Asked by potential Volunteer Firefighter Recruits
Is firefighting dangerous?
Yes, it is a dangerous vocation. But, we provide our volunteer firefighters with the best equipment and training to avoid and reduce the risk of injury. Our volunteer firefighters are involved in all firefighting and rescue tasks but only after receiving proper training.
Are there any physical requirements?
Firefighting is a strenuous job, performed in hostile environments in extremely stressful situations. It is important that potential volunteers be capable of handling these stresses, both physically and mentally.
Frequent heavy lifting and other “heavy” work is required, all the while wearing approximately 80 pounds of protective equipment. Anyone who has acrophobia (fear of heights) or claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces) would not be suitable for the job.
We require a letter from a Physician stating that you are physically able to work as a firefighter, as a condition of employment and you must, as part of the recruitment process successfully pass a fitness evaluation.
Do I need previous Firefighter training or experience?
No, we will provide all necessary firefighting and first aid training. Any relevant past experience or training may help you in the selection process, but we do welcome applications from potential volunteers of any experience level.
Is this a paid position?
As a volunteer firefighter, you receive an honorarium, which is paid twice yearly providing you meet the attendance requirements of the Department. Under the Federal Income Tax Rules, $1,000 of that honorarium is TAX FREE. This is reviewed from time to time. Officers receive a slightly higher amount.
How much time is involved for training?
Our training program consists of a 12-week (two nights per week) Recruit Training Course at the PEI Firefighters School, Successful graduates of the recruit course will then join the regular training program, which involves a 2 – 3 hour practice session each Monday evening. Regular training sessions and meetings are conducted weekly excluding July & August. During the year some additional sessions could be held on a Saturday or another evening and occasionally on weekends. You will be required to attend 80% of all fire and training sessions. There is no out of pocket cost to volunteer firefighter for training or equipment OTHER THAN YOUR TIME! All equipment is provided free of charge. Emergency calls may happen at any time and Firefighters are expected to attend 80% of all calls. We are never sure of the frequency and length of the calls but on average, our firefighters log 143 hours per year. Both the alarms and training attendance are monitored. Sometimes due to job or illness there can be allowance but each case is judged on its merits.
What training will I receive?
The volunteer firefighter will be provided the following programs:
- Level I Firefighting Program, 84 hours each theory and practical received at the PEI Firefighters School.
- Hazmat Awareness Program, 16 hours
- Medical First Responder, 40 hours
- First Aid & CPR Training & WHMIS
- Auto Extrication
- Water Rescue Techniques
- Use of specialized oxygen equipment, extrication devices
- Fire Department Standard Operation Procedures
- In addition, specialized programs are offered as they become available, or time allows
How much time is involved for fire & emergency calls?
The City of Charlottetown Fire Department responds to approximately 580 Emergency Calls each year. Of these approximately 250 are answered by District Station #1 (Kent Street) and approximately 210 by District Station #2 (St. Peters Road). On the average, each of these calls is about 1 hour in duration, but obviously some are less and some are much more. Other calls are answered by engine 1.
What equipment is furnished?
As a volunteer firefighter you will be equipped with the following, owned by the Fire Department.
- 1 only voice pager & charger;
- 1 set of Bunker Gear (Turnout Coat & Pants);
- 1 firefighter’s helmet, gloves & nomex balaclava
- 1 pair of firefighters bunker boots;
- 1 Dress Uniform as per Department Policy;
Your dress uniform, will not be ordered until you successfully complete 1 year as per policy. At that point, you will be measured for your dress uniform. Upon your departure from the Fire Department, the dress uniform remains your property as per department policy. The remainder of your firefighting equipment remains the property of the Fire Department.
The above items are personally sized to you. Items such as Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus are shared by all members.
Am I insured?
As a volunteer firefighter, you are covered under PEI Workers Compensation from the moment you leave your home or place of business RESPONDING TO AN EMERGENCY until you return home or your place of business.
Life & Disability Insurance:
As a volunteer firefighter, the City of Charlottetown purchases a separate Accidental Death & Injury Plan, as well as a Life Insurance Plan. Details of these plans will be provided to you if your application is successful.
I live in a neighboring community. Can I still apply?
We ask that only those living in the City of Charlottetown apply. This is to ensure that a reasonable response time be maintained.
How do I apply for a volunteer firefighter position with the City of Charlottetown?
When the Department advertises for new Volunteer, you may pick up an application package at Station 1 located at 89 Kent St. In addition to a completed application, you will also need to provide a Police background check as well as a Driver’s Abstract. You may also wish to submit a detailed resume, although this is not a requirement. We ask that you possess, or be able to acquire, a 5-class driver’s license. In order apply.
Is there any restriction to becoming a volunteer firefighter?
- You must be a resident of the City of Charlottetown
- You must have a medical to the Fire Departments’ Standard
- You must have a criminal and driver’s license background check
- You must successfully complete the physical ability test, written exam and interview procedure.
- No facial hair other than a moustache. Beards are not acceptable as Self Contained Breathing Apparatus cannot be safely worn. In addition, hair must be kept at collar length for one simple reason: any hanging below can be burned!
What happens if I don’t meet the requirements?
If you don’t successfully meet the requirements of the physical ability test, interview or medical you may apply again in the future.
If I am successful when will I become a member of the Fire Department?
We will maintain a roster of successful candidates for one (1) year and from that roster we will fill any vacancies in the volunteer ranks. There is usually a turnover of about 2 volunteer firefighters per year.