There are many facets of agricultural life that go beyond the actual farm, yet still have a very important role in our farming community.
Some of the 340 volunteer firefighters who serve Chatham-Kent
There are many facets of agricultural life that go beyond the actual farm, yet still have a very important role in our farming community. With most of us being raised in the city, we have full-time firefighters watching out for us and we are deeply thankful for their role. However, for those in rural areas, they rely on volunteer firefighters to protect and watch over them.
In Chatham-Kent, we have two stations in Chatham staffed by full-time firefighters, one in Wallaceburg that has full-time and volunteer firefighters, and then we have 16 fire stations staffed by volunteers. These stations are: Dover, Chatham North, Dresden, Chatham South, Thamesville, Bothwell,
Orford, Ridgetown, Harwich North, Erieau, Raleigh North, Raleigh South, Merlin, Blenheim, Tilbury, and Wheatley.
Chatham-Kent has approximately 340 volunteer firefighters. These people, who live and work right in our community, are ready at a moment’s notice to go in and risk their lives in order to protect others. This is certainly a high calling.
Firefighters obviously are there to fight fires, but they do so much more than that. They are trained in CPR and First Aid, and are called to assist in medical calls, traffic accidents, farm accidents and marine accidents. One of the challenges is to have these volunteers properly trained in such things as CPR, First Aid, Defibrillation (each fire station in Chatham-Kent has a defibrillator), dangerous goods and much more. This demands a very high degree of commitment from these firefighters.
Besides all this, these people have jobs. Many are farmers. Many work in our communities. They coach hockey, soccer and baseball to our young people. They help with fundraisers, bake sales and community projects.
To be a volunteer, a sacrifice of time is also necessary. Each volunteer has to attend 70 per cent of the training and 70 per cent of all emergency calls each year.
The good news in Chatham-Kent is that the number of fires and the dollar loss from fires has been trending down the last five years, but we all can do better. Make sure you have smoke alarms on each floor of your home and better yet, in each bedroom. Also, check the batteries on these units. While you are at it, buy a carbon monoxide alarm for each floor as well. The cost of these cannot even come close to the lives of our loved ones.
When we look at the business of farming, which this column tries to accomplish, let’s also remember those working to make this business of farming successful, such as the volunteer firefighters. The goal of the Chatham-Kent Fire Services is to have an effective, efficient, safe, and professional fire department all across our municipality. I believe we have this.
Speaking of volunteer firefighters, the Chatham-Kent Fire Services are looking to fill about 40 volunteer firefighter positions and are in the process of taking applications for all 16 volunteer stations. The recruitment will be open until March 8. Candidates interested are to submit an application form (the application form can be found in the job ad athttps://portal.chatham-kent.ca/Jobs/MunicipalJobs/Pages/MunicipalJobsList.aspx) and a resume to this address:
Chatham-Kent Fire and Emergency Services
Attn. John Praill, Assistant Chief
5 Second Street
Chatham ON N7M 5X2
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
To the 340 volunteer firefighters serving and ready to lay down their lives across Chatham-Kent – a huge thank you from all of us. You truly are heroes.