The Lake Country Fire Department graduated a second batch of recruits through its in-house training program this past summer. Seven new members joined the ranks of volunteer firefighters who tend to the community’s emergency needs.
Assistant Fire Chief Aaron Weller teaches the in-house program. He speaks positively about the camaraderie that training new recruits together as a class has developed within the department. This year’s new members also seem to building the same sort of enthusiastic team spirit.
“I never thought I’d get to be such good friends with Aaron,” says Randy McMillan with good-natured insincerity, drawing a chuckle from his classmates and Asst. Chief Weller alike.
“We have a good time when we train but it is a serious job and everyone knows when it’s time to focus and get down to work,” says Weller.
Apart from the camaraderie, in-house training of members benefits the efficiency of the fire department in ways that outsourcing their education could not. The recruits now come into the department with 290 hours of training versus 42 hours. In an emergency situation that means the new members are immediately able to take an active role in the team’s response.
“Training in-house gives us more familiarity with the station’s equipment and the way it operates,” says Glen Gregory, another one of the new members.
For the hundreds of hours that the members put into their training they receive their Firefighter I and Firefighter II certifications. The pair of courses are the standard that professional firefighters across Canada are expected to have. The Lake Country Fire Department covers the costs associated with courses and in exchange the new recruits agree to serve a minimum of two years in Lake Country.
The new additions to the department are Brandon Marshall, Brian Joubert, Randy McMillan, Alex Wilkes, Glen Gregory, Brady Bloomer, Eric Bauld and Trevor Mertes. They bring the total number of members in the department to 55 with 26 based in Winfield, 16 in Oyama and 13 in Carr’s Landing.