Fire Fighting in Canada

Successful FCABC show gathers B.C. chiefs in Penticton

June 14, 2023 
By Laura Aiken

The beautiful view from Penticton Lakeside Resort.

June 14, 2023, Penticton, B.C. — Sunshine and the sparkling Okanagan Lake played inviting hosts to the Fire Chiefs’ Association of British Columbia’s Annual Conference and Education Summit from June 4-8. Over 500 delegates and more than 300 trade reps gathered in Penticton, part of B.C.’s Okanagan Valley and its wine country and desert-like landscape. All in all, 915 were registered for the event, an all-time high for the show, reported the association.

A touch of vintage at registration

The BC Fire Expo, held over the first two days, took place at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. In total 178 booths displayed a variety of equipment, services and of course, apparatus, under blue skies in the lot. Rosenbauer had its electric fire truck on hand and was taking attendees out for tours. This editor was lucky enough to score a ride and can attest that the apparatus’ crab walking diagonally and ability to do something akin to “doughnuts” on what feels like a single axis on a narrow street are rather impressive. The truck has a unique feel to the standard North American style and multiple cameras and screens for the driver to man the road with.

Rosenbauer electric truck’s pump in action

Inside the cab of Rosenbauer’s electric truck

Inside the expo, there was plenty of room to network, eat and drink between booth visits via two main lounge areas plus multiple standing tables throughout.


The opening ceremony and annual banquet followed the end of the expo and took place at the Penticton Lakeside Resort, where the educational summit was also held. The 6:00 p.m. ceremony honoured the passing of (Ret.) Fire Chief Lance Caven of Langford, (Ret.) Fire Chief John (Owen) Webb of North Cowichan, (Ret.) Fire Chief Ted Eeftink of Ucluelet, (Ret.) Fire Chief Doug Paton of Gillies Bay, (Ret.) Fire Chief Dick Stanton of Chemainus, (Ret.) Fire Chief Dave Rittberg of Britannia Beach, (Ret.) Deputy Fire Chief Ernie Clayton of Kersley, (Ret.) Fire Commissioner Rick Dumala, and all of the firefighters who died in the line of duty in the past year.

Vancouver’s Fire Chief, Karen Fry, did an excellent job bringing humour to her role as emcee for the banquet and awards ceremony, providing several well-received and good-natured “roasts” that facilitated plenty of laughs. Four awards and distinctions were bestowed. The President’s Award went to Dave Mitchell of Dave Mitchell & Associates, a B.C. company that provides consulting services in all facets of fire operations. Two recently retired fire chiefs, Steve Gamble of Langley and Arjuna George of Salt Spring Island, were given honourary lifetime memberships.

Tom DeSorcy, the recently retired fire chief from Hope, B.C., and long-time conference chair, received the Meritorious Achievement Award.

“You don’t join an organization for recognition, but when you get it, it means so much more as it comes from your peers. I am humbled and honoured to have received this award and I look forward to continued service to the association as a retired member,” he said.

Although DeSorcy is no longer the conference chair, he is still involved with the committee alongside his new role as part of the BC Chiefs’ new Peer Support Team.

Dan Derby presents Tom DeSorcy with his Meritorious Achievement Award.

The educational summit kicked off with a keynote from retired CFL player Angus Reid on “what it really takes to achieve sustainable success”, which was delivered to a packed house with standing room only. The remaining educational agenda, which was thoughtfully curated to bring a variety of material to attendees, covered subjects such as establishing trust in the team, “combat” leadership principles from a U.S. Navy Seal, the Lytton Fire and opportunities for wildland-urban fire disaster prevention, psychological injury management, performance evaluation of service delivery, FireSmart BC, BC Wildfire Service update, credentialing, creating opportunities for females, mastering stress, structural collapse response, fire underwriters assessments, energy storage systems, being deployed to an earthquake, fire safety near power lines, reducing cancer risk, improving recruiting and retention through culture change, and thriving after job loss or retirement.

Delegates also enjoyed a Hawaiian theme night.

The next FCABC Annual Conference and Education Summit will be kicking off in Kamloops on June 1, 2024.


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