Sooke Fire Rescue works to attract volunteers

Fire department hosts open house on June 23

From fire suppression and emergency medical responses to dealing with hazardous material responses and technical rescue operations, Sooke Fire Rescue is prepared to handle any emergency.

But as challenging as these tasks are deputy fire chief Matt Barney says another aspect of the department’s operations is equally difficult.

“We have seven career firefighters and more than 30 volunteer firefighters who make up this amazing group of people, but the reality is that maintaining those staffing levels is always going to be something we’re concerned about,” Barney said.

RELATED: Sooke fire one of the best

“Recruitment and retention of volunteers will always be a challenge as people move away, get hired by career fire departments or simply retire. It’s my hope that by year’s end we have a roster of about 40 volunteer firefighters to meet the needs of our growing community.”

To achieve the goal, Barney and Ben Temple, a full-time member of the fire department and executive member of the Sooke Fire Fighters Local 4841, have planned unique initiatives to attract new volunteers.

On June 23, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., the department is hosting an open house with the aim of offering potential volunteers an opportunity to try some of the skills, equipment and experiences common to firefighting.

The open house is at Fire Station No. 1, 2225 Otter Point Rd.

“We’re going to give people a chance to wear the firefighting gear, handle hoses, breathe from the self-contained breathing apparatus. They’ll even have a chance to see what it feels like to be lowered from our tower in a simulation of a technical rope rescue,” Temple said.

“We’ll also be giving tours of the station and fire trucks and other equipment so potential recruits get a full picture of what we do and what tools we have at our disposal.”

Beyond potential recruits, anyone with an interest in the fire department is welcome to drop by.

In fact, he suggests the families of potential volunteers attend so they can get a sense of what the job is all about.

Firefighters will also be serving hot dogs, ice cream and drinks.

And while the department forges ahead with recruiting new volunteers, it announced three members of this year’s recruit class – Heather Lane, Alex Guitar, and Travis Steeve – have passed their final examinations and practical evaluations, and were handed their uniforms, station keys, and pagers.

“These three have worked incredibly hard since January to achieve their goals and each member has already logged their first emergency calls,” Temple said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Edward Milne students clean up Whiffen Spit

Volunteers find styrofoam, cigarette butts and a single shoe

Greater Victoria hardly making a dent in greenhouse gas emissions target

One-per-cent drop from 2007 to 2018 a far cry from the 33-per-cent goal for 2020

VIDEO: Seal pup and mom play and ‘kiss’ in Oak Bay Marina

BRNKL seal cam captures harbour seal growing up in busy harbour

Hearing begins into blind community’s complaint against BC Transit, City of Victoria

Complainant says bike lane infrastructure biased against blind pedestrians

More than $800,000 in suspected cocaine seized from ship near Victoria

RCMP Dive Team suspects more narcotics had been stored below ship’s waterline

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

We were a bit tone deaf: Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Most Read