Brian (Community Relations Officer, Fire-Rescue)
What does a normal day in your role look, sound, and feel like?
I have worked for Richmond Fire-Rescue for 20 years, the first 16 years as a Firefighter on the trucks, and the last four years as the public relations education officer. My job is quite different than the suppression crews. I am responsible for all information flowing through the fire department, including social media, education and news media.
What is your story? How did you get to where you are now?
I graduated from York University in Kinesiology in 1988 but somehow found myself working on-air at a Toronto radio station. I moved out to Vancouver for a radio job and eventually met people who convinced me to apply to the BC Forest Service to work in forest firefighting.
Forest firefighting led me to the Justice Institute (JIBC), where I graduated from the fire academy and applied for full-time firefighting jobs. Richmond Fire-Rescue hired me in August of 2000, and I worked as a suppression firefighter for 16 years until the department created a media position. My previous career in the radio industry made me a natural for the job.
What parts of your work inspire you?
Inspiration in firefighting arises from helping people. It's that simple; every day, every emergency, you can assist people in need. Over a career, it’s remarkably gratifying.
What advice would you give your Grade 9 self?
If firefighting is something you may be interested in, I would take the opportunity to discover what you require to be successful. The information is widely available through the City website, the fire department website, or simply by contacting us directly. The process requires multiple certifications, experience and is extremely competitive.
You never know where life will take you; this wasn't my chosen career path. Still, all of the education and experience I gained before considering a firefighting career was critical in enabling me to be hired. I have never regretted this career choice. Everything you do now has a purpose later on.
Any words of encouragement for today's Grade 9 students?
Never doubt you are capable of becoming a firefighter; if you want it, you can achieve it. Feel free to contact me anytime for advice or information!