Deputy chief Mike Harman and firefighter Steven Bibb show off some of the equipment at the Sidney Volunteer Fire Department. It is currently recruiting volunteers for 2020 (Wolf Depner/News Staff).

Sidney Volunteer Fire Department heats up recruitment drive

Over the years, the department has served as a stepping ground toward paid positions

Wanted: a positive attitude, a desire for camaraderie and a sense of community service.

Those are the personal characteristics for which the Sidney Volunteer Fire Department looks as it continues to recruit volunteers for 2020.

Mike Harman, deputy chief with the Sidney Volunteer Fire Department, said the department has so received half a dozen applications with the application window extended until January.

Harman said the recruitment drive does not have to meet a specific figure. “It honestly depends on how many we get,” he said. “We are always looking between four and six.”

While the department has received between six to eight applications in years past, Harman said the current interest level appears on par with the average.

RELATED: Fire official describes Sidney fire as ‘accidental’

RELATED: Saanich Peninsula rallies around Sidney family with young daughter after fire

Over the years, a number of small departments have raised concerns about recruitment levels, but Harman says it has not necessarily become more difficult to recruit volunteers.

“Once we put the word out there, we start to get the interest,” he said. “We always got people popping in, asking if and when we are going to take applications.”

Would-be volunteers must be 19 years old, live within the Town of Sidney or the catchment, a radius of five kilometres centered on Sidney’s Community Safety Building, and the time and ability to commit to the training,

“We will provide all the training in house and get them certified,” said Harman. “We just need people, who can commit to the minimum training requirement, which is a good three days a week. “

Harman said it takes about 15 months to meet the minimum certification requirement recognized across North America.

Before moving on to the training, would be volunteers go through an interview process and a physical fitness test, said Harman.

Over the years, applicants who became volunteers have moved on to paid positions elsewhere in the region and British Columbia, said Harman, something the department welcomes.

“We are actually seeing this as success, because they have come here, they have been educated, and now they have been able to actually move on to a career positions elsewhere,” he said.

Before that though, they will be joining a department of 35 (with seven of them paid as staff during regular working hours) with a strong sense of family, community and professionalism.

“We treat everybody like a paid professional,” said Harman. “Everybody is on the same playing field. We don’t have a divide in our department between paid and volunteer guys. At the end of the day, it’s one family, one job, one responsibility, which is to provide fire and emergency services to the residents in the Town of Sidney.”


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Local New Democrat Zeb King welcomed Premier John Horgan during a brief photo opportunity in Sidney Monday afternoon (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
NDP leader John Horgan predicts party will ‘flip’ Saanich North and the Islands

Incumbent MLA Adam Olsen calls Horgan’s claim ‘bold’

London Drugs at Colwood Corners is temporarily closed after a water main burst on Sunday afternoon. (Google Maps)
Water main burst temporarily closes London Drugs in Colwood

Staff say re-opening date yet to be determined after Sunday incident

West Shore RCMP say a single car crash into a power pole caused a power outage that affected over 1,500 residents in Colwood on Monday morning. (West Shore RCMP)
Vancouver driver cause of power outage in Colwood

Police detain 27-year-old man for impaired driving investigation

West Shore RCMP officers delivered dumped Amazon packages on Monday. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore RCMP deliver Amazon packages dumped outside mailbox

Officers take matters into their own hands ‘before mailbox pirates got to it’

The Capital Regional District spent $1.7 million to restore the Todd Creek Trestle. (Sooke News Mirror)
Todd Creek Trestle restoration completed

Restoration work adds 35 to 50 years to life span of the structure

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

(File photo)
RCMP: Two men face charges in reported Parksville fatal hit-and-run

Investigation into man’s death began in August of 2019

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Steven Michael Bacon pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder of Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang. (Photos submitted)
Accused pleads not guilty in Nanaimo teen’s 2017 murder

Steven Bacon appeared in Nanaimo court Monday via video link from Thunder Bay

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Kootenay couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Most Read