The Parry Sound, Seguin, McDougall, Carling and McKellar Fire Departments are looking to bolster their numbers.
Oliver Moloney, Parry Sound FD’s Training Officer says a lot of fire departments in the area are continuing to look for new recruits, adding he thinks this is going to go on for quite some time.
“If you enjoy getting out in your community and helping people this is a great job to do. You’re generally trying to make people’s lives better in times of great need. It’s very humbling but it’s very fun, working with such a great group of people. Everybody’s in it for the same reasons. We all just like to try to make the world a better place,” he says.
Moloney says that typically there is an age restriction of 18 years of age or older, but some departments have junior volunteer firefighter programs. “Which is actually how I started, I believe I was 16, so that’s a great way to get your foot in the door but typically most departments hire at 18 now,” he says.
Moloney says those interested should get in touch with the nearest fire department or station and try to get a hold of the Fire Chief for the municipality for more information on how to join. He says each individual municipality will have its own process as to how they go about hiring firefighters.
Once the paperwork and formalities are out of the way, Moloney says departments will generally have a firefighter training program set up. “I’m very excited about our new training program here in the West Parry Sound District that we have together with four area fire departments, Parry Sound, McKellar,Mcdougall, Carling, and Seguin,” he says.
Moloney says training is pretty much the core of what members of the Fire Department do. “There is an endless amount to learn [with the Fire Service]. You go from your basic firefighting where you learn how to connect up hoses to spray water on fires to put them out, to more advanced things such as auto extrication and how to cut cars apart, or a hazardous materials call and how to deal with gasoline or diesel spills,” he says.
He says the local fire department also has Special Operations teams that handle things like rope or ice water rescues. Moloney says there’s also officer-type training, which according to him translates really well into regular life.
“If you work a job and you’re looking at possibly going into management in your personal life, or career, the leadership skill sets that you can obtain through the fire department and the educational opportunities at the department given through the Ontario Fire College and the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office are incredible opportunities for personal and career growth,” he says.