New Chief for Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Station – 100 Mile House Free Press

The Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Department has a new chief to lead the ranks.

Michelle Meeker, who has been deputy chief of the VFD for just over three years, was named the new chief last week. Meeker takes the reins from Shannon Wagner who led the volunteer brigade for three years.

“Shannon and I have been a pretty good team for the last three years, so I don’t see it as being very different,” Meeker told the Free press.

With a long career in firefighting and fire prevention under his belt, Meeker brings a wealth of knowledge to the job of a fire chief.

She first volunteered for Mission Fire Rescue in 1995, where she worked her way up to District Leader at Hall 2 in Stave Falls.

“During this period I also started my career as a fire inspector and finished my career as a fire prevention officer before retiring in 2018,” Meeker said.

READ MORE: FIREFIGHT 2021: “Truly admirable” local firefighters: Wagner

Moving to the southern Cariboo that same year offered Meeker an opportunity to return to firefighting at the volunteer level, something she said she missed in the last years of her Mission career.

“Returning to the volunteer ranks was the best thing,” she said. “These are your neighbours, this is your community. You end up being a small, tight-knit team.

Meeker said she will continue to focus her efforts on raising FireSmart awareness throughout the community, especially after witnessing firsthand the risk of wildfires in the southern Cariboo last summer.

Promoting the use of working smoke detectors and the importance of homeowners cleaning gutters and yards, and keeping trees and other materials away from their homes are some of the key messages Meeker will continue to promote.

The Volunteer Fire Department is always looking for new recruits, Meeker said, especially since spring and summer are coming and current members may be out of town on vacation.

“There are so many ways people can help, they don’t have to be hanging on a pipe,” she explained. “We need drivers and maintenance work on our tools. There are many ways people can help.

Weekly workouts take place on Tuesdays at 7pm in Hall 1 (at Forest Grove) and anyone interested is welcome to check it out.

“It can be a bit daunting, but if they can come and get to know a few people, that usually helps.”

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