Firefighter Mike Thoms, a 13-year veteran of the Swansea Point Fire Department, was the 150th active firefighter at a Columbia Shuswap Regional District department to become fully certified to the B.C. professional standard. (CSRD photo)

Firefighter Mike Thoms, a 13-year veteran of the Swansea Point Fire Department, was the 150th active firefighter at a Columbia Shuswap Regional District department to become fully certified to the B.C. professional standard. (CSRD photo)

78-year-old veteran firefighter is 150th fully certified in Columbia-Shuswap region

Mike Thoms has been with the Swansea Point Fire Department for 13 years

A goal for Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) set at the start of 2020 to increase the number of firefighters in the region who are fully certified began to falter due to a challenging year. However, hard work, most notably from a 78-year-old volunteer, helped reach that goal.

Last January the regional district set out to increase to 150 the number of volunteer firefighters at the 13 departments who are fully certified to the B.C. professional standard.

The goal proved challenging as COVID-19 shut down training opportunities. However, first with Zoom and then with in-person sessions later in the year, numerous firefighters completed the book work and hands-on training required.

Read More: Spike belt grounds Shuswap vehicle veering into oncoming lanes on Highway 1

Read More: Woman files lawsuit related to 2019 police takedown in Sicamous

With the last days of December ticking away, 78-year-old volunteer firefighter and 13-year veteran of the Swansea Point Fire Department, Mike Thoms, upgraded his training.

Thoms joined the department after moving to Swansea Point for his retirement 13 years ago.

“We made a new home here and I wanted to give something back. No use just sitting around wasting my time. If the fire department figured I was good enough for them at my age, then why not become a firefighter?” he said.

During his time with the department, Thoms has been slowly working his way through the training courses, including the physically demanding live fire exterior training module.

According to the regional district, Thoms pioneered the role of rehab officer at the CSRD, monitoring the health and safety of firefighters when they are battling blazes. He was trained by Sicamous paramedics to monitor vital signs and blood pressure, and has gone on to help train rehab officers for other departments.

Read More: KIJHL postpones regular season until Feb. 5

Read More: Video: Shuswap Watershed Council shows off success of nutrient management projects

Thoms said he loves his role with the fire department and plans to do it for as long as he is able.

All CSRD fire departments are recruiting paid on-call firefighters and welcome all inquiries. Those who want more information can contact Sean Coubrough, CSRD fire services coordinator, at 250-833-5955 or visit the CSRD website page at www.csrd.bc.ca/FirefighterRecruiting.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

fire

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Missy MacKintosh, founder of MisMacK Clean Cosmetics, smiles broadly beneath her mask as she is thrilled to have opened her new storefront location at 231 Alexander St. in Salmon Arm on April 10, 2021. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Downtown Salmon Arm store ‘a dream come true’ for clean cosmetics owner

Missy MacKintosh’s MisMack Clean Cosmetics moves from home basement to storefront

In a feature article published April 10, 2021 in The Times of London, ‘headlined British Columbia has what it takes to rival Napa Valley,’ the valley is praised extensively for its natural beauty and wine. (File photo)
From the U.K. with love: Okanagan wine, scenery receives international praise

The Times of London newspaper recently featured the valley in a wine and travel piece

The future of the Eagle Pass Lookout cabin is being discussed. (File photo)
Options presented for future of former Eagle Pass fire lookout in Shuswap

Stakeholders met in 2020 to discuss the restoration, or possible removal of the cabin

FILE — In this March 31, 2021 file photo, a nurse fills a syringe with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine at the Vaxmobile, at the Uniondale Hempstead Senior Center, in Uniondale, N.Y. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
72 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases in the region to 9,666 since the pandemic began

The Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society will be expanding its offerings to seniors this year and hopes to return its Cyber Seniors program when one-to-one training is once again allowed. (Photo contributed)
Shuswap organization aims to help seniors become more cyber savvy

BC Hydro report finds seniors reluctant to use

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Marylou Jensen. (Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP searching for missing senior

Marylou Jensen left her Grenfell Road home on foot at 5 p.m.

A dumpster was on fire behind a residential complex in downtown Penticton Tuesday afternoon. (Brennan Phillips Western News)
Dumpster fire extinguished in downtown Penticton

There has been a string of dumpster fires lately

Skogie’s Express Tunnel Wash on Anderson Way in Vernon. (Submitted photo)
Lawsuit dismissed after vehicle damaged while inside Okanagan car wash

Civil Resolution Tribunal dismisses driver’s claim following a collision inside Skogie’s car wash in Vernon

(Mayor Cindy Fortin - Peachland)
Peachland mayor declines early vaccination offer

Mayor Cindy Fortin said she wants seniors, immunocompromised individuals to get the shot first

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Feb. 23, 2021. (Kamloops This Week photo)
Clothing that ‘detracts from learning process’ removed from SD73 student dress code

Policy change underway after student in knee-length dress, long-sleeve turtleneck sent home

Conservation officers caught three men over fishing bull trout in Kinbasket Lake. (Facebook)
B.C. men fined $1.7K for overfishing near Revelstoke, Golden

The seized fish were donated to the Golden Food Bank

A shop up on Grand Oro Road near Twin Lakes burned down on Monday. (Facebook)
Fire rips through shop in small South Okanagan town

The building was destroyed despite community efforts to fight the fire

Most Read