Posted by Leigh Hewer on Sep 24, 2019

Calvin Reich introduced his wife Allyson, Lieutenant with Vernon Fire Rescue (VFR). When Allyson was approximately 12 a neighbour suggested that she should look to become a fire fighter as she was tall and athletic. Without any further thought as to becoming a firefighter life continued for Allyson. She eventually moved to Sun Peaks outside of Kamloops to help her parents with their convenience/liquor store and was also working as a ski-instructor; the thought of being a fire fighter was rekindled as a volunteer with the Sun Peaks Fire Service where she received training and experience. In August of 2005 Allyson applied for and was accepted as the 1st female fire fighter for VFR and has risen to the position of Lieutenant and is relief Fire Chief (when the Fire Chief is absent). There is considerable time spent training as each piece of equipment requires 30 hours of operating experience (ladder trucks, engines etc). People are surprised when they see a woman driving the ladder truck!! In addition to firefighting, VFR is 1st responder for motor vehicle accidents and medical assistance and are often at the scene prior to the ambulance which may be delayed. As a Lieutenant, Allyson is in charge of the truck and rides in front right seat. Vernon Fire Rescue covers a large geographic area and also assists on responses to Falkland as necessary. Fire Hall 1 is across from Vernon City Hall, Fire Hall 2 is the Okanagan Landing Hall and the Predator Ridge location is an Auxiliary Hall handled by Auxiliary Staff (in conjunction with Hall 1). VFR has 28 fulltime firefighters and are supported by 25 paid auxiliary members. Public buildings are set up with a lock box with VFS for emergency access. Allyson challenged SSR members to check their smoke detectors and reminded us that “the most important factor in fire prevention is YOU”.