The Interlakes Volunteer Fire Department has discontinued its first responder program due to a lack of volunteers.
Last week in a Facebook post the department said the program has been struggling to get funding and volunteers to keep it running for some time.
“In speaking with the Fire Chief his approach to this is that he needs at least four or five new First Responders to make this program a go.” Michael Navratil, Protective Services Manager for the Cariboo Regional District said, “The one thing that the CRD has done is we have lifted the COVID Mandate so that will hopefully bring back members that were off during the mandate’s time period. We’ve also launched a recruitment campaign to hopefully increase recruits for not just Interlakes but all of our Fire Halls as well.”
The Interlakes Volunteer Fire Department also said in their post that they are not receiving new volunteers to cover the resigning and retiring crews.
Navratil noted there is a definite great need for volunteers.
“It seems like the ability for people to volunteer is dwindling just because I think work is busier, life is busier, and they just don’t have that time to commit to, say, the Fire Departments. If community members give us their time we will provide the training for them and make them an active member of their Fire Department and be a First Responder for members of their community” Navratil said.
First Responders are volunteers who are trained to medically assist people prior to an ambulance arriving and the Interlakes Volunteer Fire Department noted in our area that ambulance may take a while.
The IVFD said “88% of the calls they receive are medical and this year alone we have had 80 First Responder calls. With only 6 or 7 first responder volunteers, it is no longer sustainable. Many of these First Responders are also firefighters who respond to fires and motor vehicle incidents as well.”