CHARLIE LAKE, B.C. – A pair of volunteer firefighters in Charlie Lake are celebrating their Level 2 certifications and becoming fully qualified fire department members.

It takes one and half years to earn both levels of NFPA certification as a professional firefighter. The Charlie Lake department recognized Jess Horsfield and Morgan Rymerson for their hard work by trading in their yellow helmet for a black one.

The two say they’re excited to take on the new challenges and opportunities that come with their certification.

Horsfield already has a history as an emergency responder background, starting her career in 2015 with the Sicamous Fire Department. She’s also worked at Site C as an emergency response advisor, and this summer joined TEAAM Aeromedical as a rescue specialist.

“I enjoy being boots on the ground, and I stepped into the management side of it with my career,” said Horsfield. “So I like all aspects and being able to switch it up.”

“It’s vastly different from what I’ve been doing before. I’ve learned from pretty much everybody at the fire department,” said Rymerson, who was one of a handful of firefighters sent to White Rock Lake to help with wildfires in the province this summer.

“My focus is medical school, and that’s the direction that I’m headed. I work for BC Ambulance, and it’s interesting because the scope of practice is different for ambulance than it is the fire department.”

Charlie Lake Fire Chief Edward Albury said he’s very proud of the two firefighters and glad to see their hard work pay off.

“I’m proud of them for getting it done. Most of the thanks go to Deputy Schildroth. He looks after, I’d say 95 per cent, if not higher, of the 1001 program,” said Albury.