Okanagan Indian Band fire services appear to be in turmoil.
Some firefighters are reported (by Castanet) to have quit over safety issues ranging from inadequate equipment and training to allegations of racism and some members showing up to a call intoxicated.
The band administration has brought in an outside party to investigate what it calls deficiencies and has placed two senior firefighters on administrative leave while that investigation is underway to allow a transparent process.
The review will help identify safety issues, training needs, and resource gaps.
The review was ordered after the band administration was sent a letter from members of the fire department outlining possible deficiencies within the department.
It has hired an experienced firefighter to oversee the Fire Department as Acting Fire Chief.
It says in a statement that the band is confident that it can address local emergencies, either with existing staff ,including up to two dozen volunteers,or with its partnership with neighbouring agencies, if and when needed.
The band goes on to say that many First Nations fire departments across Canada are dealing with similar issues due to significant underfunding.
The lack of funding for many First Nations fire departments results in a dire need of equipment, essential training, and related support.
Despite the lack of funding, the OKIB commits a substantial amount of its own resources to ensure that it has an operational volunteer fire department.
CJIB has reached out to OKIB leaders for further comment.