Whitehorse Fire Department Information for Volunteer Firefighter Applicants V4

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1 Whitehorse Fire Department Information for Volunteer Firefighter Applicants V4 The fire and rescue service is a very diverse and challenging endeavour. However, it is not for everyone. This information package will introduce you to the job of the modern firefighter and to the requirements necessary. The Whitehorse Fire Department provides professional service from a membership of highly trained and motivated male and female firefighters. The commitment is extensive and so can be the rewards. If you believe that you have the commitment, time, skills, physical ability and desire, then please read on. Why Become a Volunteer Firefighter? There are many good reasons for becoming a Volunteer Firefighter. Being a firefighter is a challenging, satisfying and rewarding experience. There is a special connection between firefighters that can t help but be developed when you have a group of members that, on a moment s notice at any time of day or night, turn up to help a neighbour. Friendship and camaraderie are a big part of being a firefighter and are reflected in the department s social functions. One of the biggest benefits of becoming a volunteer firefighter is the enormous amount of training provided. Training provided to the firefighters is not just applicable to firefighting; it is useful in all aspects of a person s life, including other occupations and home life. Some of the training offered to volunteer firefighters includes: -Firefighting and Rescue Skills -Defensive Driving -Leadership -Conflict Resolution -Fire Prevention and Education -Operation of hand and power tools -Operation of fire pumps and water systems -W.H.M.I.S. -First Aid -Fire Extinguisher -Operation of hydraulic rescue tools -Hazardous Materials -Confined Space and Rope Rescue -Fire Investigation

2 Fire Department Background The Whitehorse Fire Department is A proud and committed organization, dedicated to proactively providing compassionate and responsive service. The Department is dedicated to the protection of life, property and the environment by providing fire prevention and suppression services, public education, hazardous materials response, rescue, and first aid. The Fire Department was originally formed in 1901 after rapid growth in the area. Initially, all the firefighters were volunteers and, like today, they were from all walks of life. The Whitehorse Fire Department can proudly claim having Robert Service as a member for a short period of time. For the first forty years of the Department s existence, steam-powered pumps and handdrawn hose reels were the mainstay of the Department s firefighting equipment. In 1942, Dowland Construction one, of the main contractors on the Alaska Highway Project, purchased a brand new Ford fire truck for the citizens of Whitehorse. The new truck was the first motorized equipment owned by the Department. In 1950, the Territorial Government granted the status of city to Whitehorse. Since then, the Fire Department has been operated by The City of Whitehorse. The Whitehorse Fire Department has continued to grow and develop into the department that exists today. As we move forward in the 21 st Century, the Department is placing more and more emphasis on fire prevention, including wild fire abatement, public education, pre-emergency planning, and fire inspections, to reduce the number of destructive fires that occur each year. Mutual Aid agreements with surrounding Fire Departments enhance the suppression services available to the citizens of Whitehorse and the adjacent areas. The Department is also involved with Emergency Measures planning to prepare for those situations that may overwhelm the local resources. The Whitehorse Fire Department is comprised of both Career and Volunteer Firefighters. The department break down is as follows: -Fire Chief -Fire Prevention Officer -Training Officer -4 Platoon Chiefs -4 Fire Captains -12 Career Firefighters -Approximately 30 Volunteer Firefighters The Department operates out of two fire halls. Fire Hall #1 is located at 2nd Avenue and Wood Street next door to City Hall, and Fire Hall #2 is located at Two Mile Hill and Range Road in Takhini. Fire Hall #1 is equipped with one pumper and a rescue truck. Fire Hall #2 is equipped with one pumper, a 2000-gallon combination pumper-tanker, a 1000-gallon tanker, a1500-gallon tanker, a 75-ft. aerial ladder truck and a 4X4 utility/command vehicle. Fire Halls are staffed 24 hrs/day on a rotational shift pattern by a normal complement of five members on duty, three in one hall and two in the other, with volunteers providing backup for all responses. The Whitehorse Fire Department responds to approximately 500 to 600 incidents per year. This works out to an average of 5 to 10 calls per week and fluctuates throughout the year.

3 Duties and Expectations of a Volunteer Firefighter Training: As a member of the Department, volunteer firefighters are expected to report to regular or special training sessions as often as possible and must meet the department s minimum attendance requirements of 75% to insure that all firefighters maintain a safe level of training. Responding to calls: When available, members can be called on to provide the following services to the community: Fire suppression: Structural Firefighting Vehicle Firefighting Wildland Firefighting Assisting Airport Fire Department with Aircraft Firefighting Flammable Liquid and Compressed Gas leaks or fires Rescue: Auto extrication at Motor Vehicle Accidents Rescuing entrapped people form: Fire, Collapsed Buildings, Machinery, Confined spaces, Rope rescue and a variety of other situations. Assisting Airport Fire Department with Aircraft Crash Rescue Assisting Ambulance Service when requested Hazardous Materials Response: Responding to hazardous materials incidents that occur in the city. Fire Prevention/Public Education: Providing fire safety education to the public and operating the Fire Safety House to teach fire safety to schoolchildren. Participating in Fire Prevention Week activities. APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS years of age or older 2. Resident of Whitehorse or Work in Whitehorse (if available during working hours) 3. Available to attend training sessions 4. Legally entitled to work in Canada 5. Yukon Class 5 Driver s Licence 6. Good Driving Record (More than 6 demerits in the last three years is considered excessive. Driver s Abstract no more than 3 months old must be provided) 7. No criminal or summary convictions that would adversely affect public trust 8. Good physical and mental health Preferred Qualifications 1. Class 3 Driver s Licence with Air Brake Endorsement 2. Previous Firefighting experience 3. First Aid training and experience 4. Construction or building experience 5. Experience operating heavy equipment or driving commercial vehicles 6. Ability to respond during normal business hours.

4 Things to consider before applying Time Commitment: Prospective members must be aware of the time commitment required to be a member of the department. There is a large base of knowledge and skills that must be acquired and maintained to be a firefighter. To keep the recruit training program to a manageable length it is condensed into an intensive three-month program. The recruit program requires about 12 hours a week of training plus 3-4 hours a week of home study. Once recruit training is completed all members are expected to attend regular training, about 3 hours a week on Tuesday nights. Fires and emergencies do not follow a schedule or stop during holidays. Although there is no mandatory schedule as to when volunteers must be available there is a constant need for volunteers, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Members are asked to be oncall a minimum of 100 hours per month. Obviously a person can t be available all the time and you are not expected to be. Volunteer firefighters are expected to be available to respond to calls as often as their time will permit. To form a realistic view of what it is like to be a volunteer firefighter it is also important to realise that the department attends a number of small fires and false alarms in a year. During some of these calls volunteers may be called upon but then not required or only required to standby at a fire hall. It is important to discuss these various time commitments with your family and ensure they understand that you may have to attend a call in the middle of the night or at some other inconvenient time. Safety: The safety of our firefighters is the Department s number one priority. The Fire Department goes to great lengths to ensure the safety of all our firefighters. There are stringent safety procedures and regulations for every aspect of firefighting. Due to the many safety precautions that are taken, firefighters are no more likely to be injured while firefighting than doing any other similar strenuous physical activity. The risk factor in firefighting comes from unknown conditions. Firefighters respond to a large variety of emergencies in many different situations and buildings. Some situations or buildings may contain unknown conditions. These unknown conditions can present a risk to firefighters. All activities completed at the fire halls and during training are conducted in a controlled environment thus eliminating most of the unknown risks. In general firefighting is made as safe as possible, although there is an element of risk in becoming a firefighter and you must consider these risks and discuss them with your family. Situations you may have to face while carrying out the duties of a firefighter include: Working at heights or confined spaces Working around lakes or rivers Dealing with injured or deceased victims of all ages including children and possibly people you may know.

5 Selection Process Revised Process Starting 2006 Application Submission Application forms and information packages are available from the Fire Halls, City Hall or on the Fire Department s Web Site. Application forms should be submitted when attending the Aptitude and Physical Fitness testing. (Check newspaper ad for time, date and location.) Aptitude Test A limited time written exam, testing for mechanical aptitude and life skills. Physical Fitness Testing This stage will assess the following components directly related to abilities required for firefighting. Arm/grip strength Upper body strength Coordination Endurance The above items are assessed utilizing the following evolutions as part of a timed exercise (applicant will wear full turn-out gear and SCBA bottle) The exercise is timed only to insure it does not take the applicant an excessively long time to complete the exercise. A fast time does not indicate a higher score. Applicants will be evaluated on their ability to complete the tasks correctly and safely as instructed by evaluators: Task not timed: - 75-foot ladder climb at a 65 deg. Angle Tasks timed: - Carry a hose load ( /4 hose 42 Pounds) up 4 levels of stairs - 40-foot hand raise of a 2 ½ hose roll attached to a rope (45 Pounds) - Advance 100 feet of fully charged 1-3/4 hose - Forcible entry simulation (using sledge hammer) foot victim/dummy drag (180 to 200 lbs) Application Review A membership committee made up of Fire Department members will review Aptitude, Physical Fitness results and evaluate the applications based on how the applicant meets the Department s requirements such as availability, related training and life experience. Interview Selected applicants will be contacted to set up a time and date for an interview. The interview will consist of a pre-determined series of questions covering areas such as employment, experience, related skills, availability, interpersonal skills and stress management. Successful applicants will be contacted and informed as to when training will begin. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified in writing by mail.

6 Recruit Training Basic Training All Selected Candidates will proceed through a three-month recruittraining program regardless of previous training or experience. The training consists of 3-hour classroom training sessions on Wednesday evenings and 8-hour practical training sessions held on either Saturdays or Sundays. There is some homework in the form of reading assignments. There are written exams and practical evaluations. Recruits will be continually advised of their progress throughout the training program. Probation Period On successful completion of basic training, new recruits will be placed on probation, issued a pager, and will begin responding to calls. Recruits will be expected to attend the regular Tuesday night training sessions as well as any other special training sessions needed to meet the Departments requirements and complete the probation period. Other training provided during the this period includes: Driver Training Pump Operator Training Aerial Ladder Operation First Aid Training Auto Extrication Upon completion of the probationary period, the member will receive a final evaluation. Consideration will be given to a review of issues such as performance, attendance, progress, attitude, skill acquisition, and interpersonal behaviours. Based on the final evaluation, the member may be made an official member of the Department or have the probationary period extended.

7 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Q. If I have prior fire/rescue experience will it count toward the training requirements? A. It will likely reduce the amount of time required to master the skills but due to differences in procedures and equipment all members must complete the training in order to demonstrate proficiency. Q. Can I apply for a full time fire fighter position? A. Currently the fire department fills vacancies for full time fire fighter positions from the current pool of volunteer members first. Q. What if I get injured at a fire? A. Volunteer Firefighters are covered by workers compensation when working for the Fire Department. Q. Is there a social aspect to the Fire Department? A. Definitely. The membership engages in numerous social functions each year. We strongly believe that camaraderie is a vital component to a successful department. Q. Will I be paid for my work as a fire department member? A. Yes. Volunteer Firefighters are paid for attending calls and regular training once they have successfully completed the basic training program. For more information contact Training Officer - Warren Zakus at during normal business hours. Updated Dec, 2005

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