North Frontenac looks to build up fire department ranks

Written by  Wednesday, 21 March 2018 11:46
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North Frontenac Township is recruiting for it fire department.

“We have banners up in the municipality and hopefully we’ll get some response,” said Eric Korhonen, director of emergency services/fire chief.

While Korhonen has no idea how much response he will get, he would like to add about 10 new firefighters per station (Snow Road, Ompah and Plevna; the department also has a joint operation with Addington Highlands in Cloyne) or 30 overall. But, he recognizes that goal is more long-term.

“Realistically, we’ll probably add a handful at a time,” he said.

Prospective applicants are asked to send an email to the chief (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) expressing interest. From there, there will be an application interview, basic medical requirement and a driver’s abstract.

“Then you start training,” he said.

New firefighters receive a rural firefighters course, first aid, CPR and defibrillator training. Once every four months, there is a mandatory training session as well.

There is weekend involvement but Korhonen said “as a department, we try to be flexible, such as training on weekends so students can attend their classes during the week.”

Korhonen said there’s no cause for alarm at the moment but they do need some more people.

“Our roster is just not where it should be,” he said. “We have sufficient people to respond but people have other lives outside the department and we have to be able to cover for this.”

For Korhonen, the biggest reward of the job is “to protect your community and the people you’ve grown up with.

“When people need us, it’s at a time when they’re really down and really need us.”

There are other rewards as well, he said.

“We’re also teaching you a skill as a young person that you can easily transfer to the big city,” he said. “Plus firefighting is a brotherhood and the camaraderie is a big part of it.

“It’s a family and as you make a commitment to them and they’ll make a commitment to you.”

There’s also a lot of gratification when you help somebody that really needs it, he said.

“And let’s face it, lights and sirens are a rush.”

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