Volunteer firefighters look to expand their ranks in Area F

People living in Electoral Area F can expect to see some big changes in their local fire departments in the coming year.

April 3 2012.

April 3 2012.

People living in Electoral Area F can expect to see some big changes in their local fire departments in the coming year, and Fire Chief Jim Miller and his deputy fire chiefs are looking for a few good men to help fill their roster as they happen.

On top of searching for new recruits the fire departments Miller is responsible for will all be standardizing procedure, operations, and administrative responsibilities in the months to come. As well, they’ll hopefully be adding a few new rescue courses to their already long list of disciplines.

Currently their list of disciplines includes vehicle extrication, lake rescue, ice rescue, first response rescue, over the bank rope rescue, and forestry fire fighting.

Within the next year Miller would like to add HAZMAT response, and confined space rescue to that list.

For the past eight months Miller has overseen four different fire departments in Electoral Area F, the Windermere Fire Department, the Panorama Fire Department, the Edgewater Fire Department, and the Fairmont Fire Department.

Deputy Fire Chief Martin Caldwell, former Fire Chief of Panorama, is now the deputy chief of both the Edgewater and Panorama fire departments.

And Deputy Fire Chief Drew Sinclair will now be in charge of the Windermere and Fairmont fire departments.

When all is said and done Miller would like to have at least 30 brave men and women volunteer for each separate fire department.

As it currently stands Windermere and Panorama are in pretty good shape, with 24 and 27 volunteers.

However Fairmont and Edgewater are both in great need of new recruits, with only 12 to 14 volunteer firefighters at each department.

Potential firefighters must be in good physical condition, pass a criminal record check, have a Grade 12 diploma or equivalent, and submit a driver’s abstract.

They should also live in the fire-protected areas in which they are volunteering and be long-term residents of that area.

Successful applicants must then go through an extensive three-month training course and pass a written exam as well as a practical before they are given their certification as a volunteer firefighter.

“Volunteers should be eager and willing to put some time in,” said Fire Chief Miller.

The next volunteer training course will be held this summer or late fall.

Training courses are usually held once a year, but if there is a high demand for another course due to a large number of volunteers a second course will most likely take place.

Anyone looking to join can show up during practice nights to get a feel for what it takes to be a volunteer firefighter, or they can stop by the fire department in their community or the main office in Windermere for more       information.

Invermere Valley Echo