Why did you choose the fire service?
I understand this might sound like a cliché, but I felt like the fire service chose me. Since I was a kid, I have always wanted to be a firefighter. I grew up playing sports and I enjoy helping people out with anything I am able to provide my assistance with. Everything about the fire service was so exhilarating and I just wanted to join as I learned more about the fire service.
Please share your professional journey prior to and since joining Richmond Fire-Rescue.
I had previously worked for a construction company as a site laborer during my high school summer and after high school as well. The reason why I worked in construction is because I had learned from other firefighters and officers that it was a great asset to learn how to use tools and to do an extensive labor job, because they have similar job descriptions.
I had then started a plumbing apprenticeship where, again, I was steered into that direction because it seemed that previous firefighters came from a trade background. I had chosen that because it could help me in general with life and being able to use it all around. While I was working as a plumber for a year, my company also had a sub division of fire protection sprinkler-fitting.
So I thought to myself: I would learn more and finish my apprenticeship in this trade because it went hand in hand with firefighting. I had also then started to work on certificates and licenses I needed to have in order to apply, which included First Aid, Class 3, and completing my 1001 through fire school. I had completed multiple courses, such has construction management as a Foreman, incident command, special rescues, search and rescue and fire extinguisher training. Additionally, I have volunteered a lot with sports such as soccer, and many community organizations, such as First Aid and other special disabilities programs which provided me with lots of training that I have transferred over to firefighting.
How would you define your current role with Richmond Fire-Rescue?
As of now, I have started my 4th year as a firefighter which makes me First Class. My duty and responsibilities are the same as any other firefighter. I am currently just starting my EVO (Emergency Vehicle Operations) program and that is something very new to me, but at the same time, nerve racking and exciting. You are becoming a driver and it is a very serious task, because you are the sole person in charge of getting your captain and crew to the scene safely. Also, everything on the truck is basically under your supervision! Not only that, if you have never driven a fire truck before, it is something you have to put in the time to make sure you are great at it.
Of course there will be mistakes, but without mistakes, I would have never learned to be a better driver/firefighter for it. I love this new journey I am on, and I cannot wait for more exciting challenges and obstacles that are thrown my way, because there is that sense of accomplishment that comes with it. But before I got there, the biggest hurdle I had to complete would be my probation. It was a one-year process and during probation you are put to the test, physically, mentally and emotionally. There are a series of tasks and functions you must complete as well as theory exams and practical exams. At times it can be very stressful because you are expected to do well and if things are not going well, it could result in termination of your probation. So completing that one year requires lots of hard work, support and guidance from other firefighters, as well as family and friends.
But at the end of the day, what you put into it is exactly what you get out of it. I am someone who wants to do the best I can with everything I can, because I believe that good enough isn’t good enough if it can be better and better isn’t good enough if it can be best. So with that in mind, I put the work in and completed my probation and it was a great feeling, and a great sense of achievement.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I like the teamwork that exists in the fire service. Everyone works together toward a common goal. And we all just want to be the best we can be and provide the best service possible any which way.
Do you have a happy experience from your career, or a defining life experience?
As firefighters we do a lot of volunteering –– and during one of my first few events, I remember a little boy coming up to me with his parents saying that he wanted to grow up one day and be a firefighter like me. It was a humbling experience knowing we can make a difference in someone’s life and be a role model.
What does life outside of work look like for you?
I am a big sports fan –– it’s one of the reasons why I enjoy this job. I like to stay active and play any sport I can get my hands on. I can also solve a Rubix cube!
What is your favourite thing about Richmond?
Steveston Village. It is a great little historic area and I used to come here when I was a kid and get its famous ice cream!