The desire to help others is a consistent attribute for volunteer firefighters.
“You’re helping someone at arguably one of the worst points in their life, and you’re trying to make it better for them,” said Scott Pipe, Norfolk’s deputy fire chief. “I think it’s a very noble thing when neighbours come to help neighbours.”
The Norfolk County Fire Department is looking for people willing to help out by becoming volunteer firefighters.
“It is a time commitment, we want to make sure that that’s perfectly clear,” said Pipe. He said they are looking for people that are able to respond to a 2 a.m. pager and still be able to go to work in the morning.
There is a lot of training involved to become a volunteer firefighter, but that training is covered by the department and travel costs to the training are reimbursed.
“We’re looking for the right people who understand the value of giving back to the community, and this is an incredible way to give back,” said Pipe.
A couple of firefighters were at the station last Thursday morning to share their reasons for choosing to volunteer.
“It’s very rewarding,” said Doug Rixmann, a volunteer firefighter in his sixth year. “It’s really just being able to get out there and help people. Whether it’s a car accident, fire, or someone who is just unsure why their alarm is going off in the middle of the night, being able to reassure them that everything is OK.”
Rixmann had previously volunteered at another station and when his work moved him from Brantford to Simcoe he decided to join the Norfolk hall.
Marcia VanHaverbeke, a first-year volunteer, echoed the sentiments of wanting to help.
“If (someone) is sitting on the fence considering it, if they have the time to commit and they want to help others, they should absolutely do it,” she said. “It can be very rewarding, it can be challenging and exciting, but I find it quite rewarding to help others in their time of need.”
Applications will be accepted until Sept. 4. There are 22 positions open spread across Delhi, Langton, Port Dover, Port Rowan, Simcoe and Vittoria.
“We’re very fortunate that people volunteer, I think some people just don’t realize that it’s an opportunity that’s there,” said Pipe. “People who moved to Norfolk County don’t understand that this area is serviced by a volunteer fire department. I think that’s a great testament to the professionalism of our firefighters.”
All of the people in full-time positions at the headquarters began as volunteers at the station.
More information on the application and training process can be found on the website at norfolkcountyfire.ca.