Remember when you were a kid, visiting the fire station on a school field trip, sitting in the big trucks and trying on the cool helmet. You probably thought to yourself, “One day, I’m going to be a firefighter”. Well now you can.
The County of Vermilion River is committed to increasing it’s volunteer complements in seven of its eight stations across the region.
Kirk Hughes is the County of Vermilion River Fire Chief.
Volunteer firefighting numbers are down across the country and we’re feeling it here in the County of Vermilion River, With the economic stress,” Chief Hughes told Lakeland Connect. “COVID-19 and work/life balance, volunteering, especially in the Fire Service, has taken a hit.”
Chief Hughes says lots is expected of their firefighters; such as training, call response, meetings and he realizes the job is not for everyone. The County Fire Service is looking for paid-on call firefighters for the following stations; Blackfoot, Clandonald, Dewberry, Islay, Kitscoty, Marwayne and Paradise Valley.
“Call volumes are steadily increasing, the things you need to know as a firefighter are growing, and that’s a big ask for anyone,” Chief Hughes said. “Our hope is to increase our volunteer (paid-on call really) numbers to boost our overall station allotments. Currently, the County has 140 volunteer (paid-on call) firefighters operating out of eight stations responding to approximately 800 calls a year. Up each year. We are looking for people that live within nine minutes from our fire district borders, that means someone in Lloydminster can volunteer at our Blackfoot Station, and we are also looking for people who work may work in the area that can leave their jobs during the day for fire calls.”
Chief Hughes says the new firefighters will go through an orientation which is a familiarization weekend where recruits are shown some of the basic skill sets, such as traffic control and donning/doffing of protective gear.
“Once they get the basics, we send them to their respective stations for continual training and eventually enroll them in our NFPA 1001 program through our Training Department,” Chief Hughes said. Our goal is to improve response times and deliver a high level of service to our rate payers and commuters.”
If you live within nine minutes of the fire district, and are between 18 and 65 years of age, Protective Services would like to hear from you.
The Fall 2021 fire recruit orientation is filling up. If your interested, email the Protective Services Clerk at [email protected]