Letters: Reaching out to the volunteer firefighters

Mayor of Sooke wants to see increase in volunteers

Volunteering is and has been a tradition in Sooke. Some say we are the ‘Volunteer Capital of the Country.’  The Sooke Volunteer Fire Department is one of those groups that depend on volunteers. Volunteers have been the backbone of the Sooke department for the past 100 years.

I am very concerned about the loss of volunteers to the Sooke Volunteer Fire Department over the past several years. Two-and-a-half years ago we had 51 volunteers, today we have 30 active along with five career firefighters and .5 support staff. We currently have openings for eight volunteers and would take more if people were interested. So what are we going to do about it?

We need and appreciate our volunteer firefighters who play a critical role in our community. We want to determine why they have left and investigate ways that could have kept them with the department. Equally important is finding out from the current volunteers what is needed to keep them with us. In September, I intend to reach out to past and current volunteers through a questionnaire to try to get answers to these questions.  So if you are a past or current volunteer firefighter, watch for the questionnaire, we are trying to find ways help you stay in a job that is so crucial to Sooke.

One of the things I hear is that the requirements are too onerous. People just don’t have the time to volunteer for the department and still live their own lives. We will be working with the fire chief to see if there are ways that we can reduce some of these demands while still ensuring that the requirements ensure the safety of the volunteer firefighters and the public. We also want to make sure that past volunteers who want to return to the department can do so as easily as possible.

The district needs to find ways to cut through some of the red tape that gets in the way of people who just want to help out by volunteering. Fire protection is the core service that our fire department should be providing. It is my intention to work with the chief, the volunteers and the career firefighters to get back to basics and ensure we continue to provide the safe reliable fire service we are all proud of.

Mayor Wendal Milne

Sooke

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

Just Posted

Oak Bay couple honoured for 35 years volunteering

Mayor awards distinguished Oak Leaf to Bert and Doris Dinsmore

Hospital foundation president praises generosity of Peninsula residents

Karen Morgan said support during COVID-19, financial and otherwise, has been touching

Meet the Liberal candidate for Oak Bay-Gordon Head

Roxanne Helme about ‘governance, not politics’

New Democrats on Saanich Peninsula still looking to announce candidate

While BC Liberals have nominated Stephen Roberts, New Democrats have not yet announced candidate

UPDATED: West Shore RCMP locate dangerous, ‘high-risk sex offender’ thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

Most Read