The Rossland volunteer fire department is looking for a few good people

There is a shortage of paid, on-call firefighters in the city—and across the region—and it is a concern to the region's fire chief.

The Rossland volunteer fire department is looking for a few good people.

Nine, in fact, as the Golden City’s finest are a baseball team short of a full and ideal complement of firefighters, according to regional district fire chief Terry Martin.

In the wake of the recently released Fire Service Review by the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, the shortage of paid, on-call firefighters in the city—and across the region—were raised as a concern.

There are currently 16 firefighters on the roster with Company One in Rossland, said Martin, barely enough to obtain proper certification. The Fire Underwriters will only recognize a fire department with a minimum roster of 15 firefighters.

“Ideally, we would like all our paid, on-call rosters to be at 25,” he said.

Although there is a shortage of firefighters, fire service is not compromised in Rossland. There is a career firefighter at Company One Rossland from Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The firefighter comes up to Rossland from Trail.

Currently there are no career firefighters dedicated to Rossland.

The problem with recruitment in Rossland is the same throughout B.C., said Martin.

“There is an enormous commitment required for paid on call firefighters today,” he said. “There are more calls and more required training. People are not as willing to give up that time away from their families and work for their communities.”

To help with recruiting the regional fire service will keep advertising for new members and provide more training for those it has.

Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue is moving forward with localized training, said Martin.

“We are partnering with Teck Fire Rescue to bring courses in to our area,” he said. “By partnering with Teck we can train more firefighters while managing the costs.”

It’s cost effective to train firefighters locally than to send them away.

Under the review, the department will be undertaking a more “proactive role in the recruitment and retention process, including at least two annual regional recruitment drives and a public relations campaign emphasizing volunteer recruitment.

The service will also conduct a recruitment drive amongst local businesses, encouraging them to become actively engaged with helping the department by encouraging their employees to become volunteers and making them available for major day-time call outs.

The regional service will also be looking at the on-call compensation paid to volunteers and whether revisions to the existing system should be implemented.

Those interested in becoming a paid, on-call firefighter in Rossland can fill out an application form at Kootenay Boundary Fire Department headquarters located at #201-843 Rossland Ave. in Trail.

Applicants must be 19 years or older and possess a valid driver’s licence.

Applications are to include a driver’s abstract and criminal record check.

Criminal Record checks will be returned and all information will be kept confidential.

If you have any questions, please contact Regional Fire Chief Terry Martin at 250-364-1737.

 

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