FAQs - Volunteer Fire Dept
To Join Our Volunteer Team
What are the requirements to join the Terrace Fire Department as a Volunteer?
- Be a resident of the City of Terrace, so that you can respond promptly;
- Have obtained a minimum of grade 12 or equivalent;
- Be a minimum of nineteen (19) years of age;
- Be able to meet the Fire Department's physical agility requirements;
- Be able to obtain a medical examination certificate proving you are fit to participate in firefighting activities; and
- Be prepared to commit the necessary time and effort involved in being a Volunteer Firefighter.
Is there anything else that will aid in my chances of being a successful applicant for the Fire Department?
Yes, obtaining one or more of the following will help your chances:
- Hold a valid first aid/CPR certificate;
- Hold a valid class 5 driver's license;
- Have an air brake endorsement certificate;
- Hold recognized certificates for firefighting courses;
- Live and/or work in locations in which response times would be beneficial to the Fire Department.
I do not meet all the above criteria - can I still apply?
Yes, we strongly recommend that you still fill out the application form.
Where do I obtain and send my completed application?
A copy of the Volunteer Firefighter Application form can be obtained from the Firehall (#3 - 3215 Eby Street), or:
Once completed, it can be mailed to:
City of Terrace
Fire & Rescue
#3-3215 Eby Street
If mailed, please mark the envelope with: "Confidential - Application" in the bottom left hand corner of the envelope. Or, you can drop off the completed application form at the fire station. Our office hours are 0800-1200, 1300-1630 hours, Monday to Friday.
I have filled out my application, now what happens?
All applications are passed on to the Volunteer Association. A Committee Member from the Association will normally call you in the first 2 to 3 weeks after you have dropped off your application, just to let you know it has been received. The application is then held until September and/or March, when you will receive a second call to see if you are still interested and still live in the area. All applications are brought to an Officers' Meeting and reviewed. Successful applicants are notified by phone and an interview is set up. From time to time, Volunteers are taken on during the summer months.
Should I include a resume with my application?
Yes, it definitely gives you the opportunity to make us aware of your capabilities and background.
I have been accepted for an interview, what can I expect?
The first step is the personal interview. The Interviewing Committee is comprised of the Fire Chief and a minimum of two members of the Volunteer Association Executive. The interviews are held at the fire station. The interview itself is a typical interview - both parties get a chance to ask questions and receive answers. You will be notified within the next week if you were successful to continue on to the next step.
I have completed my interview and I have been asked to come to the fire station for a job-related physical test, what can I expect?
We test basic job-related skills in this phase. We realize that you may not have any firefighting skills at this point, but it is not a big problem, we will take you through step by step. We are not testing your technical skills, but we are checking to see if you can physically do the skills required. We check three areas; the first is to see how you handle heights, the second is on upper body strength, and lastly, we check how you do in confined spaces. This is not a stress test, just a basic physical job-related test.
If I am successful with the physical testing, what happens next?
If you are successful in the interview and the physical testing, you are well on your way to becoming a Volunteer Firefighter. The last phase requires you to provide a current driver's abstract, a letter from your family physician stating that you can medically take part in the activities of a Firefighter, and finally a criminal records check by the RCMP. We have forms on file explaining what is required for both your family physician and the RCMP criminal records check.
I have delivered my driver's abstract, medical and criminal records check to the Fire Department, now what happens?
These three areas are reviewed by the Fire Department Administration. If favorable, you are accepted as a probationary Firefighter. The officer in charge of the "new recruit training" will set up the dates for the training and advise you when and where to attend.
How long does it take from the time I drop off my application until I am accepted to the Fire Department?
Applications are accepted any time during the year. Interviews are normally scheduled for September and/or March of each year; the physical testing is done in early October and/or April. Once accepted as a probationary member, the new recruit training will start shortly afterwards. This can change however; we may condense the time considerably depending on the time availability of both the Fire Department and the new members.
How much time will I be expected to contribute?
Members of the Fire Department are expected to attend 70% of the scheduled fire practices during the course of the year. Fire practices or training occur every Tuesday evening, starting at 1900 hours and normally go to 2100 hours.
New recruits are also expected to attend the "new recruit" orientation program. This training may be scheduled over a weekend or over a number of evenings. It is essential that all new recruits complete the basic Firefighter program.
When you are available, you are expected to be on voluntary call for any emergency calls that occur in the Terrace area. Generally, we would expect that a Volunteer would be able to attend at least 50% of the calls over a period of a year.
How many calls does the Fire Department respond to in an average year?
It depends on the year; hot, dry spring conditions usually increase our call volume substantially because of grass fires. An average year would be approximately 175-230 actual responses.
Am I expected to attend all emergency calls?
No. Although we encourage members to respond when available, it is our expectation that our Volunteer members would be available for about 50% of the fire-related calls.
I am not around all the time, or I work shift work, or at times I would just not be available to respond to calls or attend the training sessions, does this pose a problem?
No. Most of our current members also have similar times when they are not available for calls. However, the administration of the Fire Department watches this area very closely. If a member is not very active or does not attend many of the calls, they could be asked to step down from their position as a Volunteer Firefighter. This doesn't happen very often. We realize that your family and work comes first, all we ask is that you make an honest effort to attend as many functions and calls as possible.
I realize this is a volunteer Fire Department, but is there any compensation for attending practices or emergency calls?
No, there is no direct compensation for your time. The Terrace Volunteer Association does receive a monthly stipend, which is used by the membership to fund social events throughout the year. The City also pays for a life insurance policy for each active member.
I have never belonged to a Fire Department or never had any special training dealing with fire emergencies, am I wasting my time applying to be a Volunteer Firefighter?
No, definitely not. We have our own in-house training programs and practice sessions. This is an ongoing process within our Department. The more time you invest, the quicker you will learn. As stated before, a successful applicant will be expected to attend the "new recruit orientation training" - this will give you the very basics of firefighting. You will expand on your knowledge at the practices held every Tuesday evening. We also hold regional fire school courses on a regular basis. Over a period of three to four years, the training received will meet the professional qualification for basic Firefighter, as set out by the Province of B.C. and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). We teach these courses on weekends, trying to fit in everyone who wishes to participate. We cannot hold all the training locally due to cost restraints and because we do not have all the facilities available to do the specialized training. Occasionally people will be sent to Kitimat for their live fire training.
What type of calls do you respond to?
Terrace Fire & Rescue responds to highway traffic accidents, medical emergencies, hazardous material spills and, of course, fire calls. As a new Volunteer member, you would be required to concentrate your time learning to be a Firefighter. As you gain experience, you will be able to move into other areas of emergency response.
Is there any full time staff working on the Fire Department?
Yes, the Fire Chief, and eight full-time Firefighters and a part-time Administrative Clerk.
I am a little apprehensive about being the new kid on the block.
This is not a big problem - we usually try to bring a group of people on at one time. As a group, you will go through the recruit training no matter what your experience or background is. The instruction of the new recruit training is done by some of the Officers and senior Firefighters. In a short time, you will get to know all your fellow Firefighters. Firefighting is a vast and varied field of expertise - we don't expect you to learn it all in a short period of time. You don't become a Firefighter over night, and the members that are here now know that, so you do not have to worry about being asked to do something you do not know how to do. After your orientation, recruit training, and attending a few regular practices you should start to feel fairly comfortable with the whole atmosphere of being a Volunteer Firefighter.
What are the duties of a Volunteer Firefighter within the Fire Department?
As a Volunteer Firefighter you will:
Respond to emergency calls regarding fires within the Terrace Fire Protection Area;
- Respond from time to time to other fire areas as outlined in our Mutual Aid Agreement;
- Train towards professional qualifications for a Firefighter as set out by the NFPA standards;
- Be part of a team that keeps the units ready for the next emergency call;
- As part of a team, keep the fire station neat and tidy;
- You may be placed on a special committee to look after special projects such as communications or self contained breathing apparatus; and
- Other related duties.
How many Volunteer Firefighters are on the Department?
We maintain approximately 25 Volunteer Firefighters to provide coverage for the City of Terrace.
How long do you keep completed applications on hand?
Normally we will keep all applications for a six-month period.
Any other questions? Contact us.
If you have any questions regarding the process of becoming a Volunteer Firefighter, please do not hesitate in giving us a call at 250.638.4734.