The Hay River Volunteer Fire Department needs five more firefighters.

The department hopes to fill the openings during a recruitment event Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. at the community fire hall.

“What we would consider a full board for us would be around 35 members, and we’re sitting at around 30 right now,” said Hay River Director of Protective Services, Travis Wright.

Refreshments will be served before a short presentation on the department, its history and the services it provides, “and then we’ll bring them up to speed on how much we do call-volume wise and what the expectations are from the department,” he said.

The Hay River Volunteer Fire Department is comprised of paid, on-call members who do a number of important jobs to ensure the safety of the community. In addition to fighting fires, they also perform rescues and offer ambulance services to Hay River and surrounding areas.

From learning life-saving first aid techniques to using specially designed firefighting gear while dowsing flames, membership opens the door to free training and certification opportunities that can be used toward a professional firefighting career or employment as an EMS worker.

“That’s a huge benefit to me,” said Wright. “We train to the NFPA 1001 professional standard, which is recognized internationally. It’s the same training that’s required for individuals to be firefighters in the city.”

“On top of the professional training, there’s a lot of life experience you can get out of being a part of this department,” he continued. “There’s being part of a team and a social community as well, but there’s work that goes along with that and a workload that needs to be handled by the group.”

While applicants don’t need to pass a physical test, they must be at least 18-years-old and meet basic fitness standards.

Those interested undergo “an interview process with two officers who talk to the applicant about their reasons for joining, and there are lots of great reasons to join,” said Wright.

He adds that doing so comes with big responsibilities as Hay River has “a busy department,” but there are no “hard and fast rules,” regarding time commitments.

“We try to be understanding of everyone’s different life situations,” said Wright. “Especially as a volunteer department, it’s hard to place the same expectations on every individual, but we try to have a general expectation that you’ll be showing up to meetings and your maintenance nights and participating in training and also in the calls.”

“Everyone has different life commitments, and balancing that can be a challenge for any volunteer department,” he continued.

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