Jessica Knowles is Lake Cowichan’s first female firefighter. Jessica grew up in this community and — as most young people do — left to pursue life outside of Lake Cowichan.
At 26 years-old, Jessica has moved home, and brought with her, spirit and a desire to play a major role in her home town community.
“I think it’s a good opportunity to learn a lot of things about fire fighting, and do some good for the community,” says Knowles.
Fire chief, Doug Knott says “We are happy about her joining,” and on behalf of the rest of the department would like to welcome Jessica to their team.
“I’m excited for the novelty [of being the first female volunteer firefighter in Lake Cowichan] to wear off.” says Knowles.
Knowles feels that it isn’t a big deal to be a woman doing this. “Anyone can do it, you just need to sacrifice time,” she says.
For many years, firefighting was predominately for males. In recent years, however, there have been more and more female counterparts joining the ranks. This job isn’t an easy one. Firefighters are required to do some pretty intense work.
In April, Knowles will attend what’s called a Live Fire in Nanaimo. This demonstration is specifically for volunteer firefighters and puts them in a real life situation in order to find their weaknesses.
“When you get into a stressful situation, stuffs going to come out,” states Knowles.
Volunteer Firefighters are also required to take educational courses throughout their first two years of volunteering.
Along with volunteering her time, Jessica works full time at King Fisher Homes here in Lake Cowichan, and is also a fitness boot camp instructor (hopeful to be teaching some classes in Duncan at the Aquatic Center this spring).
If you are interested in filling out an application for volunteer fire fighting with Lake Cowichan’s Fire Hall, you can find them online at www.town.lakecowichan.bc.ca.