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Columbia Shuswap Regional District to add deputy fire chief

Addition intended to alleviate demands on current deputy regional fire chief
Sean Coubrough, CSRD deputy regional fire chief, stands in front of the remains of the Scotch Creek/Lee Creek fire hall after the Bush Creek East wildfire burned through the community. The regional district wants to hire another deputy regional fire chief. (File photo)

By Barb Brouwer


Help is on the horizon.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District board has authorized the reclassification of an assistant regional fire chief position to deputy regional fire chief in order to attract a highly qualified individual to CSRD’s Protective Services.

During the budget deliberations for the 2023 budget year, the board approved funding for the position of assistant regional fire chief (ARFC), pointed out Derek Sutherland, acting general manager, community and protective services in a Nov. 3 report to the board.

A competition was initiated in September 2023 but staff did not receive the number of submissions from qualified applicants that would typically be expected from a competition of this nature, Sutherland pointed out. Potential candidates, advised that the compensation was below market for those that would have been interested and qualified for the assistant regional fire chief position.

Read more: ‘Nobody died’: Public view aftermath of wildfire that ravaged North Shuswap

Read more: VIEWPOINT: Shuswap deputy fire chief grateful for support during wildfire fight

“Staff have considered the competencies, duties and the level of responsibility associated with the ARFC position along with the needs of the division,” wrote Sutherland in his report, shared at the Nov. 16 CSRD board meeting. “It was determined that a higher-level position of Deputy Regional Fire Chief would be more suitable to meet the needs of the division and the needs of the firefighters serving their communities.”

Since 2015, Sean Coubrough has fulfilled the role of deputy regional fire chief, providing oversight to 13 fire halls and 325 firefighters as compared to the Kamloops Fire Department, which has 169 firefighters on strength.

“Sean has been so good at his position for so long we’ve been able to put this off for too long,” said Sutherland. “Realistically, he has too much on his plate.”

The new deputy regional fire chief will lead training initiatives, but will also take on a larger operational leadership role to alleviate Coubrough’s heavy workload.

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