Kelsey Gorgichuk stands next to one of Hall 2’s fire trucks on Friday, Sept. 20. (Cameron Thomson/Salmon Arm Observer)

City’s only female firefighter feels at home with Salmon Arm crew

Apprentice machinist Kelsey Gorgichuk joined department to give back to community

Kelsey Gorgichuk may be the only female firefighter in Salmon Arm but she feels right at home.

Gorgichuk has been volunteering with the Salmon Arm Fire Department’s Hall 2 near the Shuswap Middle School since July of this year. She splits her time between the hall and working as an apprentice machinist at Custom Cut Machine Inc. in Salmon Arm’s industrial park. She joined the fire department as she saw it as a way to give back to the community.

Read more: Salmon Arm firefighters put their skills to the test

Read more: RCMP, fire department investigating suspicious fire at Penticton bar

Historically, female firefighters have endured a long list of abuses but Gorgichuk said she has experienced nothing of the sort.

“There’s no animosity because I’m a girl or the only girl,” she said. “It’s awesome, I love it. I’ve only been in it for two months and I feel like I’m part of the little community within the department already, it’s very welcoming.”

Even when Gorgichuk was thinking of joining the department, she was far from intimidated by the previously all-male crew.

“I wasn’t worried about it really at all,” she said. “I come from a trades background and that’s just kind of what my world is, working around men.”

Read more: Salmon Arm Fire Department opens ranks to junior firefighters

Read more: Salmon Arm firefighters pay tribute to lives lost in 9-11

Gorgichuk, who starts her technical training in January, recommends joining the department to anybody and said the group is supportive and welcoming.

While the profession is one that historically has been male-dominated, Sean Coubrough, Fire Services Coordinator for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, says halls are working hard to reverse this.

“We have many, many women in our fire departments for the 13 that I oversee,” Coubrough said. “Tappen is almost 50/50 I think. We have a lot of women in our ranks.”

Read more: Kelowna firefighters climb 110 storeys in full gear to honour 9-11 victims

Read more: Shuswap firefighters extinguish blaze at Notch Hill home

Brad Shirley, Fire Chief for the Salmon Arm Fire Department, said that Gorgichuk is not the first female to join and that she seems excited about going through the program. When comparing the number of female firefighters in Tappen to Salmon Arm, Shirley is unsure as to why the disparity exists.

“I don’t know why we only have one, it’s hard to know. Certainly they are as welcome as the males are,” Shirley said. “They are as much of a team player and part of the team as much as all our members are.”

Shirley recalls the department has had at least three female firefighters in the past – they are not with the department anymore as most moved away.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Salmon Arm students given chance to question candidates

More than 500 kids from Grades 4 to 8 attend all-candidates forum at Shuswap Middle School

Salmon Arm RCMP investigate child porn cases involving four or five suspects

Local police work in concert with Integrated Child Exploitation Team

Shaw Centre told to upgrade ice chilling system in 2020 or face closure

Fatal ammonia leak in Fernie prompts Technical Safety BC to order 20-year-old chillers replacement

Interior Health approves reopening of Sicamous elementary school

School District #83 intends to have Parkview back in operation as of Nov. 13

Public park shelter proposed in celebration of Salmon Arm volunteer Rob Nash

Salmon Arm council supports plan while family and friends to cover cost of building, materials

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

One year later: Vernon pot stores look back at legalization

Edibles made legal on first anniversary of recreational cannabis

Community Futures Shuswap’s Rob Marshall elected to B.C. board

Salmon Arm resident to take seat at table with Community Futures BC

Letter: Small actions of North Okanagan-Shuswap candidates speak volumes

Writer commends Salmon Arm high school students for helping at all-candidates meeting

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

Great Vernon Pumpkin Race to star in South Korean documentary

Pumpkin Classic event to kick off this weekend with gourd weigh-ins

B.C. RCMP officer suing the force for malicious prosecution

Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth cleared of wrongdoing after misconduct hearing

Okanagan candidates’ signs headed to dump

Dozens of signs were picked up for not complying with bylaws, according to the city

Most Read