Firefighting a rewarding way to volunteer, chief says

The High Prairie Volunteer Fire Department recruits firefighters at POPS Home Hardware on Feb. 13. Left-right are firefighter James Willier, training officer Dan Gillmor and John Paddon.
The High Prairie Volunteer Fire Department recruits firefighters at POPS Home Hardware on Feb. 13. Left-right are firefighter James Willier, training officer Dan Gillmor and John Paddon.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A call to recruit volunteer firefighters in the region continues as fire departments enhance their crews to help make communities safer.

The Town of High Prairie Volunteer Fire Department promotes the call as vital and valuable.

“No matter what community organization you belong to, you won’t get the satisfaction you do when you belong to the fire department,” says fire chief Ken Melnyk.
“The reward is overwhelming, when you save a person’s life or property.”

Melnyk wants a full force of 36 firefighters – he currently has 30 – so the workload can be shared by more people.

Besides the work, the fire crew also enjoys a variety of fun and family events in an effort to recruit and retain.

As a major incentive, firefighters qualify for an annual $3,000 tax credit for their service.

For more information, phone Melnyk at [780] 523-3525 or his cell phone at [780] 523-7733.

The Big Lakes County Volunteer Fire Department firefighters spread the word about the value their service.

“The more firefight- ers tell others about the fire department, what we do and the equipment we have, if we can gain one volunteer firefighter, it’s all worth it,” fire chief Leo Tobin says.
“Every chance you get, talk to others about the fire department.”

About 65 firefighters are on the roster in the county with fire halls in Enilda, Faust, Grouard, Joussard, and Kinuso.
The value of the fire department is also promoted in each fire hall, with barbecues for the community, fundraising projects and events for local projects, he says.

“We’re always recruiting, we never have enough volunteers.”
“New recruits must be 18 and want to help their community.”

Fully trained, they are on a probationary period for the first six months.

“Communities are growing and hazards are growing,” Tobin says.

Firefighters can specialize in how they become part of the team.

“I can train and equip people to serve in roles and conditions where they feel most comfortable and confident.
“Although you’re a firefighter, you’ve got to be serious.”

For more information on the Big Lakes County fire departments, phone Tobin at [780] 776-0007, [780] 776-3838, or his cell phone at [780] 523-8778.

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