Five new recruits of the Fernie Fire Department were decked out in full fire protective gear on Wednesday, June 17 when they were officially welcomed to the staff.
The class of 2015 is comprised of Justin Surine, Tyson Schmidt, Kyle Owen, Chris Noob and Brad Filgate.
“We’re training them in the fundamentals of starting as a firefighter. We do ladders, hoses, fire hydrants and breathing apparatus training and more,” explained training officer Brendan Morgan of the day’s activities.
The lineup of recruits will continue their training over the next six months, at which point they will become fully-fledged auxiliary firefighters.
Morgan described the state of the Fernie Fire Department as a “revolving door” of these volunteer firefighters.
“Because of our community and the way it is, we lose our auxiliary or volunteer firefighters to career departments. That’s how we are here, we have six career plus a chief and 20 auxiliaries,” explained Morgan who also noted that with the amount of time necessary to commit to the job, it can be difficult for people with families and different lifestyles to sign up.
Having lost three auxiliary personnel this year, Morgan said that hiring the five new recruits was of utmost importance.
“It’s so important to bring in these new auxiliaries … A lot of them have done mine rescue or worked in forest fire and have had a previous interest in fire fighting. It’s a great group of guys,” he said.
Three of the recruits are from Fernie, two are from Ontario and one from Saskatchewan.