If you’ve taken a fire safety course during the last three years in Kelowna, you might recognize Rick Euper.
The Kelowna Fire Department’s fire and life safety educator, Rick is out in the community nearly every day of the week, teaching people how to deal with fires in the work-place or in schools and bringing a safety message to the community at large.
By the end of this school year, Rick and his crew in the fire prevention branch, will visit and talk to every kid in kindergarten to Grade 3 in Kelowna, some 4,700 young students, bringing them the message of fire safety.
“I think it’s really good,” he says. “I talk to everyone from pre-school to the elderly. We cover all ages. We do a lot of high schools. High school cooking, science and shop classes.”
Since joining the Kelowna Fire Department six years ago, Rick advanced into the organization’s education role, something that before he took over, wasn’t a part of the weekly routine but was being done on more of an ad-hoc basis.
But Rick took the ball and ran, developing programs for kids as young as pre-school all the way up to seniors living in assisted living residences.
The KFD hosted Central Okanagan students this past summer, introducing them to what it takes to be a firefighter, among several other programs he’s involved in.
In 2013 his department began systematically visiting mobile home parks asking if people had proper smoke alarms installed and since then, the program has grown to include different neighbourhoods of Kelowna as firefighters go door to door with their safety message.
“We’re reminding people to make sure you have a working smoke alarm, get a meeting spot for your family,” he says. “We’re trying to hit all the neighbourhoods, especially ones that are over 10 years old.”
Rick is also a determined volunteer for the Kelowna Professional Firefighters Charitable Society and has chaired many events. The society raises funds of community groups and causes as well as the BC Professional Firefighters Burn Fund, of which Rick is the Kelowna representative.
“Rick is the first to volunteer his time for charity and community events and his passion for this work is seen every day on the job,” added fire prevention officer Rayanne Pacholzuk.