For people looking for a volunteer opportunity that’s both rewarding and just a little bit different, the Sooke Fire Department is hiring.
The department is running its annual recruitment program now for positions in the fall, said Deputy Fire Chief Richard McLeod.
“(We want) men or women 19 or older, with a class five (driver’s) license and who live in the municipality,” said McLeod.
There are 10 available spots in total, with interviews starting at the end of August until early September. Successful applicants begin training in October on weekends from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to get their firefighter level one certification.
“They’re issued a pager, and then train with the rest of the department for December, January and February (on Thursday nights), then go back to regular training on Saturdays and Sundays to get their level two.”
While McLeod encourages anyone to apply, the process is quite intensive and includes an agility test, a written test and a criminal record check in addition to the interview. Once accepted, there are regularly scheduled tests and homework assignments. Regular attendance to all training sessions is mandatory.
“Its quite a commitment to get into the department,” he said.
He also said applicants should be in good physical shape as volunteers have to be able to drag hose, carry equipment and get up and down ladders during training exercises as well as going out to calls with staff.
Everything takes place at the fire hall on Otter Point Road, and all training materials and associated costs are looked after by the fire department. The program has been known to encourage more permanent stints as well.
“A number of our guys have gone on to be career firefighters,” said McLeod.
To apply, you can pick up an application at the station, or on the District of Sooke website at www.sooke.ca. Applications are accepted year round. If you have any questions, call 250-642-5422 between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. seven days a week.