Volunteer firefighter Lane Skead.  (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)

There is no ‘too old or young’ with the Keremeos Fire Department

The volunteer department is made up of members of a wide range of ages

Fighting fires at age 76 and age 21 shows that if there is a will there is a way to helping keep your community safe.

Age is no barrier for two of Keremeos Fire Department’s volunteer crew.

Between Lane Skead, turning 76 this week, and Carolina Gomes, 21, they hit that approach from both ends.

Skead started volunteering with the fire department after he retired and moved to Keremeos. He came into it with experience with the rescue crew on his shifts at the Syncrude mine.

“I can do anything here, just not so long or not so fast as some of the others,” said Skead. “Retirement is good for some people, but not for me.”

When he’s not on a call, Skead also works on various odd jobs and other repairs and projects around the fire hall during his day.

“You feel useful, and you’re giving back to the community,” said Skead.

“It’s an important job.”

For Gomes, she’s coming up on her second year with the department.

She also joined as a way to give back to a community filled with people who had helped her over the years.

She chose to give back with firefighting for a number of reasons, including the challenge of it.

“Just because people told me I couldn’t do it, because people told me I was too young, too weak, too female, all that kinda good stuff,” said Gomes.

There’s adrenaline, fear, and fun that she finds in fighting the fires, but it’s the people at the department that Gomes enjoys being around most.

“You get to know everyone really well and make a lot of friendships here,” said Gomes.

Outside of volunteering with the department, Gomes is looking to continue giving back to the community when she returns to school to be trained as a nurse.

For volunteer firefighters, once the call comes in, they drop what they’re doing and get to the scene.

Neither have specific roles on the fires, but with their training sometimes they work together on the bigger fires to ensure that the crews’ air-packs are refilled.

The department has had plenty of calls this year, in what fire chief Jordy Bosscha had previously described as their busiest yet.

Without the dedicated volunteers that make up the department, it’s hard to imagine what the community would be like, Bosscha added.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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