Bright Light Interview with Gilbert Vickers Jr.

Name: Gilbert Vickers Jr. (23 years old)

Community/Fire Department: Saik’uz First Nation

Interviewed by Liz Wilson on October 30, 2019

Each year, FNESS organizes the Safety Expo and the Provincial Firefighters Competition. At the 35th Annual Provincial Firefighting Competition in June 2019, Saik’uz First Nation won the BC championship. Their win at this event qualified the team to attend the National Firefighting Competition in August 2019.  This annual event is organized by Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada (AFAC). The Saik’uz First Nation team placed fourth overall at the national competition, hosted by Eskasoni First Nation in Nova Scotia.

Gilbert Vickers Jr. was one of the firefighters who represented Saik’uz First Nation this summer. Inspired by his own father, Fire Chief Gilbert Vickers Sr, Gilbert Jr. joined the Saik’uz Fire Department in January 2019. The Saik’uz fire fighters practiced about three times a week in preparation for the competition. Gilbert Jr. attributed their success to their compatibility as teammates. “Attending practices nights has been really good. Our crew gets along really well, and I like that teamwork is a big part of firefighting.”

Gilbert Jr. said that practicing for the competition has made him feel more comfortable and prepared to face fire incidents in his own community. The opportunity to travel for competitions was unique for Gilbert Jr, and he stated how much he enjoyed seeing teams compete from all across Canada. Gilbert Jr. works on FireSmart and fuel management projects such as bush clearing within his home community of Saik’uz First Nation. FNESS is very excited for next year’s competition and we hope to see Saik’uz First Nation and Gilbert Jr. competing again.

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The Saik’uz First Nation firefighting competition team. Gilbert Vickers Jr is second from the right, holding the trophy.

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Gilbert Vickers Jr representing Saik’uz First Nation in the 35th annual BC Firefighters Provincial Competition.