January 17, 2024 — After 28 years of dedicated service with the Sicamous Fire Department, fire chief Brett Ogino is set to retire in March. Ogino served as the fire chief of the Sicamous Fire Department for 20 years, beginning his role as the District’s full-time fire chief in 2016.
“Sicamous council would like to take this opportunity to wish Brett all the very best in his retirement,” says Mayor Colleen Anderson. “We would like to thank Brett for his 28 years of outstanding service to our community. His amazing skills have navigated Sicamous through some challenging times and assisted many other communities.”
Ogino joined the Sicamous Fire Department in 1995, shortly after he finished his training for the Power and Sail Squadron. His training for the Power and Sail Squadron was held on the same night as fire practice. After observing the fire practices, Ogino decided to give firefighting a try. Several years later, in 2003, Ogino became the part-time fire chief for the Sicamous Fire Department.
“I started in the Sicamous Fire Department and have always been a Sicamous firefighter,” Ogino reflects fondly.
Throughout his career, Ogino responded to some of the largest interface fires in B.C.’s history. In his first year as part-time fire chief, Ogino had crews deployed around the Province to support the fight against wildfires in Barriere and Kelowna. Ogino successfully conducted swift water and ice rescues from Sicamous Creek and Mara Lake, attained his NFPA 1001 certification and was hired as the first full-time fire chief in the District of Sicamous. When Sicamous was confronted by the 2021 wildfire, Ogino and his crew’s response helped ensure that no structures were lost.
"I will miss Brett's strong willingness and inclination to teach. Anytime anyone has a question about something, he never has an issue making time to explain or provide his opinion," says Travis Lansing, FireSmart coordinator for the Sicamous Fire Department. "Brett recognizes the critical need for reliable leadership within the fire department and assumes that role with the utmost care and dedication."
Ogino and Lansing worked closely together to develop and implement the FireSmart program in Sicamous, which is focused on reducing property loss and damage due to wildfires.
“My advice to the incoming fire chief is to take good care of the crew,” Ogino responded when asked what he would recommend to his successor. “The crew is truly the most valuable resource that the fire department and community have; their commitment to doing the job professionally is an inspiration.”
Brett looks forward to travelling and seeing more of British Columbia and Canada in his retirement. He hopes to get out on his electric bike more often and spend more time on the golf course. Thank you for 28 years of dedicated service, Brett!