Paul Liddle

Firefighter recruitment drive in Chilliwack

Tuesday is the last day of a recruitment drive for paid-on-call firefighters in the Chilliwack area.

Tuesday is the last day of a recruitment drive for paid-on-call firefighters in the Chilliwack area.

Some who answer the call are looking for a career in fighting fires, but others are just looking for a challenging way to give back to their community.

Take Paul Liddle, for instance, a 53-year-old Ryder Lake resident who drives a school bus.

Three years ago he decided to become a paid-on-call firefighter to protect lives and property in the Ryder Lake area.

Why?

When he turned 50, he said, he was struck by the thought that “so many of our community services are dependent on volunteers.”

“But, so far, my life had been all about me,” he said. “If everybody was like me, we wouldn’t have community services … not even an effective firefighting force.”

“It was about time I did something about it,” he decided.

Liddle knew Ryder Lake needed firefighters, and when he saw a recruitment sign, he knew what that “something” was.

But would they want a 50-year-old guy, in good physical condition, but not one of those muscular young men he’d seen on firefighter calendars?

“I was 50 years old,” Liddle said. “I might be in good shape for a 50-year-old, but I couldn’t compete with that.”

Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Ullyot said the fire department can “train anybody with a good attitude” and the recruitment drive is on for men and women 19 years or older to become paid-on-call firefighters.

There is a fitness test that includes a two-mile run.

“You don’t have to sprint – but you do have to finish it,” Liddle said.

He recalled his run, and another older recruit who was overtaken and passed – twice – by a younger recruit.

“He must have set a record,” Liddle said, but after completing the run the young recruit teamed up with the slowest guy struggling around the track and started running alongside him to encourage him on.

“This young guy now is on the career staff – that’s the kind of people the fire department wants,” he said.

In fact, team spirit is the most remarkable thing Liddle has seen in his three years with the fire department.

“I can’t emphasize that enough,” he said. “I’m just amazed by the amount of team spirit. Everybody cares about everybody else.”

You don’t have to give up your day-job to be a paid-on-call firefighter – but you do need to respond to a fire call “when you reasonably can,” he said.

Like anyone would if they saw a neighbour’s house on fire.

“The fire department is all about community,” he said.

For more information, call Captain Rick Meeres at 604-792-8713 or email him at meeres@chilliwack.com

Just Posted

UPDATE: Incident along train tracks shuts down Eagle Landing Parkway for several hours

The Chilliwack Progress has reached out to RCMP for further details

VIDEO: Fire destroys Chilliwack home on Bearstone Place

RCMP comfirm everyone got out of the house safely during Saturday morning fire

PHOTOS: Sasquatch Days about ‘being proud of being Sts’ailes’

The joint event between Harrison and Sts’ailes returned to the village for its eighth year

UPDATE: Highway 1 reopened after crash near Prest Road

The early morning incident involved a semi and a flagging truck

Three Albertans land ‘monster’ sturgeon in Fraser River

For angler who landed the exceptionally large sturgeon it was an ‘incredible dream come true’

10 facts about Father’s Day

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

Pride flag taken down by Township of Langley

Woman said she was told it was removed from her front yard because of a complaint

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

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

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

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Most Read