Jason Dixon (seen here in helmet 140) is one of Sooke’s firefighters. (Sooke Fire Rescue)

New pay model for Sooke Fire Rescue hopes to attract non-career firefighters

The compensation model is playing catch-up with other municipalities

Changes are taking place at Sooke Fire Rescue to meet the demands of community growth. And Fire Chief Kenn Mount says those changes will only make the service stronger.

Starting in July, Sooke Fire Rescue moved from a volunteer model to a paid-on call model for non-career firefighters.

The department is now accepting applications for the positions and Mount says the new system will help attract a different crop of recruits and aid with the retention of firefighters.

“In the past the [volunteer] members were offered a small stipend for their work, depending on how many hours of training they engaged in and how many calls they attended,” Mount said.

“It really was a minimal amount. For a three-hour call out, for example, they might receive a total of $11. That didn’t do much to reflect how much we valued their service.”

The level of compensation for the volunteer corps of the department was based on a budget of about $38,000 per year that was split among all the non-career members for all the calls and training they attended.

“We have been looking for this change for about five years, and I want to acknowledge that council has been supportive of this initiative,” Mount said.

“We certainly have some catching up to do.”

RELATED: Dept. seeks to attract new volunteers

The new system will raise that remuneration and base it on individual contributions, rank and qualifications. In practical terms, it will mean that non-career firefighters will be compensated for somewhere between $15 and $32 an hour with new recruits starting at the lower end of that scale with the ability to move up with additional training and experience.

By the time a non-career firefighter rises to the rank of lieutenant, they could receive compensation at a rate equivalent to 75 per cent of a career counterpart.

In order to accomplish that the compensation budget for the department will rise to $53,000 in 2019 to $99,000 in 2020 and $143,000 in 2022. Those funds would be used to fund the entire non-career component of the department for all the calls and training in which they’re involved.

“I’m responsible for recruiting firefighters this year, and I believe that this will have a positive effect on our recruitment as well as our retention of firefighters,” said Ben Temple, a career firefighter and an executive member of Sooke Fire Fighters Local 4841.

“I’m looking for about 25 to 30 volunteer applicants from which we’ll be selecting about six or seven.”

He added the decision to be an on-call firefighter is one that, due to the time commitment, impacts the family. The new compensation method may help to motivate those families to make that commitment.

“We really value our on-call members. We’re now going to have a chance to demonstrate that appreciation.,” Mount said.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Sooke’s Old-Fashioned Country Picnic set for Saturday

The free event combines music, kids activities, food and fun

Cycslists were all smiles during ninth Tour de Victoria

More than 2,100 cyclists participated

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after Const. Beckett’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Police investigating incident in Saanich neighbourhood

Neighbours tell Black Press Media that a body has been found, but police remain tight-lipped.

Colwood man takes on Ride to Conquer Cancer for 11th year in a row

Team Finn has raised almost $3 million for BC Cancer Foundation

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Sooke’s Old-Fashioned Country Picnic set for Saturday

The free event combines music, kids activities, food and fun

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Most Read