It’s that time of year again, time for Langford Fire Rescue’s annual recruitment drive for volunteer firefighters. But this year they’re doing something a little different.
Fire Chief Bob Beckett said the goal is to make the process as inclusive as possible in an attempt to make sure the department is finding the best possible candidates throughout the community.
“We’re trying to take the veil down,” he said. “We want to reach out to the community… It’s open to everyone.”
In an effort to show the city what the department is really like, they’re hosting an open house for potential applicants on Saturday, Dec. 12, from 9 a.m. until noon at the Number 1 Hall, 2625 Peatt Rd.
This drop-in event will allow anyone interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter the ability to learn more about the organization, ask any questions and try components of the fitness test, all before going through the recruitment process.
Beckett said the process can be quite intimidating and they wanted to make sure no one was discouraged from applying.
“We’re going to try to take the mystique away,” he said, adding the department has “never not been inclusive.”
He worries that because firefighters are often stereotyped, some potential applicants don’t bother applying.
“You don’t have to bench press 300 pounds,” he said, noting that if the physical aspects are a concern, members of the public can come try portions of the fitness test at the open house, without having to worry about being judged.
“We believe that diversity will enrich our department,” he said.
A number of volunteers will be on hand at the open house, including two of the department’s female firefighters, to answer questions, show guests around and help with a number of hands-on activities.
This year, between the three halls, there are eight firefighter openings.
Usually, the department averages between five to eight openings a year and receives roughly 40 to 50 applications.
Being a volunteer firefighter requires a significant time commitment, especially for the first year, and it takes up to two years before firefighters are fully trained. “It’s not the right fit for everyone,” Beckett said. Although, he did add it was an incredibly rewarding experience with lots of fun events at the department.
Applications will be available at the halls or online as of Dec. 15 and are due at (or before) a mandatory information session for all applicants on Jan. 13.
Did you know?
The minimum qualifications for becoming a firefighter in Langford are:
- 19 years of age or older
- City of Langford resident
- Pass a criminal record check
- Have a clean driving record
- Obtain a doctor’s release to participate in the fitness test