Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Essex Fire’s new recruits take part in first training session

By Sylene Argent, The Canadian Press   

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June 10, 2024, Essex, Ont. — After a successful recruitment campaign – and a rigorous competitive testing process – Essex Fire & Rescue has selected the 12 new candidates who will fill volunteer Firefighter vacancies across the municipality’s three Fire Stations.

Over 100 applied for a position. 91 of those individuals took part in the written test. Over 50 participated in the physical testing aspect, which took place at Station 2 near McGregor – which doubles as a training facility – in March. Then, a round of interviews were held before the official job offer went out to the successful dozen candidates.

Of the 12 positions, five were at Station 3 in Harrow, four were at Station 2, and three were at Station One in Essex Center. This will help fill out the Essex Fire& Rescue roster complement that typically sits at around a total of 60 firefighters between all three stations, with four Captains and one District Chief at each hall.

The new recruits took part in their first official training session over the weekend at Station 2, which was conducted through Southwest Fire Academy – an accredited Private Career College that is regulated by the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities, with a Memorandum of Understanding with the Office of the Fire Marshal.


The session also included four candidates being readied for Lakeshore Fire & Rescue.

In November of 2023, Essex Council approved entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Town of Essex and Southwest Fire Academy for firefighter training that could extend beyond the municipality and benefit neighbouring departments. This operates out of Fire Station 2.

The training session helped familiarize the new recruits with firefighting equipment and introduce them to critical skills – like forcible entry, and began preparation for the future certifications required.

Essex Fire Chief Jason Pillon noted it is Essex Fire & Rescue’s policy that all Firefighters obtain their Firefighter Level One and Level Two certificate, before they are allowed on the trucks to respond to emergencies.

That will take around six-months for the new recruits to achieve.

Pillon said it was tough to choose just 12 new recruits. A scoring system was put in place to help with the selection process.

He is looking forward to watching the new candidates learn and progress through the certification process.

This article was originally posted by The Canadian Press on June 7, 2024.

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