Community struggling to recruit firefighters
A small community in western P.E.I. is having a difficult time getting the volunteers it needs to keep its fire department going.
There can be busy evenings at the Wellington Fire Department. On Sunday night its 16 members responded to three calls.
"There is a newer generation, and a lot of the young generation don't want to commit to all of the hours that are required to be a volunteer firefighter," said Desmond Arsenault, communications officer for the Wellington Fire Department.
On top of his full-time day job, Arsenault volunteers at least four hours a week at the fire department. And there is more to it than just responding to calls. Hours of training have to be put in as well.
"As much as we are a volunteer organization, we must be professional," said Arsenault.
"We respond to some very high risk situations, and we need to be aware of what the risks are."
The lack of volunteers is not an Island-wide problem. The much larger community of Cornwall, just west of Charlottetown, is not having a problem. Fire Chief Kirby Wakelin said many recruits apply there because of the larger station and state-of-the-art resources.
"With a smaller community, they have smaller funds coming in that can't do a whole lot," said Wakelin.
Wakelin said smaller departments might fare better if the government providing the funding to purchase better equipment.
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