Stephanie Whitney

Stephanie Whitney, Fire Chief at Winlaw Fire Rescue, is the first female chief in the history of the Regional District of Central Kootenay, BC.

My name is Stephanie Whitney. I live in Appledale, which is about 8km north of Winlaw.

I loved firefighters as a child, but was not interested in it initially as a career. Then I received a pamphlet in my mailbox stating that our local department was short on recruits, so I decided to give it a try.

My first call was a fully engulfed trailer fire: I’d never seen a fire that big before. After we put it out I think we all went out to dinner because we were exhausted and starving.

Good communication is key for our profession, as is being calm in stressful situations. Physical fitness is also beneficial but we have all types of bodies on our department. There are many skills needed to become a firefighter, all of them can be taught.

I hope that the next generation of female firefighters will be confident in themselves. It is not a male profession any longer; some of the best members on our team are women.

Photo credit: Tyler Harper, Nelson Star.