Meet our Members: Rick Shelton
Rick Shelton, encouraged by friends who were already members of Comox Fire Department, joined in 1983. Over the following 33 years he has worked as a Volunteer Firefighter, a paid on call Lieutenant, Captain, and Training officer. In 2000 he was hired on full time as Assistant Chief of Operations and Training. The never ending task of training, along with duties such as equipment and vehicle maintenance, soon morphed into instruction and management of the Comox Fire Training Center. At the same time, Rick joined into a partnership with The Justice Institute of BC as an adjunct instructor of Fire Service Instructor, Emergency Scene Management and Live Fire programs. Rick is also enrolled in the JIBC Fire Officer Certificate program, and is nearing completion of Level 4. He also had the opportunity in 2010 to serve as a Fire/Rescue Team Leader at the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver/Whistler.
CFR: Was there any specific event that first interested you in becoming a fire fighter?
Previously to working at Comox Fire Rescue, I owned and operated a Chimney Installation and maintenance Company and had watched the Fire Department at several chimney and structure fires. It got me thinking that both parties could benefit from me joining up. I was an expert on chimneys, and was self employed and able to respond often.
CFR: What is your favourite part of working at Comox Fire Rescue (or working in the valley in general)?
The members and people involved with the organization. The job never gets tired, as management is always looking to the future and ways to make intelligent and innovative changes to better the organization and the fire service as a whole. Also, working with the Comox Fire Training Center has been very rewarding, as we strive to provide high level, cost effective certified training to firefighters from BC, Alberta and beyond.
CFR: Outside of the fire department, what are your interests/hobbies?
Travelling the world with my wife Debbie and our backpacks has been an enlightening experience since being convinced to follow this mode of travel by good friends. Experiencing different lands, cultures and their people have given us a different view on life, and the realization of just how lucky we are to work and live here in the Comox Valley. Fishing is another of my passions, I love being out on the water wherever we may be.
CFR: What are some major changes you have seen in the fire service industry during your career?
The initiation of training standards, and embracing an environment of safety as the top priority for our members.
CFR: If you could change one thing about the fire service, what would it be?
The relationships between Career and Volunteer/POC departments and personnel. While significant progress has been made over the last decade, old school thinking and teachings are still prevalent. We must continue to work toward a complete brother/sisterhood in our vocation and should be setting of how working together makes us stronger.
Thanks very much to Assistant Chief Shelton for his years of dedicated service to the town of Comox!