The Fire Department in Nicholson is hoping to find some new volunteers who want to be involved with something that helps everyone in the community.
According to the Fire Chief in Nicholson, Markus Kellenberger, there are currently 17 volunteers who give their time to the department. Kellenberger is hoping to get that number up to 20 or 22 in the near future.
“It is a chance to do something for the community. If we were ever to lose the fire department the insurance rates would go up quite a bit because there wouldn’t be fire protection anymore for the home owners. It is important for us to maintain our fire department status.” he said.
Kellenberger has been a volunteer in the town for the past six years but his roots in volunteer fire departments goes back to his time living in Switzerland.
“At home (in Switzerland) I was a volunteer for 15 years before I came to Canada. I have been doing firefighting stuff for a long time so when I moved out here I had the chance to join the fire hall so that is what I did.” he said. “I was kind of volun-told back home (he said laughing). The community I grew up in every male between the ages of 18 and 50 had to be a part of the fire department.
He explained that even though it is a 100 per cent volunteer fire department things are being done to get some compensation for training and on-call hours for the group.
But one of the main reasons to joining up has everything to do with the group.
“There is great camaraderie. We do a lot of stuff together…I think for most of the people that is a big part of it. We get together at least once a week. After we have done all of the practice stuff we usually sit around and have a great time talking to each other. Once or twice a year we usually have a family barbecue. We go to one of the firefighters homes and we have all of the families together,” the chief said. “We go to the schools and talk to the kids. We are also already starting to do more fire prevention training for the public which is great because we get to interact with the public.”
Anyone interested in checking out the department can call the Chief at 250-344-0997 or drop by the fire hall after 7 p.m. on a Tuesday night.
“If they would like to come out they can just swing by the fire hall. If someone wants to come out and just see what we are doing and test things out that is a possibility too,” Kellenberger said.
“You do not have to be an athlete or a superstar. We need people to help us do many things like driving the trucks and running the pumps which are not such a difficult physical activity but they are important. We also have supporting roles where you just help get air tanks ready and make sure the crews get water. Every role is important.”