The Vanderhoof Fire Department is getting a new fire truck at the end of February, 2019.(Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)

Vanderhoof Fire Department is looking for more members to join their team

The current strength of the team is 29 members

The Vanderhoof Fire Department is looking for more firefighters to join their team.

Fire Chief Ian Leslie said there are 29 members in the department right now and if possible, they would like to be up to 35.

“Last year the department total man hours for practices, training practices and all were at 6400 hours. Which is what the volunteers gave to the community,” he said.

Leslie said they seeking “highly motivated, quality team players that are willing to commit to being active within the department.”

Moreover, there is in-house training available for First Aid, Air Breaks, Class 3 Driver’s License Training. All equipment and training is paid-for, said Leslie.

“We meet three days a month for two hours or more for practices. We practice to the BC Government Playbook and we do our own modules with in-house training and we bring outside instructors when we need to,” he said.

The department is looking for volunteers available to work on long weekends as well and they have a stand-by list for the same.

“It is just a time commitment and we always say your family, your job and then the fire department,” Leslie said.

The application is open and people wishing to volunteer should stop by the Fire Hall and meet Fire Chief Ian Leslie.

The active firefighters are classified as volunteers but they are also classified now as paid-on-call, “so they get paid $10.25 an hour. We get paid once a year in the first part of December so it works out as a great Christmas bonus kind of thing. Pay range depends on factors,” he said.

Meanwhile, they are getting a new fire truck which is estimated to arrive end of February. The approximate value of the truck is $1.2 million and the Vanderhoof Fire Department has custom designed it to meet their needs.

The new fire truck has been built by Hub Fire Engines in Abbotsford, B.C.

“We had funding in place in our reserve of the Fire Department so we didn’t have to borrow anything further. We have to replace our fire trucks every 20-25 years, so we plan for that. Equipment is however, updated more regularly than that,” said Leslie.

In terms of fire calls the Vanderhoof Fire Department has responded to 34 calls between November 2018 and Jan. 31, 2019. This number includes calls for motor vehicle accidents and fires.

Leslie said this year round motor vehicle accidents tend to go up and his message to the community is to drive to road conditions out there.

“And in terms of home safety, make sure you have changed your smoke detectors and their batteries and it should be done every 6 months. Clean your chimney regularly,” he said.

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