Volunteer firefighters offered incentives

In a move to encourage local volunteer firefighters to keep up their training, town council approved an incentive pay program for them at its meeting earlier this week.
“Part of the recent issue of our volunteers not attending fire service training is the inability for them to find time for the courses due to work commitments,” Fire Chief Steve Richardson said in his report explaining the new pay program.
“Understandably, most are not willing to take vacation or sick time from their regular employment to attend additional/specialized fire service training,” he added.
As it stands, the town’s fire department restructuring plan has identified that volunteer firefighters must take several courses to maintain an adequate level of service.
These include a 36-hour DZ licensing course, a 40-hour pumper operation course, and a 40-hour auto extrication course.
The pumper operations course and DZ licensing were held this past fall with no success—only one volunteer firefighter signed up for each of these courses.
“To aid in offsetting the financial burden of a volunteer firefighter taking time off work to attend additional firefighting training, an incentive program needs to be put in place,” said Chief Richardson.
The plan will give a $400 bonus to a volunteer firefighter for successful completion of each of the three outlined courses. This is to aid in offsetting any possible loss of revenue from his/her place of employment when attending fire service courses.
Further, it will act as remuneration for any vacation time or additional family time lost for attending these courses, reasoned Chief Richardson.
And a volunteer successfully completing all three courses will receive an additional $300. This will aid in supporting the importance of the courses and the seriousness of maintaining an adequate level of service, he added.
Upon recommendation of the Community Services executive committee, council approved the volunteer firefighter incentive pay plan at Monday night’s meeting.