Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue is launching a major new recruitment drive urging people who live and work in Fruitvale, Montrose, Genelle, Warfield and Rossland to join the team.
Community-minded people from all walks of life are encouraged to apply as paid on-call firefighters (POF) to help save lives and support fellow officers who respond to emergency situations across the district 24/7.
The campaign drive features local POFs speaking about the job, sharing their experiences and unique backgrounds, aiming to inspire a new wave of recruits to follow their footsteps.
Lieutenant Emily Rindler, mom of two, was the first female paid on-call firefighter to join Rossland Station 371 and stay longer than one year. Over the last six years she has risen within to become one of the highest-ranking women in the regional fire service. Rindler has seen much change in that time.
“It’s less about gender and more about a group of really good people doing a bunch of really good things. Yes, there are more men than women but the dynamics are brilliant, the people are amazing and you never stop growing,” says Rindler, who juggles firefighting duties with her daytime job at the City of Rossland.
When asked why she initially signed up, Rindler shared, “I really like hands-on work, getting to know people and serving the community. At the time, I didn’t know it was a paid position, as that didn’t matter to me but I’ve learnt so many fantastic life skills — you just can’t get that sort of training anywhere else.”
On the other side of the valley is Montrose Station 375. This firehall is hoping to attract the largest number of applicants throughout its response area, which stretches from the Walmart intersection to Bluebird Road corner near Fruitvale.
“Our paid on-call firefighters are integral to our team and help us protect our communities. They are people just like you and if they can be firefighters, then you can be too,” says Paul Marrandino, a Teck pipefitter and seven-year POF for Montrose. In June, Marradino will head the Montrose firehall as station officer.
Kelton Kinch, 20, is the youngest regional POF. He balances his role at the Montrose firehall with being a full time business student at Selkirk College and a manager at McDonalds.
“I love helping people and being that positive change for someone in my community on what could be the best or worst day of their life, “ says Kinch. “I thought my age would be a problem when I first signed up and I wouldn’t fit in because here I was, the youngest kid, joining such a close knit, established team but from the very first day I opened the door everyone was so welcoming. My age just didn’t matter.”
On-the-job training takes place once a week in local fire stations from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“If you’re looking to become a career firefighter or want to add some purposeful work in your life, I think it’s a great thing to be a part of,” says Travis Allen, a 30-year old Teck shift worker who had no prior respective experience before becoming a paid on-call firefighter. “The adrenaline rush you get from hopping in the fire truck and pulling up to a call is pretty cool. With experienced firefighters looking to retire over the next couple of years and the training for new ones already underway, now is a great time to jump on board and join us to become part of our team.”
Applications and enquiries for each station are via the fire department’s headquarters in Trail, located at 843 Rossland Ave. Interested candidates are encouraged to: visit the regional district’s website, rdkb.com/careers; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or telephone 250.364.1737.