Anyone can be a volunteer firefighter, and North Dundas needs more!

Local firefighters prepare to race Sparky in a shopping cart in Winchester in June 2018. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

Inquire at station open house events June 3

NORTH DUNDAS — This rural township relies on an all-volunteer squad of about 120 firefighters with the very serious task of responding to fires and other incidents. And you could be one of them, as the fire service is continually looking for new recruits.

As volunteers, the firefighters in North Dundas may not be “professionals,” though they are, in fact, compensated by the hour on fire calls. And they do end up well trained in the art of being first responders and fighting fires.

All are ready to leave their regular jobs and domestic life at the drop of a hat — 24/7 — a sacrifice balanced by the knowledge that they are assisting their communities and saving lives, in an atmosphere of camaraderie and active adventure.

Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

With a growing township population often drawn from urban areas where folks may take their professional city fire services for granted, the North Dundas Fire Department wants new residents in particular to know that things are different in this rural municipality: They, too, should consider joining up as firefighters, says Dave Lannin of the Chesterville Station, one of four sites hosting a recruitment open house this Monday evening, June 3.

Lannin says there’s an estimated turnover of about 10 percent of the local firefighting force each year, and the department needs everyone to be aware of this important opportunity to serve the community at a critical task.

“We want to want to make it make it clear that anyone can be a volunteer — shift work, full time workers, medics, social workers, self employed, dry wallers, electricians, etc.,” says Anne McLean, another Chesterville firefighter, echoing Lannin. McLean also emphasizes it doesn’t matter if candidates are “new to the area or have been here for generations.”

She points out that local firefighters also conduct home inspections, take part in fire prevention educational campaigns, help out at local fairs, festivals and demolition derbies, as well as assisting with charitable campaigns such as the annual boot drive.

She also assures those intrigued by the possibility that they don’t need to be educated as a firefighter to apply because the department trains in-house.

The open house event runs 6 to 9 p.m. at the township’s four primary fire stations: 1 Industrial Drive, Chesterville; 21 Russell St., Morewood; 2947 Lough Rd., South Mountain; and 547 St. Lawrence St., Winchester.

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