When disaster strikes, either in the form of bright orange flames or crushed vehicles, it’s Stettler’s volunteer firefighters who race to the scene and reach out helping hands.
Stettler Regional Fire and Rescue, which has stations in the Town of Stettler, Byemoor, Big Valley and Donalda, is always looking for men and women who want to volunteer their time and labour to this vital, life-saving task.
The Stettler station currently has 23 volunteers, a number that Fire Chief Mark Dennis hopes to see climb as high as 48.
“It’s a lofty goal,” he admitted, noting that it’s been about 15 years since the Stettler station has been able to list more than 30 volunteer firefighters.
Volunteer firefighters spend one week out of three “on call” between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., ensuring there are volunteers in the community able to handle emergencies as they arise. With the full 48 members, Dennis would be able to field another shift, which would allow him to make that on-call week one in four, or once a month.
The requirements of the job are relatively simple, he noted: applicants must be able to physically perform the duties of a firefighter, so a certain level of physical fitness is required. They must be over 18 years of age and have a driver’s licence. Three of the four Mondays in each month are devoted to training, so if volunteers can’t make those, “there’s no point in applying,” Dennis said.
It’s also important that applicants discuss their decision with their families and employers, since call-outs can happen at any time and can affect work and family.
“Some people can’t just get up and leave work,” Dennis noted. “Some people have more flexibility. Before deciding to apply, you should speak with your employer to ensure there’s enough flexibility.”
Application forms are available on the Town of Stettler website, at the town office, and at the County of Stettler office. Dennis said the curious should also watch the Stettler Fire Department’s Facebook page, where recruitment drives and information nights will be announced in the near future.