Coming from a land of sand and searing heat, Mohammed Mosfar Mohammed admits he wasn’t prepared for the white stuff.
The 35-year-old Saudi Arabian firefighter experienced snow for the first time after last week’s blizzard while training at Langford Fire Rescue as part of a B.C. Justice Institute program.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen snow. It’s very cold for me,” Mohammed said. “But I’m glad we’re not in Toronto. I’ve heard its -30C. In my country, the temperature can reach over 50 C.”
“He can’t get over the snow,” laughed Langford fire Chief Bob Beckett. “He loves the country, he can’t believe how beautiful it is, but it’s a little cold.”
It’s unusual to host firefighting colleagues from Saudi Arabia, so Beckett and other Langford firefighters made sure to show Mohammed around Victoria and teach him floor hockey, but they also got a bit of work out of him.
When not on course, he’s donned turnout gear and has gone on a few calls, such as car collisions on the icy highway.
“Car accidents, any call I will go,” he said with a smile. “Here it is very much like family. Everyone is friendly and talks with me.”
Mohammed works as a emergency response co-ordinator for an industrial chemical plant owned by the Saudi Methanol Company.
“The Canadian fire system is very strong,” Mohammed said. “We have to improve our systems there, we need to improve our practices.”