The North Oyster fire hall is part of a region-wide firefighter recruitment drive that will really kick into high gear this fall.

North Oyster fire hall recruiting

The North Oyster Fire Department is part of a regional volunteer recruitment drive that is set to kick into high gear this fall.

Ever thought of being a firefighter?

Your calling could be during a volunteer recruitment drive.

The campaign is set to kick into high gear this fall, but North Oyster’s fire chief signalled he’d gladly give duty details to prospective members and to people willing to help make a small promotional video for press use.

“We’re trying to create awareness,” Jason deJong said. “Some halls have trouble attracting new members, keeping them, or both.”

North Oyster is part of a drive that includes the Malahat, Honeymoon Bay, Sahtlam, Youbou and Mesachie Lake halls. Each will host open houses in September or October.

Those, and some other departments, need about a third more members.

DeJong’s hall has 20 members. Ideally, he’d have 30.

“We want to create awareness for everyone,” said the 15-year chief, with his total 21 years service at North Oyster’s hall.

“We want to take a proactive, positive approach — long-term too.”

The idea is to attract prospective firefighters wanting to give to their community.

“Everyone has different satisfaction criteria,” said deJong, who joined North Oyster at age 18.

“Back then, I couldn’t wait to get to the fire,” he said, noting others get stoked steering the fire truck, handling hoses or flexing the Jaws of Life.

Halls train firefighters in first aid and many other skills.

“The consensus is that we need stable people from the community, someone who has time for this work.

Firefighting consumes a good chunk of your life, and you need the time commitment for that,” deJong said.

For more, call deJong at 250-245-5111, your local fire hall, or the Cowichan Valley Regional District at 250-746-2500.

Ladysmith Chronicle

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