Leo Grypma and Jeff Laine started with Nelson Fire Rescue as auxiliary members and while Grypma has since been promoted to a full-time career position

Nelson Fire Rescue recruiting auxiliary fire fighters

New recruits should be team oriented, physically fit, and able to stay calm in emergency situations. No fire fighting experience necessary.

Jeff Laine has attended some high profiles fires in the 10 years he’s been an auxiliary member of Nelson Fire Rescue.

The 44-year-old was part of the team that helped contain a major blaze at the Redfish Grill restaurant on Baker Street, and he was behind a hose spraying down the Kerr apartment block when it was engulfed in flame.

“When something really big is happening, that’s when the auxiliary gets called in,” said Laine, estimating he’s attended about a dozen fires over the years.

Nelson Fire Rescue is currently recruiting auxiliary firefighters after unusually high turnover this year, mostly due to members relocating for work, has left them with eight vacancies. Ideally the composite fire department would have 21 auxiliary members to assist its 12 career fire fighters.

Fire chief Simon Grympa said women and men interested in joining the auxiliary should be looking for a longterm commitment when they sign up. They need to be team oriented, physically fit, and able to stay calm in emergency situations. No fire fighting experience is necessary.

“We provide all the training they need to be certified as a Class 1 Fire Fighter,” Grympa said.

Gaining that accreditation through a school would cost around $7,000. Additionally, auxiliary fire fighters are provided with uniforms and turnout gear valued at $2,500 and paid $14/hour for the time they spend training or responding to calls.

“Given what we invest in training our auxiliary members, we really need them to stick around for at least a couple years,” Grympa said, though he does understand how getting a taste of fire fighting can make somebody want to do it full-time.

Many auxiliary members go on to jobs with fire departments in larger cities, and occasionally they can be promoted to a career position within Nelson Fire Rescue. Grypma himself started with the auxiliary in 1976 and moved into a career position two years later. His son, Leo, is the most recent hire of a career member and he worked six years as an auxiliary before his promotion.

“We don’t hire fire fighters very often, but when we do it’s always somebody from our auxiliary,” Grypma said.

There’s also a stable core of longtime auxiliary members who don’t want to be with the department full-time, like Peter Defoe who’s been on the auxiliary for around 35 years. Or Laine who is a heating and air conditioning mechanic by trade and said he got into fire fighting as a way to give back to his community.

“Being able to help people in an emergency situation and seeing their gratitude, it’s very rewarding,” he said, adding that he also likes the challenge and the urgency of the job.

“It’s a great opportunity to be able to help out when you’re really needed and still have a day job.”

If you’re interested in becoming an auxiliary member of Nelson Fire Rescue, application forms are available at the fire hall (919 Ward Street) and on the City of Nelson website, nelson.ca. The deadline for applications is October 23.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: L.V. Rogers sends off its grad class

Check out our pictures of the festivities

Nine fires burning in West Kootenay

All fires considered to be lightning caused.

Castlegar mayor releases FCM itinerary

Bruno Tassone delivers promised report on activities at Quebec City municipal conference

COLUMN: 1919 – Police chief reminds drivers of streetcar etiquette

Greg Scott takes us back to a century ago in the files of the Nelson Daily News

Nelson archers host meet

The Nelson Rod and Gun Club hosted 78 archers

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

Most Read