The Huntsville Lake of Bays Fire Department is looking for volunteers.
Deputy Fire Chief Paul Calleja says applicants need to be 18 or older and legally able to work in Canada, as well as have a high school diploma, a G driver’s licence, and access to a vehicle. He adds that recruits will need to pass the same aptitude testing as career firefighters across Ontario.
According to Calleja, the department is looking for about 15 volunteer firefighters this year, and those that are accepted into the program can expect to start their basic training in April.
“Those that do not currently have a first aid certificate will get certified in first aid because that’s very important to us,” says Calleja. “As well as giving them additional training in regard to wildland firefighting. As you can imagine, the spring is a busy time for us, and we want to be able to utilize them as early as we can in their career.”
After that, he says it’s a matter of getting familiar with the day-to-day workings of their stations.
“They kind of settle into fire hall life, life within their department, and then their firefighter-level training starts in earnest in September and runs to December for the bulk of it,” says Calleja. “So they have a pretty busy first 10 to 12 months with us.”
Calleja says there are a number of benefits to joining up, such as the challenging and team-based environment, or getting the certifications needed to become a career firefighter. However, one reason stands out above most.
“It’s cliché, but giving back to your community generally is the number one reason why people do it,” says Calleja. “There’s a lot of benefits to having individuals who are dedicated and committed to keeping the community safe.”
Applications are open until Feb. 24 at the Town of Huntsville website.
Calleja adds that the department will hold an information session on Feb. 12 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Station 1, and invites anyone interested in learning more to stop by 1 Payne Dr. in Huntsville.