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

Just Posted

Final key components for Johnson Street Bridge installed this weekend in Victoria

Dynamic Beast crane barge arrives back in town on Friday

Wind warning in effect for Greater Victoria

Strong winds could reach up to 80 km/hr along coastal areas

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington for the day

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, “high avalanche danger”

Whisky society commits to charity donation in wake of whisky raids

Refund of Victoria Whiskey Festival tickets won’t impact charity beneficiaries

Victoria housing provider launches crisis prevention program to combat homelessness

Pacifica Housing aims to address challenges before tenants risk evictions

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Vessel washed ashore in Campbell River during last night’s storm

A vessel appears to have gotten loose and washed to shore on… Continue reading

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

WHL winning streak ends at four in Kelowna for Victoria

Royals lose 8-4 as Rockets explode offensively

Most Read