Georgetown fire chief calls for high school firefighting course
Reading, writing and firefighting suggested as way to revive volunteer ranks
Adding a firefighting credit in high schools could address the ongoing volunteer firefighter shortage on P.E.I., says Georgetown Fire Chief Mark Gotell.
Many older volunteers are retiring, while others have headed out west for work, according to Gotell.
"I really think we have to look at different avenues to get young people involved," he said.
"You know, there are a lot of fire departments that have older members and somebody has to step up to the plate and be willing to serve their communities in order to continue having rural fire departments."
Gotell said Grade 12 students on P.E.I. can already take external credit courses that include non-traditional learning such as ballet, the army reserve, sports and 4-H.
He got the idea from a CBC story this past summer about the Lunenburg, N.S., council passing a resolution asking that province to do just that.
Volunteer fire departments would provide all the training at no cost to schools, and students who choose to take part could earn a credit while learning all the ropes.
Gotell recently brought the idea to Georgetown council, and Mayor Lewis Lavandier agreed a credit course might help with recruiting.
The mayor said council will discuss the issue at its next meeting, and will likely forward the request to the province.