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Charlie Lake fire hall seeks new recruits

Service calls can include structure fires, car fires, and helping ambulance paramedics with heavy lifting
Deputy fire chief Ron Schildroth stands next to one of the engines inside the Charlie Lake fire hall. The department is hoping to add as many as 12 new volunteer members by year's end. Mar. 15, 2022

Charlie Lake’s volunteer fire department is looking for a few good men and women.

Candidates need to be 19 years old,  in good health, and have at least a Class 5 driver's license with a goal to acquire a Class 3 with air.

While it is a bonus, deputy fire chief Ron Schildroth says you don’t have to live right in Charlie Lake to be considered.

“We like to see everybody at about the 10-minute mark out, so anywhere in Fort St. John would pretty much work,” says Schildroth.

The first step, though, is to pick up an application package from the fire hall.

“It’s got a criminal record background check for the RCMP and a medical form that your doctor fills out,” says Schildroth.

Once that’s complete, prospective candidates go through a physical demands test, a circuit which includes a hose pull, dummy drag, sled drag, and a ladder climb.

There’s an identical 12-minute time limit for both men and women.

“It’s fairly intensive but, for the most part, most people can make it through,” Schildroth points out.

Candidates, he adds, will then move on to the next step – six months of firefighter training which begins in June and finishes at the end of December.

“If you pass your recruit program, you’re then given a pager and allowed to the ride the trucks. When I say ride the trucks, ride the trucks within limits. You’re not put into the hot zone, you’re strictly there as a helper, at that point,” Schildroth notes.

Service calls can include structure fires, car fires, and helping ambulance paramedics with heavy lifting.

For now, though, the department doesn’t respond to medical calls or highway and road rescues.

Outside skills are also a benefit to the department when it responds to calls.

“Medical training is always good,” says Schildroth. “Any trades are good. Building construction, automotive. Automotive, for example, if we do end up at a car fire, you know where all the latches and safety features are. Electrical, same thing, you know where to shut the power off.”

With a new May 2 deadline for completed applications, and a potential lengthy wait for an RCMP record check to be done, the department is recommending anyone interested pick up an application package as soon as possible.

Complete information on how to apply is available through the Have Your Say section on the Peace River Regional District’s website.

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