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

Chilliwack toy drive brings in gifts, money to Ann Davis Transition Society

People dropped by Superstore to donate toys and more for those in need this holiday season

Chilliwack RCMP find chemicals and cannabis extract in illicit lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Chilliwack RCMP seek suspects in rash of poppy donation box thefts

Incidents at four different locations in Sardis in the days leading up to Remembrance Day

German-born British Columbian warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Train ride at Minter store not part of this year’s festive fun

Tough decision made to stop seasonal train in its tracks after injury suffered by Brian Minter

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

1 woman dead, man in hospital after ‘suspicious’ crash: police

Homicide investigators and Burnaby RCMP are investigating the fatal collision

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

Most Read