Bright Light Interview with Brenden Mercer

Brenden Mercer, RFT


Bright Lights for ISC

Interviewed by Liz Wilson in November 2019

Youth engagement in fire prevention is incredibly important to us at FNESS. We provide a variety of youth programs including our Youth Engagement Camps and Fire Prevention School presentations, and we participate in the British Columbia Fire Prevention Week each year. We are also lucky to employ young Indigenous people at FNESS.

Brenden Mercer is one of our amazing staff members in the Forest Fuel Management Department. Brenden is a young Indigenous firefighter who has worked with FNESS for four years. He’s described as a hard worker, incredibly determined, and with a wealth of knowledge.

Brenden has a professional designation as a “Registered Forest Tech” (RFT) through the Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP). He gained this designation by graduating from a forestry accredited college, completing assignments, writing a comprehensive exam, and spending two years articling to gain experience within the industry. Since graduation, Brenden has been working full-time at FNESS as a Forest Fuel Management Liaison.

Brenden got involved in firefighting during his post-secondary education in order to help pay for tuition and living expenses. He had applied to work for the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS), but unfortunately his initial application was denied due to a lack of experience. Brenden then took the training offered at Selkirk College and worked a summer job as a local fire fighting consultant in Nelson, BC. The following year, he re-applied for a position with the BCWS and was accepted and placed in Terrace, BC. 

Brenden believes that failure and rejection is an important part of growing and learning. When asked what life skill he thought was most useful, but commonly overlooked, Brenden answered: “Failure, because it is uncomfortable. But people need to fail at things in order to learn how to succeed. Specifically, we need to learn how to re-group after failure, in order to bounce back and be more successful in the future.”

Brenden believes that setting a goal and actively working towards it can be incredibly helpful for young people wanting to progress in their careers.

Some of Brenden’s favourite memories are of firefighting. Thanks to BCWS, Brenden has worked in British Columbia, Yukon, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. Throughout his career, Brenden has taken advantage of any training offered to him in order to broaden his skill set. He is a strong supporter of education and training and continues to participate in training courses whenever he can. In addition to his full-time job, Brenden is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Environmental Practice at Royal Roads University.

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