New Brunswick

KV fire department eases physical exams

The Kennebecasis Valley Fire Department is easing the physical demands of entry exams as a way to entice more volunteers to its force.

The Kennebecasis Valley Fire Department is easing the physical demands of entry exams as a way to entice more volunteers to its force.

Bill Ireland, the department's fire chief, says it has been struggling to attract new recruits in recent years as its grueling physical exams have discouraged people from trying out.

Ireland said those physical requirements will be eased for volunteers who are needed to fill roles beyond fighting fires on the front lines:

"We're looking for people who can help us out in more of a support capacity, not someone who wants to be the person breaking down the door and attacking the fire," Ireland said.

"But someone who can come to the scene and assist us with things like our air supply and our water supply, maybe help direct traffic at a scene, things like that."

Ireland said these jobs require a basic physical exam to qualify.

He said he hopes the move will boost the department's numbers to 38 from 17 and attract more women.

"We're certainly not representative of the community that we protect, and that's one of our goals is to move towards that," Ireland said.

"It's a challenge for any fire service. This may offer some opportunities that weren't there in the past, not to say that women can't perform that front-line role, but it's sometimes not as attractive as sometimes lending a hand in other areas."

The Kennebecasis Valley Fire Department covers 112 square kilometres, covering communities such as Rothesay and Quispamsis.

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