Volunteer fire fighters shortage could mean huge insurance rate hike

Huge increase in fire insurance rates on the horizon unless more residents step up to become volunteer fire fighters, according to chief in Grand Forks, B.C.
The picturesque Grand Forks valley. (www.grandforks.ca)

Residents in a community north of Grand Forks, B.C., could be facing a big hike in fire insurance rates unless more volunteers fire fighters step forward.

Grand Forks Fire chief Dale Heriot says the North Fork area needs at least 10 volunteer fire fighters, but currently there are only three. 

"'If we don't succeed in getting the ten volunteers, fire insurance rates will probably more than double," said Heriot. "We need some people in the area to step up for sure."

North Fork is chain of picturesque farms and acreages strung along the Granby River. It has its own fire hall which is a satellite of the larger Grand Forks fire hall, but without a basic level of staffing insurance underwriters say rates will have to increase.

Heriot says attracting volunteer firefighters is a problem in rural areas across Canada.

The Grand Forks area was under an extreme wild fire threat this past summer. when the gigantic Stickpin fire in north-central Washington State started creeping north.

With files from Bob Keating

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