Truro Volunteer Fire Brigade hosting event in effort to generate interest
© Raissa Tetanish - Truro Daily News
Members of the Truro Volunteer Fire Brigade, from left, John Nolan, Amy Atkinson, Geoff Fisher, Arthur Chestnut and Ryan Geldart, will be hosting a Walk in Our Boots campaign at the Truro Fire Station on Saturday. The event will allow the public to try on gear, spray some hoses and compete in combat challenges.
TRURO - Hose relays and citizen combat challenges.
Those are just a couple of the things at the Truro Fire Station on Saturday during the Truro Volunteer Fire Brigade's Walk in Our Boots campaign.
Geoff Fisher, who is organizing the event this year with John Congdon, said the campaign started three years ago as a way to recruit volunteers.
"We had been running an ad for fire prevention week but it wasn't doing the trick in getting the volunteers," said Fisher, who joined the brigade in 2007. "We started this campaign but we've ramped it up a bit this year."
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the public is invited to the station on Victoria Street to check things out, try on gear and see how they fare in a combat challenge with the assistance of a volunteer.
"We've even managed to recruit the two mayoral candidates - Bill Mills and Keltie Jones - for a mayor's challenge. It's a fun challenge to try to draw a crowd."
Following a free barbecue, the public can participate in the combat challenge before the mayoral candidates go head-to-head.
"We can involve the citizens more this year than previous years, so if they want to come in and try on the gear and pack, they can," said Fisher, adding those activities will be held throughout the day.
With a total of 26 volunteers in the brigade, Fisher said it needs to expand.
"We're stretching everybody to the limit. We could use a few more willing bodies."
Amy Atkinson, 37, knows the opportunities the brigade offers, having signed up during the first Walk in Our Boots campaign.
"I remember seeing the ad for the campaign and jokingly said to my father, ‘Why don't we join?'" she said, adding her father wasn't able to, but said there was no reason she couldn't.
"You always hear about boys when they're young saying they want to be a firefighter when they grow up. That was not even something I dreamt that I would do.
"Everybody thinks you have to run into a burning building. I have trained to get to that point, but that wasn't something I wanted to do."
At the age of 24, Ryan Geldart joined the brigade two years ago.
"My father was a firefighter in Halifax, so firefighting has been in my life," said Geldart.
"It's the camaraderie of it. I was always welcome there and it was like walking into my second family."
Geldart had joined a brigade in Pictou County before moving to Truro for school.
"I enjoy a good challenge. It's always something different. I've had some amazing experiences - they can be so random. The differences in the calls keep it fresh and interesting and gives you a new perspective on life."
Joining the brigade in 2003, John Nolan said coaching sports for 22 years doesn't come close to being a volunteer firefighter.
"When you're running into a building when everyone is running out, it can't compare to anything else," said the 47-year-old.
"I love the aspect of the fire service. It's a challenge and you're always doing new things."
By joining the brigade, Nolan has had a chance to get his Level 1 certification, which gives him the same professional qualifications as many paid firefighters.
He also teaches at the provincial fire school.
"Actions speak louder than words. I enjoy it so much, I teach it," he said.
Walk in Our Boots schedule
10 a.m. - Hose relay, BA endurance challenge, ladder escapes and rescues.
11:30 a.m. - Skill and speed featuring Truro volunteer firefighters.
Noon - Free barbecue
12:45 p.m. - Citizen combat challenge (citizens pair up with a Truro Volunteer Fire Brigade member and run the course).
1:30 p.m. - Mayor's firefighter challenge (mayoral candidates Bill Mills and Keltie Jones go head-to-head in a combat challenge).
2 to 2:30 p.m. - PPE and BA relay, blind bottle challenge, wall and roof breech demo.
2:30 to 3 p.m. - Battle of the Stripes (Truro Fire Chief Blois Currie, Deputy Chief Alan Sutherland and Assistant Deputy Chief John Congdon compete for the Chief's Cup).
All day activities: confined space maze, aerial ladder climbs, dress the firefighter, nozzle sprays, touch-a-truck, information booth.