Firefighter training courses offeredPublished 7:02pm Tuesday, August 6, 2013
If you are interested in becoming an on-call member of your local fire department, now is the time to sign up.
Chief Larry Lamb, of Niles Fire Department, said classes necessary for on-call firefighters are scheduled to begin in early October. The Firefighter 1 and 2 Training courses are only available once a year in Berrien County.
“It’s important to sign up early,” he said. “There’s only about 30 spots so they fill up quick.”
Classes run twice a week from October through April, mostly in Berrien Springs.
It’s a big commitment, but Lamb said it is worth it for the right type of person.
“There is a lot of pride that goes with helping your fellow man,” he said. “Some people do it as a hobby, some like the excitement and others pursue it as a career opportunity.”
Niles currently has 16 on-call firefighters. Lamb said they’d like that number to be around 25.
“We could use 9-10 people if that were feasible, but it is difficult to find people with that amount of time to dedicated to this thing,” he said.
State law requires on-call firefighters to complete the Firefighter 1 course within two years of becoming an on-call member. Firefighter 1 is 152 hours and Firefighter 2 is an additional 75 hours.
Niles Fire will pay for the cost of the class. Most on-call firefighters receive financial compensation when they join a department.
Niles Fire runs about 1,200 service calls a year and on-call members are called to about 400 of those. On-call members are called out to structure fires, vehicle accidents and large manpower scenes, Lamb said.
Those interested in signing up should contact their local fire station.