South Frontenac’s Volunteer Fire Department is launching a recruitment drive this month, hoping to attract 25 new recruits from throughout the township. They are looking for physically fit, energetic men and women who are interested in becoming part of a team working to promote safety and who are prepared to protect their community in emergencies.
Firefighters are first responders not only to fires, but to a wide range of other emergencies, health crises and rescues from various dangerous situations (confined space, ice, rope, surface water, swift water, trench, vehicle). Some emergencies cannot be reached by road, necessitating boat or overland equipment transport. As well, the Fire Department is responsible for promoting public safety by providing education and fire prevention, investigating causes of fires, and carrying out fire safety inspections of public buildings. (A well-equipped and trained fire department helps keep home insurance rates down throughout the Township.)
Training is central to becoming a firefighter. According to Fire Chief Darcy Knott, although the Province has currently revoked its requirement for all volunteer firefighters to have mandatory certification, known as National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1001, he anticipates that some form of this requirement will be reinstated. Certification requires completion of levels 1&2 of firefighting training, as well as a course in hazardous materials management.
It took a month for Knott to work through the records of the current 80 South Frontenac volunteer firefighters, to determine which ones had the level of combined experience and training which would allow them to be grandfathered into certification. As a result, 75% of the current township firefighters are now recognized as having the equivalent of NFPA1001. Knott has planned an intensive training program for the new recruits beginning in May, for one night a week plus one or two weekend sessions which will bring them up to certification by the end of October this year. This training will be funded by the Township. (The alternative would require a year-long community college course, costing thousands of dollars in tuition.) As well as training, each new recruit will be fully fitted out with the necessary gear. This is one of the biggest single expenses for the Township: it costs nearly $3,000 to fully equip a firefighter.
Interested? There will be four information sessions: at Burridge and Perth Road stations on Tuesday Feb 26th, and at Hartington and Sunbury stations on Tuesday March 5th. These sessions will discuss expectations, benefits and training opportunities, and answer questions from potential recruits. For further information, contact Fire Chief Darcy Knott, 613-376-3027 ext 2234.