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Madawaska Fire Department issues call for volunteer firefighters

MADAWASKA, Maine — The Madawaska Fire Department is calling for potential volunteer firefighters to enlist with the local department.

Fire Chief Jim Soucy said the department posted an ad calling for volunteers in December, but had zero applications.

“There is a big need for firefighters,” Soucy said.

The department, which once numbered 60 firefighters, now only has 35.

“Another 10 firefighters would be good,” Soucy said.

According to Soucy, a common misconception is that volunteer firefighters are unpaid volunteers. However, the volunteer firefighters with Madawaska Fire Department get a semi-annual stipend for what they call “paid call,” which means for every call to which a firefighter responds, they get paid for going on that call.

The prospective firemen will go to an orientation and attend the monthly trainings. Soucy said. While the trainees won’t be going into a structure fire [right away], they will help on the ground.

“That way they can learn what we’re all about,” he said. “Being a firefighter is being able to work with others in all different circumstances and being able to learn what being a firefighter is, and it really makes you a better person.”

Soucy added that training with Madawaska is “a great opportunity, so that way if you start now, it gets your foot in the door.”

Those who still want to be a volunteer after learning from the ground would then move on to training. The training courses, called Fireman 1 and 2, take about six months to complete. The first class focuses on the basics while the second deals with communications and more in-depth training information.

Once the prospective firefighter completes the course, then they would have to pass the test to be certified as a firefighter 1 and 2.

“Being a firefighter should be something you want to do,” Soucy said. “To help your community, and to raise awareness to those, like school children, to educate them and keep them safe.”

Applications are available at the police department.

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