On-call firefighters get better deal

Training hours and travel expenses to be covered for Summerland's auxiliary firefighters

  • Jan. 31, 2013 7:00 p.m.

Summerland’s auxiliary firefighters will be getting a better deal, thanks to an initiative passed by Summerland municipal council this week.

The remuneration policy for auxiliary firefighters was changed in order to reflect the current pay scale for auxiliary firefighters at emergency incidents and training events and to improve the payment for extended training.

The current policy did not correctly reflect the current rates.

The recommendation had been discussed during an in-camera session on Jan. 14.

They hadn’t been paid when training sessions ran overtime, such as weekend-long training sessions, but now will get an extra $10 an hour when training runs over four hours. In addition, travel expenses will be paid for training sessions located outside the District of Summerland.

Fire chief Glenn Noble presented the new policy to municipal council at this week’s council meeting, saying the auxiliaries did not ask for the change in rates.

Weekend training sessions can run from eight to 20 hours, and the auxiliaries had been receiving little for the time they put in, often traveling outside the community for training.

Coun. Martin Van Alphen, who initiated the effort, said he takes his hat off to the firefighters.

“It’s a difficult thing to attract and keep volunteers.”

It’s a small amount we pay them for the large job that they do.”

Coun. Robert Hacking added that it is only fair to pay auxiliaries for the training that takes them outside the community and away from their families on weekends.

The training pay rate for a probationary firefighters is $20 per session. A firefighter/EVO/NFPA gets $25 a session, and the officer rate is $30 a session. Authorized training events will pay an additional $10 for each hour of training in excess of four hours.

Travel expense claims will be paid for training sessions located outside the District of Summerland in accordance with District Policy.

The probationary firefighter regular rate is $15 an hour. Rate for a firefighter is $17 an hour; emergency vehicle operator, $18; NFPA 1001 Certified $19; and Officer rate $19.

Part time employee rate is $17 for auxiliaries requested to assist with fire department duties.

The standby rate for auxiliaries is $3.13.