Like many service clubs and community groups, rural fire halls in the Shuswap are finding it an ongoing challenge to recruit and retain members.
The situation has the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) turning to the public for answers.
They’ve launched a public survey in the hopes that resident feedback will make it easier to attract new firefighters.
“Sometimes we think because we are involved in this that we have all the answers and sometimes we don’t,” said Tracy Hughes, the CSRD’s communications coordinator.
“That’s we want to go out and talk to the people in these communities and find out what exactly might be holding them back. Are there barriers that we are just not aware of?”
Among other questions, the survey asks if residents would want better financial compensation to become a firefighter, or if worries about their personal safety might be holding them back.
The survey is an effort to be proactive. The regional district says its 13 rural fire departments are not seeing critically low staffing levels.
“They are at minimum staffing at least and many are very, very strong,” said the regional district’s fire services coordinator Sean Coubrough.
The survey can be accessed here.