety Inspections, and Fire Investigations.
In this profession, I actively engage business owners and stakeholders to promote fire and life safety risk reduction through BC Fire Code, BC Building Code, and Fire Bylaw compliance. I also continue to deliver training on fire prevention programs and records management to fire officers, new recruits, and chiefs. My career allows me to further my development by participating in corporate leadership development opportunities, such as the One Team Initiative.
In the past few years, as the food truck craze has infused events in the City of Richmond, I recognized the need for a Richmond standard of a Mobile Food Vendors inspection process. This process has been proven to be successful and is currently in its fourth year. A ‘mass inspection day’ is a significant part of the inspection process, held annually in April.
Prior to joining Richmond Fire-Rescue, I worked at E-Comm 9-1-1, BC Ambulance Service, and as a Helitack firefighter with the BC Forest Service.
How would you define your current role in Richmond Fire-Rescue?
As the Captain of Fire Investigations and Special Hazards, I ensure that all fires are investigated for Origin and Cause. My team of professional fire investigators responds to small and large scale fire events where public and community safety are the priority. When the need arises for additional resources, the investigators work closely with multiple agencies, including Emergency Programs, Richmond RCMP, Vancouver Coastal Health, Canadian Coast Guard, and BC Ambulance Service.
One of the most important roles of the fire investigator is to safeguard the victims of the fire, by assisting with insurance claims and providing information on the investigation process. The investigations’ findings are submitted to the Office of the Fire Commissioner, and there is an educational component shared with the property owner at the conclusion of the investigation.
For any construction on Sea Island, where the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is located, I review and discuss development plans with key stakeholders to ensure that Richmond Fire-Rescue crews responding to YVR can easily access all areas without delay, while being kept safe during any engagement with fire or medical situations. This includes clear and visible addressing, fire department access, available water supply, and the ability to exit any building in any situation.
As the Captain of Fire Investigations and Special Hazards, I also review all Fireworks Display and Pyrotechnics applications. Fireworks display permits are required for any City-sponsored events (July 1st, Halloween), and private events (Chinese New Year, weddings, religious occasions). Pyrotechnics permits are required when filming movies or TV shows take place in the City of Richmond. I enjoy working closely with fireworks supervisors and pyrotechnicians to ensure the safety of the people involved, the community, and the environment when processing these permit applications.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I feel quite connected to the community, as a resident and as a member of Richmond Fire-Rescue. The relationships and networking which I have established over the two decades of my career are significant to me, and making these connections is essential in the City’s commitment to fire prevention and life safety, and Richmond Fire-Rescue’s core values.
Do you have a defining life experience from your career?
Mitigating the trauma people experience when they call for help has always been a vital aspect to me as a member of Richmond Fire-Rescue. I take the time to ensure that victims of any incident are aware of the resources available and next steps taken, to help provide a sense of order during any loss.
What does life look like outside of work for you?
Off the job, I am a proud and dedicated father, and also enjoyed the short time training my dog towards Search and Rescue certification. I am also a DJ, Drone Pilot, and hold licenses as a Pyrotechnician and Fireworks Display Assistant. I volunteer my time for the Richmond Firefighters Associations’ Charitable Society and fundraising events.
What is your favourite thing about Richmond?
How unique this island city is; with an international airport, world-class dining choices representing the City’s multi-cultural demographic, and that fact that Richmond is headquarters for some major brands and film studios.