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New Sicamous fire chief rolls out big plans, shares interest in road rescue

De Arcangelis focused on stragegic plan, recruitment, emergency response
New fire Chief Lorenzo De Arcangelis provided Sicamous council with an update at a May 8 meeting, outlining what he’s done in his month with the department, as well as future initiatives he’s pursuing. (Sicamous Fire Dept.-Facebook)

Just under a month on the job, new Sicamous Fire Chief Lorenzo De Arcangelis has hit the ground running with big plans for the department.

In a report at the May 8 Committee of the Whole meeting, De Arcangelis updated council on what he has been, and will be, working on. The biggest thing has been creating a strategic plan to be implemented for 2025 to 2030, this year looking at the standards, a risk analysis, programs and services and the resources to get to where he wants the department to be.

“The baseline for the strategic plan is going to be what the needs are in the community… and the HRVA, the Hazard Risk and Vulnerability Analysis,” he explained. “What I mentioned in the past is, right now, one event put us in a tight spot for emergency response. Two will really put us in a dangerous spot. Because we’re so unique here with the rail and forestry and the highway… we really have to have a hard look at what that looks like for emergency services.”

De Arcangelis added that he’s also been focused on recruitment, with five or six applicants that week alone, though he added “I can never have enough firefighters.” He also mentioned that he’s had a really good response since changing the command structure so “it’s very clear and identified.”

“What I’m focusing on is my leadership core for the fire department. I need that so we have a good succession plan in the future.”

Feedback has been positive, he added, with members stepping up to pursue further training and looking forward to being appointed to those leadership roles.

Coun. Siobhan Rich asked about updates on the previously discussed option of amalgamating the Eagle Valley Rescue Society with the fire department, which De Arcangelis was open to.

“We would love to take it on, I’d welcome it, it’s something that I’m very familiar with and have experience in. Our firefighters are willing and ready to take it on… however, there’s two parts to this.”

He explained that if they start taking on motor vehicle incidents (MVIs), without first responder training they can only stabilize a vehicle and hold it until paramedics arrive. While the fire department is willing to take it on, it would have to be done with first responder training and the department would become Fire Rescue Services.

“So having said that, that is going to double our call volume and now we have to look at staffing. Now we have to look at making sure we have the checks and balances when we take that service on,” De Arcangelis pointed out.

De Arcangelis said he’s already confirmed with local agencies that they can provide the necessary training to start the amalgamation process whenever they’re ready. He also outlined plans that would open the department to more community involvement.

“Some of the members have expressed, and I’ve put it out there, that we’d like to have some circuit training there available to everyone at different levels,” he said of putting it in the department parking lot, where stations would be set up for people to skip rope, push tires and other small stuff “just to be visible in the community.”

“And it’s good for… mental health, it’s good for physical health, it’s good for everything. So look for that, we’ll be sharing some of those dates, and we offer it to everybody.”

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