Squamish Fire Rescue is hunting for men and women wanting to heat up their lives.
The fire department is looking to add new volunteers to its crews. Currently, the service is comprised of 50 paid, on-call volunteers and six career firefighters, fire chief Russ Inouye said. He'd like to see the volunteer number sit at 60. Last year, the department was hoping to tap into recruits living in the downtown area. The emphasis on volunteers from the heart of Squamish isn't so high anymore, Inouye said.
“We're looking all over Squamish,” he said.
Gone are the days of being given a hat and hose one day and racing into the flames the next, Inouye said. Joining the fire rescue team is a big commitment, he noted. Initial training takes four months, with three-hour sessions every Wednesday evening and eight-hour sessions on Sundays. All together, individuals commit 168 hours worth of practice to achieve the minimum fire fighting standard, Inouye said.
“We have an almost zero tolerance for non-attendance,” he said.
It's not every call out that firefighters have to employ all their skills. But all it takes is one big blaze and all the training comes into play, Inouye said, adding a lot of training is focused on accessing hazards.
“There is just a tonne of stuff they really have to know,” he said.
On Tuesday, Jan. 29, the department is holding an information session at the fire hall. The meeting, which starts at 7 p.m., will provide people interested in volunteering with a good understanding of what will be required from them, Inouye said.
“We don't want to waste their time and we don't want them to waste our time,” he said.
Applicants must be permanent Squamish residents and prepared to make a minimum three-year commitment to the fire department. Pick up application forms at the fire hall at 40439 Tantalus Road or visit www.squamish.ca.