As the New Year dawns new experiences are the order of the day for a number of Lantzville firefighters.
Trevor Johnson, Cody Atter, John Westby, Shawn Bamford, Lane Pidskalney and Cherie Alyward joined the Hall in November and have already been “kitted out” with bunker gear, helmets and a variety of personal protective equipment designed to keep them safe on the job. But their training begins in earnest this month as they embark on an accelerated recruit program aimed at getting them ready for duty by the end of Spring.
Like his five fellow newbies, Trevor Johnson has plenty to learn. In fact, recruits take in such a heavy volume of material that it’s sometimes referred to as ‘drinking from a fire hose’, (Lesson #1 – never drink from a fire hose). But the 39-year-old father of one wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’ve wanted to do this for a long time,” says Johnson, a seven-year resident who owns and operates High Standards Overhead Door in Upper Lantzville. “My business is stable and now I have some time to give back. I want to be part of the community, as well as a role model for my son.”
Training on Thursday nights, the recruits will cover every aspect of firefighting, including studying fire behaviour, learning how to safely use ladders and rescue tools, when to use a straight stream of water or a fog pattern, how to search a structure for an occupant, or how to rescue a downed colleague. They’ll also be introduced to the social side of LFR, and begin to take part in the wide variety of activities undertaken by these community volunteers
Judging by his little one’s reaction, Johnson says he made the right decision to join. “Landon loves it,” he says with a laugh. “He’s already told me, when he’s old enough he’s going to join as well.”
In addition to new recruits, the New Year will see new skills put to use as five LFR members begin comprehensive fire inspections of local businesses.
Chief Tom Whipps, Deputy Chief John Marment, Lt. Randy Austin, Lt. Chris Knudsen and Firefighter Don Bayne recently earned their Local Assistant to the Fire Commissioner or LAFC certification. You may see these experts reconnoitering businesses throughout Lantzville, from the smallest home-based daycare to the warehouses of giants like Independent Diesel. They’ll arrange a time at the owner’s convenience to thoroughly inspect the property and recommend how to make it fire safe. For more information, call the Hall at 250-390-2811 and ask to speak with an LAFC.