About Us

Introducing FNESS

First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of British Columbia (FNESS) is incorporated under the Society Act of British Columbia. Our mission is to assist First Nations in developing and sustaining safer and healthier communities by providing the programs and services described in this website. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
About Us

FNESS evolved from the Society of Native Indian Fire Fighters of BC (SNIFF), which was established in 1986. SNIFF’s initial objectives were to help reduce the number of fire-related deaths on First Nation reserves, but changed its emphasis to incorporate a greater spectrum of emergency services. In 1994, SNIFF changed its name to First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of BC to reflect its growing diversity of services provided.

Today our organization continues to gain recognition and trust within First Nations communities and within the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) and other organizations. This is reflected in both the growing demand of service requests from First Nations communities and in the devolvement of more government-sponsored programs to FNESS.

First Nations’ Emergency Services Society believes in treating our membership, staff, clients, consultants and external organizations with integrity, respect, fairness and honesty. Through leadership and wisdom, FNESS believes in recognizing the cultural diversity of all those involved. Working as a team to deliver programs, we are committed to being an open, credible, sincere and trustworthy organization.

The FNESS logo was designed in 1986 by artist Tom Stewart of Kitimat, BC at the age of 15. The logo represents the vision of a firefighter. The iris of the eye portrays the legendary fire moon spewing water onto the eye of the fire. The circle represents First Nations.

Vision

Safe and Healthy First Nations Communities

Mission

FNESS serves First Nations in developing and sustaining safer and healthier communities through:

  • Emergency planning, training, response, and recovery;
  • Fire training, education, and prevention;
  • Forest fuel and wildfire Management; and
  • Leadership and collaborative relationships.

Values

Courage
Strength and curiosity while determining the most beneficial actions with communities.

Honesty
Open and transparent environments in all actions.

Integrity
Consistent and accountable for all actions, assessing and adapting as needed.

Passion
Acknowledging  enthusiasm  and  initiative;  rewarding success regularly.

Respect
Inclusiveness & teamwork that allows fairness, balance, and harmony in all activities; appreciative of all cultural diversities.

Trustworthiness
Providing credible and state-of-the-art recognized services.

Board of Directors

Our Society is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of First Nations individuals who live in communities throughout the province of British Columbia and who are elected by our Society’s members. The core function of our Board is to ensure that our Society upholds its adopted Mission Statement in accordance with its adopted Constitution and By-Laws, and to ensure the financial viability of the Society.
EDWIN MOUNTAIN SR.

President

Edwin Mountain Sr. is from Alert Bay, and lived in Xaxli’p for the past 29 years. For the past 29 years he has been with the Xaxli’p Volunteer Fire Chief Department and a FNESS Board member for the past 12 years, with the last 2 years off. With all of the accomplishments that we have made over the years, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those people who have made it possible for me to be where I am today. I would like to say congratulations to the staff and managers. I am very interested in working with the board for the next term.

SONNY HUNT

Vice President

Stephen Hunt, known to most as Sonny, is a member of the Heiltsuk First Nation.  He is an integral member of his community and has held many different position in emergency services there.  Sonny was previously a FNESS Board Member; he’s glad to be back and looks forward to serving the First Nations of BC through FNESS.

anthony moore
ANTHONY MOORE

Director

Anthony Moore comes from the Nisga’a Village of Gitwinksihlkw, located in Northwest BC. He has been a part of the Gitwinksihlkw Fire Department since 1998 is the current Safety Officer for the Department. Anthony holds the position of Emergency Response and Health & Safety Coordinator for Nisga’a Lisims Government, there he provides direction of emergency management and business continuity, as well as providing strategic guidance and continuity in corporate knowledge to ensure legal compliance of the Health and Safety Legislation for the Nisga’a Nation.
Anthony has graduated from the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) receiving an in Emergency Management Certificate, Emergency Medical Responder Certificate and working on Health & Safety Professional Certificate from British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and the Exterior Attack Fire Fighter Course from JIBC.
Working diligently with other members of his department, they have worked to develop a strong junior fire fighter training program and an annual summer boot camp, instilling the traditions and mindset of a fire fighter into the youth of Nisga’a Nation and its four communities. As well as serving in his fire department, Anthony also serves in many other nonprofit organizations in areas of Cultural dancing and Concert Bands and the Salvation Army.

barbara
BARBARA MORIN

Secretary/Treasurer

J.D., B.Ed. – Lawyer / Senior Policy Analyst / Teacher / Consultant

Ms. Morin is an extremely accomplished Secwepemc lawyer who has worked with First Nation Governments for over twenty years. As a former teacher, she returned to UBC to obtain her law degree in 1987 graduating in 1991 and was called to the bar in the fall of 1992. She is currently a member of the Law Society of B.C. in good standing.

After obtaining her law degree she spent several years working with five First Nations and as apart-time as a lawyer (sole practitioner). As well, she has produced many bylaws, policies, briefing notes and numerous position papers, with in-depth results for her employers including many First Nations.

Ms. Morin’s concern is rooted in humanitarian concerns, and she was one of the co-founders and has served five terms as the President of the BC Native Women’s Association of BC as well as serving for many other non-profit organizations.

MELVIN MITCHELL

Director

Melvin was one of the group of Native Fire Fighters from whom the idea of SNIFF originated, eventually becoming the current day FNESS.

He is a member of Sliammon First Nation and has been volunteering with the protectors of the community since he was 14 years old and currently holds the position of Deputy Fire Chief (38 years and still going strong!). He prides himself in being a voice for the smaller fire departments in First Nation communities.

He is new to the board but has always been supportive of FNESS’ efforts and programs to build capacity and assist in creating safer communities for all First Nations in BC.  One of his goals in being a FNESS Board member is to encourage younger people, by action and example to serve the members of their communities, from the young to the elderly.

Welcome aboard, Melvin!

mike
MICHAEL KELLY

Appointed Director

Appointed by the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, Michael Kelly is a member and an elected councillor of Leq’a:mel First Nation. Michael retired early after 35 years, when working with the Provincial Government within the Ministry of Highways throughout the province of British Columbia. He has worked extensively withing the Engineering Technical and Inspection component of highway construction. After leaving eht Ministry of Highways in 2002, he worked as a machine operator within the public works section with the University Endowment Lands until 2009. Currently, Michael is a member of the Strategic Engagement Agreement board. He is a representative of the Sto:lo Xwexwilmexw Treaty Association for Leq’a:mel First Nation. Michael also works with the S.X.T.A. Governance working group and holds the fisheries portfolio for Leq’a:mel First Nation. With the changing landscape of the Forest Industry related to the First Nations in British Columbia, Michael is committed to working with all groups involved diligently for positive progress.

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