Meet Sechelt’s new Fire Chief: Dwight Davison

With the retirement of Trevor Pike on Feb. 28, Fire Chief Dwight Davison has officially taken the reins of the department.

Davison's career at the Sechelt Fire Department started in 2005 as a volunteer and then as a training officer from 2011 to 2016 before he was promoted to assistant chief.

While firefighting was “never really on his radar” as a kid growing up in Yakima, Washington, Davison did tour the local fire hall since one of his friend’s fathers was a firefighter.

Davison moved to Canada as a teenager playing hockey, where he said he fell in love with the Coast and decided to stay.

He said that friends of his who were working as local firefighters encouraged him to come and take a look at the fire department, including former Sechelt fire chief, Trevor Pike, who Davison had met through sports and other community activities.

“I came out, they put me in the gear, had me climb a ladder over on the side of the building to see if I was afraid of heights,” he said. “And I knew right then and there, I said, ‘This is what I want to do for the rest of my life, this is it, I found it, this is my calling.”

Davison said he feels comfortable stepping into his new role and that the transition to chief was “seamless,” explaining that much of the past year was dedicated to preparing to take over the role, as well as training others to fill his vacancy.

Davison highlighted some of the current and anticipated challenges coming to the fire department, adding that the department has already had a much busier start than last year.

Throughout Canada volunteer recruitment and retention is in a dire spot, Davison said.

“Unfortunately with the economic times and just society, less and less people are available to volunteer their time for their community," he said, adding that it's not just the fire service feeling this impact.

Speaking to the retention side, Davison said that the Sunshine Coast has an excellent training program for firefighters which certifies them to work anywhere in North America, and that often new recruits will get hired away to go and work in a big city.

Davison and Pike had a long career together as the two advanced through the ranks.

Davison described Pike as extremely knowledgeable, level-headed, and a clear thinker when problems arise.

Before the duo worked together as chief and assistant chief, Pike was Davison’s training officer when he started volunteering in 2005.

“[Pike] trained me on all my basic firefighting skills, and as a person coming in trying to learn new skill sets, you could tell he was extremely capable as a firefighter.

“I felt very fortunate to learn from him as a bit of a mentor through my time as a firefighter and then through my time as an officer and even as an employee has been an invaluable mentor to me throughout my career,” he said.

Davison said he feels “honoured to take the reins of the fire department,” and looks forward to continuing to build upon the strong foundation that is the Sechelt Fire Department.

Jordan Copp is the Coast Reporter’s civic and Indigenous affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

Jordan Copp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Coast Reporter