Sooke Fire Rescue searching for new volunteers

Sooke Fire Rescue is looking for some fresh faces to join its volunteer team.

Two information sessions will be held in the coming weeks for anyone interested; one on Sept. 6 at Sooke Fire Station No. 1, and the other at Metchosin Fire Department on Sept. 13. Both sessions begin at 7 p.m.

The neighbouring departments have been running their recruitment and training together over the past couple of years.

“It’s really open to anyone that’s serious about becoming a firefighter,” said Sooke Fire Chief Kenn Mount.

Mount said there’s a lot of training that goes in to becoming a volunteer and the recruitment can be quite a process. Recruits learn about things such as using safety gear, fire behaviour, using small tools, tying ropes and knots and rescue techniques.

“There’s a lot more to it than just grabbing a hose line and pouring water on a fire,” Mount said. “There is an expectation that all firefighters meet a basic standard and that you can assign them on a role for any type of incident on any occasion depending on availability.”

The final selection will be at the end of November, and training will begin for the new volunteers in January, running every other weekend until the end of April.

“We have a testing process and interview so that people understand the commitment and what’s involved in becoming a firefighter,” Mount said.

“It’s serious business now for volunteers and we have standards to meet, requirements with the province, documentation, and liability risks so all that is part of the process.”

Sooke Fire Rescue receives about 15 applications every year, and this year hope to train six recruits.

Mount hopes that within the next few years to have 55 members within the department, including paid staff and volunteers. There are about 40 in the department now.

“Once you become a firefighter you become part of a big family, team and brotherhood, and it’s very rewarding work,” Mount said. “You’re also getting involve and doing something that’s benefiting the community really well.”

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