Prospective members must be aware of the time commitment required to be a member of the department. There is a large base of knowledge and skills that must be acquired and maintained to be a firefighter. To refresh current applicants qualification there will be a two week Job Performance Requirements course to RECAP previous learning experiences. Once recruit training is completed all members are expected to attend regular training, about 3 hours a week on Tuesday nights.
Fires and emergencies do not follow a schedule or stop during holidays. Although there is no mandatory schedule as to when volunteers must be available there is a constant need for volunteers, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Volunteer members are asked to be on-call as much as possible on a regular basis to ensure coverage in the event of larger scaled incidents. Obviously a person can’t be available all the time and you are not expected to be. Volunteer firefighters are expected to be available to respond to calls as often as their time will permit. To form a realistic view of what it is like to be a volunteer firefighter it is also important to realise that the department attends a number of small fires and false alarms in a year. During some of these calls volunteers may be called upon but then not required or only required to standby at a fire hall.
It is important to discuss these various time commitments with your family and ensure they understand that you may have to attend a call in the middle of the night or at some other inconvenient time.
The safety of our firefighters is the Department’s number one priority. The Fire Department goes to great lengths to ensure the safety of all our firefighters. There are stringent safety procedures and regulations for every aspect of firefighting. Due to the many safety precautions that are taken, firefighters are no more likely to be injured while firefighting than doing any other similar strenuous physical activity. The risk factor in firefighting comes from unknown conditions. Firefighters respond to a large variety of emergencies in many different situations and buildings. Some situations or buildings may contain unknown conditions. These unknown conditions can present a risk to firefighters. All activities completed at the fire halls and during training are conducted in a controlled environment thus eliminating most of the unknown risks. In general firefighting is made as safe as possible, although there is an element of risk in becoming a firefighter and you must consider these risks and discuss them with your family.
Situations you may have to face while carrying out the duties of a firefighter include:
- Working at heights or confined spaces
- Working around lakes or rivers
- Dealing with injured or deceased victims of all ages including children and possibly people you may know
Next, find out more about the Selection Process