Mattawa wants you! Fire department seeks volunteers

·2 min read

Mattawa is searching for a few good women and men to volunteer with the fire department.

“New recruits are welcome,” fire Chief Paul Lafreniere said, adding the department is “committed to safely train and equip you to be a vital part of our protection efforts.”

The training is “all on site,” Chief Lafreniere clarified, although off-site training will be available from time to time, for example an out-of-town ice training session.

“If they’re available” to attend those exterior training sessions, “we’ll send them.”

All training exercises follow the firefighter’s curriculum from the Fire College.

Chief Lafreniere notes that not everyone is cut out to be a volunteer firefighter. “We deal with dangerous situations, life-threatening incidents, and complex equipment as we offer and promote a standard of protection.”

Moreover, “we are ethically and legally responsible” to provide that service. “The level of commitment and dedication needed for emergency services goes far beyond a typical volunteer attitude,” the chief emphasized.

Extinguishing fires, vehicle rescues, hazardous material management, medical emergencies, accidents of all varieties are some of the challenges volunteer firefighters face.

“As a new recruit,” Chief Lafreniere said, “training will be your main focus, but it will not be long before you find yourself contributing to our efforts in ways you can now only imagine.”

Interested in applying? The chief explained that ideal candidates will demonstrate “a willingness to commit to a long-term relationship with the fire department.”

A willingness to train is also essential, as “the vast majority of our time is spent in training.” Currently, department members meet each Wednesday night.

Recruits must also be willing to follow procedures and policies of the fire department, and respect and follow orders from the chain of command.

Moreover, recruits must “do your best at all times, recognizing your moral and legal obligation to do so, as lives may depend on it.”

Still interested? An applicant must be over 18 and possess good character and be medically fit. Possession of a vehicle is a must to attend calls.

Residing reasonably close to the Fire Station is also a plus.

Although the positions are voluntary, “a small renumeration based on attendance and training” is paid to all volunteers.

“We’re looking for as many people who are willing to apply,” Chief Lafreniere said.

Joining the department is “an excellent opportunity to be a community hero,” he added.

“I don’t need to say too much else,” Chief Lafreniere said. “In my opinion, that’s what these men and women are. They volunteer, they perform a duty that’s necessary, and in most cases, they don’t ask to be thanked.”

For those interested in signing up, contact the municipal office at 705-744-5611, or email the chief at firechief@mattawa.ca, who also welcomes you to visit the fire department’s website for more information.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca

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