FireSmart Education a new focus for former Fire Chief

Newly appointed FireSmart educator for the Robson Valley, David Hruby. /ANDREA ARNOLD

By Andrea Arnold

On May 7, 2024, Dave Hruby put on a new hat for the summer, Fire and Public Safety Educator through the Regional District of Fraser Fort George.

Formerly Fire Chief for the McBride District Fire Department, Hruby hung up his chief hat in November 2023, and is looking forward to this new role.

“The Regional District  is thrilled to have Dave Hruby join our team,” said Kenna Jonkman, General Manager of Community and Development Services.  “A Fire & Public Safety Educator develops and delivers fire prevention and emergency preparedness outreach programs.”

Jonkman said that the goal of Hruby’s new role is to provide information through FireSmart presentations and programs and to foster commitment to individual, family and community preparedness actions.

“Dave brings a wealth of knowledge to the role,” she said.

Hruby has only been retired from his long-standing role as fire chief for less than half a year. 

When this position became available he jumped at the opportunity to take on a meaningful role to help educate the communities across the Robson Valley in FireSmart practices. Although he has been involved in fire fighting for most of his life Hruby admits that when it came time to do the training, and assess his own property, he was surprised that there were several areas that needed addressing.

“It was a humbling experience,” he said. “I had thought our home and property was mostly Fire Smarted, so when I found deficiencies while doing the assessment, I was shocked.”

Hruby says he will not be doing FireSmart assessments, but he is available, through the Regional District, to visit properties and provide home owners tips or awareness on ways to improve their home’s resiliency to a wildfire. 

He plans to set up tables and displays at any community events he can, including but not limited to Farmers Markets, and hopes to get into the schools to talk to students. 

“I am thrilled to see the McBride District Fire Department’s wildfire sprinkler system initiative is in full swing,” he said. “It is more important than ever for people to think proactively about the safety of their homes.”

Hruby remembers seeing first hand some of the devastation left behind by the McLure/Barriere Fire of 2003. 

“Last May, when I saw the flames take off up the mountain towards McBride, my heart did more than just a little pitter patter,” he said. “It was scary. I didn’t want to see McBride experience the same fate that I saw in 2003.” 

This summer the role of FireSmart Educator and the whole program is being treated as a trial. It remains to be seen if the position will continue past October 2024.

Hruby can provide FireSmart presentations at the community level by request. 

In order to book Hruby to make a presentation, or to have him come have a look around your property please contact the Regional District at (250) 960-4400 to make arrangements.