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

Police incident in Mount Douglas Park leads to road closure

Officers turning cars away, letting hikers go up trails

PHOTOS: Women’s March through downtown Victoria draws crowds of activists, allies

Attendees of all ages carried instruments, posters with empowering messages

Victoria resident lives well despite dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

New Victoria Conservatory music scholarship recognizes long-time Sidney resident

O. Thomas Webb died in Sidney last year after retiring to the community in 1975

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Ice chunk from truck crushes vehicle windshield on Vancouver Island

None injured, but Nanaimo RCMP say there can be fines for accumulations of ice and snow

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Intense winds en route to Greater Victoria

Winter storm warning in effect for east and west regions while wind warning to hit south and north

Most Read