Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue has a new fire chief.
The board of fire trustees announced on Monday that Jamie Holmes, acting fire chief since November 2020, will officially be taking over the role from former fire chief Arjuna George.
Holmes has been with Salt Spring’s fire department for 25 years, joining the department in 1996 as a paid-on-call volunteer firefighter. He became a career firefighter in 2002 and deputy chief in April 2021. Fire board chair Per Svendsen commended Holmes’ 15 years as a training officer as well as the “decades of labour experience and negotiation skills” he brings to the role.
“Chief Holmes set a benchmark that members be trained to the NFPA 1001 standard, which ensures we have a highly trained professional membership here on Salt Spring, and provides members with an internationally recognized accreditation,” Svendsen stated, adding that Holmes has also received the British Columbia Training Officer Association Meritorious Service Medal for his service.
“We are grateful for his continued service to our community,” Svendsen stated. “The future of emergency services on Salt Spring Island is in excellent hands.”
As Holmes’ appointment was confirmed, George reflected on hanging up his helmet and officially retiring from the fire service after 24 years. In a post on Facebook, George called his time with the department an “amazing journey and an incredible chapter in my life.”
“It has been an extreme honour to serve over the past few decades and most of all as our island’s 8th fire chief,” he wrote as he thanked the community on his and his family’s behalf and reflected on the relationships built over this time.
“This has been a hard decision to make as firefighting has been my life, but I am now excited to transition to new opportunities and continue to serve,” he stated.
George went on medical leave at the end of June in 2020.