Hats Off to Volunteer Firefighters!

| 2/7/2011 11:16:09 AM

Tags: community, volunteer, firefighting, Cam Mather,

When I lived in the city I never gave much thought to firefighters. I paid my taxes and knew that some of the money went towards paying for the fire service. I knew there weren’t enough female firefighters and I knew that our firefighters were well paid, as both of these topics were often covered in the local press. I got the sense that many firefighters love their job. A friend of ours in Burlington is a firefighter and he is enthralled with his work. He never switches it off. Once when we were at his house for a Bar-B-Q we suddenly heard the siren of a fire truck. He raced out to the road to watch them go by and was able to tell us where the truck was coming from and who was on it. You could tell he was wishing that he were working that day!

Our local fire station is right on the main road in town so you can’t miss noticing all of the activity that goes on there. You can see the guys training, washing trucks, drying hoses and that sort of thing. Again, I didn’t really give it too much thought. I mean what guy wouldn’t want to race around in a fire truck? Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to be the guy hanging off the back of a fire truck racing to a fire.

At some point I suddenly realized that our local firefighters are volunteers. Sure they get to drive their trucks in the Canada Day parade and blast the crowd with water guns, but they aren’t employed as firefighters. Apparently more was at play here. These are men and women who really want to help out their neighbors.

Tim Kidd owns our local video store and is a volunteer firefighter so I get the scoop on what’s happening from him. Car accidents, house fires… you name it. Recently, I asked him about their training. Basically every person on the crew can operate every piece of equipment. Since they never know who will make it to the call (i.e. who’s at work or away at any given time) they have to be able to do everything. The training is on going but the bulk of it seems to take the better part of six months, both days on the weekend when you sign up. I was thinking about doing it this winter but after the stressful time that Michelle and I have just gone through, I thought I’d wait until next year.

That’s Tim on the truck filling up the portable reservoir this past fall when there was a small electrical fire in the hardware store. Since it’s right across the street from his video store he didn’t have time to get up to the fire hall to get his gear on.

Fire Dept 4

 I think there is a real sense of camaraderie within a group like volunteer firefighters and I think I’d like to be part of that. I’d like to be better prepared to help my neighbors in a crisis. I know I’d have to get my first aid skills up to speed. When you’re 4 miles from your nearest neighbor and 40 minutes from the local hospital like we are, and you spend a lot of time operating things like chain saws, some basic first aid skills would be good. You can only learn so much about applying a tourniquet to stop the bleeding of a severed artery by watching movies like “Blackhawk Down.”

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