Firefighters wanted in Cache Creek, Clinton

Fewer young people are getting involved with the local volunteer fire departments, which has fire chiefs worried.

The Clinton fire department advertised for volunteer firefighters during the recent Canada Day celebration.

The Clinton fire department advertised for volunteer firefighters during the recent Canada Day celebration.

The fire chiefs in Cache Creek and Clinton are both hoping that more people will step forward to serve as volunteers on their town’s fire departments.

Cache Creek fire chief Clayton Cassidy, who has been on the fire department there for more than 30 years, says they currently have 13 members. “It’s one of the lowest numbers in my recollection. It’s a little bit of a concern.” The situation is not quite so bad in Clinton, where there are 17 members, according to fire chief Wayne Walch, but he says they, too, are looking for more people. Both men note that their departments have been depleted by members moving away, either for school or work, with Cassidy adding that some people in the Cache Creek area work shift work or work out of town, which could make it difficult for them to be on the fire department.

Men and women are both welcome, as are juniors (starting at age 16 in Clinton and age 17 in Cache Creek). “You have to be somewhat fit,” notes Walch, but says anyone who wants to volunteer and who has a health issue that they think might prevent them from being on the department is welcome to come and speak with him about it.

He encourages anyone in Clinton who wants to see if being a firefighter is for them to come by one of the weekly practices, held on Monday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. “Drop on by and see what it’s about. Some say it’s not for them, and that’s fine.”

Cassidy says that in Cache Creek, the process is for prospective new members to have a current member sponsor them. He adds, however, that there aren’t a lot of people in town they don’t already know, so anyone interested can get in touch with him. He notes that the looming landfill closure will not help as far as new members go. However, he says that he has talked with a few people in town aged 35 to 45 who have some interest in joining.

It is not just the fire department that is having trouble recruiting new, younger members, he notes. “Clubs like the Lions and Rotary are in the same boat. A lot of the younger generation are not taking part.”