Nicholson Fire Chief Parker Vaile (centre) accepts an award from Karen Cathcart (left) and Rhona Martin during a local advisory committee meeting on Mar. 9.

Nicholson Fire Chief Parker Vaile (centre) accepts an award from Karen Cathcart (left) and Rhona Martin during a local advisory committee meeting on Mar. 9.

Nicholson Fire Department earns CSRD honour for service

The Nicholson Fire Department is celebrating a win this week after being named the CSRD’s fire department of the year.

The Nicholson Fire Department is celebrating a win this week after being named the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s fire department of the year.

The department was given the nod by Kenn Mount, the regional fire chief, after it was determined that Nicholson had earned high marks in a variety of criteria.

“We use quite a bit of criteria,” Mount said.

“We are always looking at which departments are leading the way with a good fire officer core that shows and promotes good leadership, that shares our corporate visions and values and understands the fire service’s responsibilities.”

Nicholson’s strong showing at regional training, its community service and public education initiatives were also strong factors in the decision.

Nicholson Fire Chief Parker Vaile, who has been the department’s chief since 2013 and remains the youngest in the district, was presented with the honour at a CSRD Area A Advisory Meeting on Mar. 9.

“It’s pretty nice to be recognized for the volunteer time for the whole group…it’s a team award. It’s pretty nice, especially for us being out here in Nicholson, we’re kind of all alone from the rest of the CSRD as far as fire departments are concerned,” Vaile said.

Mount says that, although the award is for the entire department, the honour is a testament to the hard work from its chief over the years.

“A lot of this has to do with (Vaile),” he said.

“He’s really stepped up. I think there was some hesitancy at the start because it’s quite a bit of extra work to be a chief officer…Parker’s really shown an ability to be a natural leader.”

Vaile was adamant in his acknowledgement of his team of volunteer firefighters that made the award a possibility.

“I’m really just quite proud of the (team) and the continued effort they bring to the table all of the time,” Vaile said.

He also made special mention of Tony Bell, the department’s training officer, as having a huge part in Nicholson’s development over the last few years.

“A lot of the way that a fire department functions comes down to training. I may be the leader but I can’t do it without my training officer. I think Tony Bell deserves as much of this credit as I do. He’s been doing such a great job,” Vaile said.

The landscape for Nicholson Fire might look different in the coming years with growing interest from other Area A residents with regards to fire protection.

“A few weeks ago I did a survey on the Campbell/Mitchell road area and got a lot of good feedback from people that are very supportive of having protection. They see the value in it,” Mount said.

There are several steps that need to be taken before fire protection could be implemented, but Mount said that it could happen as early as 2017.

At the same Advisory Meeting where Vaile accepted his award, preliminary results of Area A’s recent survey demonstrated that fire protection was a priority for many residents.