Jeremy Denny learned about community service as a child sitting by his grandfather’s knee as a group of Second World War veterans recounted their stories of hard work and sacrifice for the benefit of others.
Now 39 and a father of three, Denny is passing the family tradition of service to his community along to his children by being a firefighter for the Shuswap Fire Department at Hall #2 in Blind Bay.
“There’s this sense of responsibility that comes with this work. Someone has to do it, someone needs to do it – that’s the reality. And those who can do, should do,” says Denny.
Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) fire departments throughout the region are looking for new recruits to help contribute to the safety and security of their community and its residents. Certain participation levels are necessary to keep fire halls running safely and smoothly, which is especially key in rural areas like Nicholson, Falkland, the North and South Shuswap, Malakwa, Swansea Point, Ranchero and Silver Creek.
Denny says there is no better way to instill the value of community service in your children than modelling it first-hand.
“My children are all committed and understanding about what I do in the fire department. When my pager goes off, they want me to go. In fact, they will be the ones pushing me to go faster. They really see the value in stepping up to help.”
Both of Denny’s teenaged boys are now interested in the CSRD’s upcoming Junior Firefighter training program.
“I’m proud of that,” Denny says. “It’s great to see their interest and that they have that sense of doing something bigger than just yourself.”
While Denny says his commitment to the firehall can mean some late-night calls or needing to work with his employer on plans for taking time away during an emergency situation, he says most obstacles to being a firefighter can be worked out.
“It is something you need to discuss as a family and understand the obligations,” says Denny. “I’ve taken about every firefighter training course the CSRD has offered and all of them have the same philosophy: family first, then work, then the department… It’s very much appreciated because the priorities are in the right order.”
Denny also says many employers are more accommodating of this type of service than potential recruits may believe.
“Most talk around the halls about employers is very positive,” he says. “They understand what we do and they generally want to support that. They want firefighters to come if they ever have to make that call.”
CSRD firefighters generally train once per week at their respective fire halls and have some additional training requirements to fulfill as new recruits. Then there are many other opportunities for training to enhance a firefighters’ knowledge and abilities.
For more information on becoming a paid-on-call firefighter at one of the 13 CSRD fire departments around the region, email firstname.lastname@example.org or Sean Coubrough, CSRD Fire Services co-ordinator at 250-833-5955.