Calgary firefighter recruiters look for diversity

Calgary Fire Department recruiters saw more than 100 potential firefighters show up at an information session Thursday night.

Recuriters say the job is physically and emotionally demanding

Calgary Fire Department recruiters created the slogan "You have the potential. Ignite it," and more than 100 potential recruits showed up at an information session Thursday night to see if they have that potential.

"I’ve always wanted to be a firefighter, since I was a kid and came to Canada, that’s what I want to do," said Michael Longman, adding he even had a shiny, red fire truck as a boy.

But he will have to go through hoops, literally, in order to realize his dream. Becoming a firefighter isn't meant to be easy, says recruiter Ken Wilson.

"It can be physically and emotionally demanding," he said. "From a physical perspective, you will work harder than you have ever in your life before."

Wilson says they get plenty of potential candidates, but he hopes they will better reflect the city’s diversity.

"We're hoping that different multicultural areas of Calgary, and also the multigender as well, will come out and take a look at these info sessions and consider the Calgary Fire Department as a career," he said.

Theresa Nielsen may not have had a childhood dream of being a firefighter but says the physical demands of the job don't intimidate her.

"I just finished an ironman and I’m training for an ultramarathon now, so it’s what I like," she said.

The fire department needs up to 60 new recruits as three new fire halls are set to open soon, with plans for another three a year from now.