Langford’s fire service has existed since 1947 and, over the years, has earned the confidence and respect of the community.
But it’s a reputation that the service never takes for granted and works diligently to maintain. That’s why, as they have embarked on an annual recruitment drive to attract 10 new members to the volunteer ranks of the department, they have imposed some stringent requirements and expectations on potential recruits.
“The men and women working in our department rely on one another and develop a camaraderie and level of trust that is really essential for us to do our job well. The people we select have to be able to meet our requirements in order to join our team,” said Assistant Chief Scott Davidson.
Applicants must be at least 19 years of age and have a Grade 12 education (or GED) as well as being physically fit and able to get a doctor’s certificate attesting to their health and fitness. They must also pass a criminal record check and have a valid Class 5 B.C. drivers license.
And they must live in Langford.
“The requirement to live in the community is important as response times are important and our firefighters are on call around the clock. We need to get them out to any emergency as quickly as possible and that only works if they live nearby,” Davidson said.
Applications for the 10 vacant positions are open until Jan. 5, but the selection of the new firefighters will not be made until late February at which time the successful applicants will begin a six-month training period (two days a week) to get them “exterior qualified.” At that time they will be allowed to carry a pager and respond to fires with the rest of the team; albeit with their participation limited to the exterior of fires.
Another 18 months of training will take place before new recruits are fully certified as NFPA Level 2 firefighters and take a full role with the department.
In addition to fighting fires, the service responds to medical emergencies, performs rescues, and generally acts as first responders when residents of Langford find themselves in an emergency situation.
“We do a lot of different tasks, and that’s why, even after they’re certified, the training never stops for any of our people. We train for two hours on every shift, just to maintain the skills. Firefighting is like a team sport and we train a lot more than we actually provide the service,” Davidson said.
When the new recruits join the 47 existing volunteers on the fire service, they will be required to participate in a minimum of three, 12-hour stipend shifts per month during which time they will be at the fire hall. They will also carry a pager at other times and be expected to respond to emergencies as required.
The volunteer component of the department works with eight full-time professional firefighters to provide the service to the community.
Anyone interested in applying for a position with Langford Fire Rescue can go to langford.ca and follow the links to fire service recruiting for more information.