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

The first plan for the city from the new Visitor Services Strategy for Salmon Arm will be to move visitor services to city hall. (File photo)
Salmon Arm to move visitor services to city hall, considers tourism revamp

Consultant’s visitor services strategy points to need for recognition of tourism’s importance

A pair of Okanagan Regional Library reference librarians have created a podcast called Hard Cover that takes a zany but informative look at books, libraries and librarians. (File photo)
Okanagan reference librarians produce quirky podcast

Davin Helkenberg and Peter Critchley are behind Hard Cover

Shuswap Ringette U16 team athletes: Brianna Congdon, Mackenzie Packer, Brooklyn Wright, Sequoia Robinson, Camryn Petty, Alecia Hughes, Kaelah Riley and Kellan Mooney. The team photo was photoshopped together by the team manager in order to maintain physical distancing due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Contributed)
Shuswap Ringette players shine in skills competition

Shuswap Ringette’s U16 squad earns highest scoring team in the province

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Letter: In light of Keystone decision, Trudeau, Kenney fail to deliver real support for workers

Writer says Biden’s cancellation of pipeline more than just a political gesture

Eagle River Secondary Grade 9 student Cody Hutchinson spearheaded the Digital Detox Challenge in which participants will give up their cell phones during school days for two weeks straight. (Contributed)
Sicamous student challenges himself, peers to go nine school days cell phone free

Cody Hutchinson hopes Digital Detox Challenge will give students opportunity to reconnect

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Vernon’s Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
COVID-19: Two more deaths at Vernon’s Noric House

Total deaths climb to 17 at local long-term care outbreaks

A change to the drive thru sign at the Tim Hortons in Summerland came before Summerland council on Jan. 25. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council approves variance for drive-thru sign

Questions raised about why issue was brought to council table

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.
RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Driver crashes vehicle twice in one day near Princeton

A 29-year-old Abbotsford woman twice crashed her car near Princeton on Saturday,… Continue reading

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kamloops hospital grows to 66 cases

A majority of cases remain among staff at Royal Inland Hospital

Most Read