Sooke Fire Rescue firefighters in a training exercise. The fire department is looking for more members

Firefighter orientation session looking to fire up new volunteers

Sooke Fire Rescue is hosting an open house Wednesday at Fire Station No. 1, beginning at 7 p.m.

Ever wondered what it would be like to fight fires and lend a helping hand to the community?

Here’s your chance.

Sooke Fire Rescue is hosting an open house Wednesday at Fire Station No. 1, beginning at 7 p.m.

The session is free, and will allow those interested in joining the fire department as volunteers to learn more about what it is to be a member and what they can expect when on the job.

A tour and the history of Station No. 1 is also included, along with a presentation on the equipment members will be using and what they do.

Volunteering as a firefighter takes up more time than people who first join expect, said Sooke Fire Chief Steven Sorensen, but the self-satisfaction is priceless.

“It’s a great way to give back to the community, especially if you’re new here,” he said. “People have forged some life-long friendships here, so it’s quite a social thing as well, very family-oriented.”

And there is no obligation, just stick your foot in the door and see if it feels right for you. One thing’s for sure: you’ll be kept occupied.

“It’s a fairly-busy department for our size, so once they [new members] are in the door, it’s hard to keep them away,” Sorensen said. “It’s a challenge for people, but you get to learn a lot of skills that you could use forever.”

Anyone attending should also consider bringing their families with them that night, since a good part of the session will explain some of the expectations the family would have from their spouse once they become a member.

“We encourage the families to come just so they understand what they’re getting into, because if you’re not going to have family support, it’s not going to work,” he said.

After all, things like accidents, fires, or other kinds of emergencies neither wait or have a schedule, so unexpected challenges and calls in the middle of the night are a common theme in this job.

“You have to be prepared that what we do isn’t always pleasant, and get used to the kind of mind-set that you could go from a dead stop to a 100 miles per hour in seconds here and the outcome isn’t always what you hope it to be,” Sorensen said.

It’s not like you’re expected to be made of stone, either; Sorensen said fire departments have lots of support networks to help people deal with that kind of stuff.