They are always there in our time of need, but who will assist the fire department when they are desperate for assistance? The official call has been made to residents of Drayton and Brazeau to lend a hand to the local fire department.
According to Tom Thompson, the local fire chief, the economy is taking a toll on the fire station. The number of members took a mentionable decrease over the past couple of years. The fire department is now in a position where less than 25 members are responsible for carrying the same workload that was done by 35 people not too long ago. The most significant contributing factor to the dwindling number of members is due to people moving out of the community, in search of better job opportunities. Then they end up living too far away from the fire department to be able to remain members.
The Work Load Which They Have to Deal With
Thompson stated that annually, the fire department is responding to roughly around 300 calls. Until now, they have been able to attend to each, and every request made to the department, but this does mean that the remaining members have a much heavier workload to carry.
The remaining members can’t keep up with the workload, and they are busy getting tired. The staff usually worked on a rotation basis where some members would be on duty to respond to calls weekly while others were off. That is not possible anymore with the lower numbers, and it means that often members don’t get any downtime. He also mentioned that this is causing excessive strain on these people’s personal and family lives.
The Call to Action
The plight of Tom Thomson is directed towards locals who can see their way open to become involved in the fire department to report for duty. He also mentioned that firefighters do get paid for their time. Hence this is not a volunteering request. Members also get paid for every call which they attend to, as well as for time spent on training and other functions which need to be completed at the fire department.
The Training Process
Before attending to any calls, new members will undergo 30 hours of compulsory training. For the next two years, they are then involved in the NFPA 1001 International Firefighter Training Program. When they qualify from this, they can work for any firefighting department globally. Thomson admitted to firefighting being a career with some risks, but when proper safety precautions are taken, it can be safe.
The fire department also has an excellent record over the past couple of years concerning safety. They also pride themselves in the fact that they do maintain a high level of security at all times and that there were no loss of life or any significant injuries for many years already at the department. Anybody living in the Drayton or Brazeau areas which can see themselves in helping out at the fire department is welcome to contact fire chief Thomson.