GNES to hold open house on Oct. 9 to recruit volunteer firefighters

Adam Prudhomme

Greater Napanee Emergency Services will be hosting an open house for anyone interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter, running Oct. 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Held at the Napanee station on 66 Advance Ave., the drop-in style event will serve as an opportunity to speak with current GNES members and ask any questions about what being a volunteer would entail.

“Basically we would go over what it’s like to be a volunteer firefighter but also explain the requirements and what we expect from a person as a volunteer and what we expect during the training process, the time involved with it and the commitment to it,” said GNES Fire Chief John Koenig.

Currently GNES has 44 volunteer firefighters on their roster between their three stations-that’s down about one third of the 64 they’d like to have on their team.

Volunteering brings with it a sense of pride in keeping the community safe-but it’s also a major commitment.

“When a person comes to us we tell them we expect their family to be number one priority, their work is their number two priority and we would like to be their number three priority,” said Koenig. “Commitment wise you’re looking at two hours a week for training, you’re also looking at you may have a week where we don’t have any calls and then all of a sudden you could have a week where you have six calls today, five calls tomorrow and they range up and down, they could be during the day time or you could have three calls from 1 a.m. till 4 a.m. It’s all over the road map. You basically need to be able to respond any time, unless they’re tied up with their family or their work place.”

New recruits get plenty of training-upwards of 70 hours over four or five months, before they are deemed fit to respond to a call.

Despite the challenges, Koenig says there are many people who enjoy the responsibility.

“The comradeship here and team spirit and most people love helping the community out,” said Koenig.

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