CORNER BROOK — The Corner Brook Fire Department is looking to fill its list of eligible relief firefighters.
The department attempts to establish a list of 10 trained firefighters, who meet the criteria and testing standards, who will move into its relief pool when positions arise. These firefighters could also be called into duty at times if required.
There are primarily four positions in the relief pool at the department, and currently just three firefighters available. The eligibility list has been exhausted.
Fire Chief Neville Wheaton said it has been at least 18 months to two years since the last call for firefighters in Corner Brook. Coinciding with one firefighter resigning from the relief pool to move from the city, the chief said there was a need to go through the process before the next contract negotiations.
The previous negotiations between the city and firefighters were bitter and public, nearly resulting in a strike. It was further fueled when the city immediately eliminated four union positions at the department the same day as the new contract was signed.
Wheaton said the tumultuous negotiations and actions which followed should not have a major impact on recruiting.
"That's something I have no control over, how they feel about it," he said. "There are a lot of guys out there who value this type of career, who are already looking for it and have been trained. I honestly don't think a guy coming out of the academy who wants a job in the fire service — and it is still a good job — it is not going to have too much of an effect on it."
The chief said the bad blood of the past would have an impact if firefighters attempted to deter potential recruits because of it, but he does not think that would happen. There are recruits who have been with the department, some who were there during the unsettling times with negotiations, and he said they have already expressed an interest.
Typically, the department would receive 50-60 applicants, he said. That would usually be narrowed by approximately 10 who are not eligible. The selection process begins with a written test, that usually eliminates another 10 or so applicants, followed by a demanding physical test. The remaining candidates are interviewed and 10 are selected, if that many survive the recruiting process.
With a number of retirement-eligible firefighters on the workforce, Wheaton said the job prospects are good at the department. However, when those firefighters retire is up to them. He said prospects are not quite as high as they were five or more years ago, due to a significant turnover at the department.
The closing date for applications is July 27. More information can be obtained online www.cornerbrook.com.