Bright Light Interview with Chris Frei

In June 2019, FNESS hosted a Safety Expo and a provincial firefighting competition for Indigenous communities in British Columbia. The participants included youth and adults from across the province, who attended various training, competition, and social events.

The Expo was an amazing opportunity for many Indigenous youth to learn firefighting fundamentals and advanced skills. Chris Frei was one of the youths who attended the Safety Expo this year. Liz Wilson, a FNESS Fire Services Officer, interviewed Chris about his experience with firefighting in his local community of Westbank First Nation.

Chris has been involved with firefighting in his community since his Grade 11 year at Mount Boucherie Secondary School; when he signed up for the FNESS Fire Prevention Boot Camp. This is a two-day program focusing on fire safety and the training/skills required to be a part of the fire service. 

The youth camp was a positive experience for Chris and motivated him to register in the West Kelowna Fire Rescue Firefighting Academy during his Grade 12 year. The Academy includes components of the Justice Institute of British Columbia’'s Basic Firefighting certification course, fundamentals firefighter skills, St. John Basic First Aid, CPR training and live fire training. Additionally, the students did volunteer work for the Student Youth Leadership Camp in Princeton, BC. Although Chris is from Westbank First Nation, he was recruited by the Penticton Indian Band Fire Department for this competition. Chris competed with the Penticton Indian Band team and they were awarded the Most Sportsmanlike Team.

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Chris Frie (2nd from right) 35th Annual BC First Nations’ Firefighter Competition Penticton Indian Band  “Most Sportsmanlike Team”