Meet our Members: Joel Bellavance
Joel Bellavance is an NFPA 1001 level 2 firefighter who received his qualification from Training Division in Texas. Joel contacted our fire department with the idea that he would volunteer his time here during daytime hours (when we typically have less volunteer firefighters to draw from) in exchange for the experience of responding to incidents and increasing his firefighting skills in our awesome training centre. This type of format is often referred to as a work experience program.
For us it seemed like a great idea and a win/win. We get some skilled assistance for free and Joel gets to learn more about the fire service and sharpen and enhance his skills.
"For the past two years, I have been pursuing my dream of becoming a career firefighter. I have been taking the required qualifications and courses to apply to full-time departments throughout Canada. Many departments receive thousands of applications every year. I knew that becoming a volunteer firefighter and getting real work experience would greatly increase my chances of getting hired.
In the fall of 2014 I started researching several volunteer departments in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island, and after seeing the Comox Fire Rescue website and reading about Chief Schreiner and his department, I was very impressed. I contacted Chief Schreiner to see if there was an opportunity available and we arranged a mutually beneficial agreement.
I moved to Comox in January and started with the department right away. Everyone in the department has been very friendly and welcoming; they are like one big family. They all have a lot of experience, training and knowledge and I have been like a sponge soaking it all up!"
Joel has been a great fit for us. He has already bonded with many of our firefighters and has made a very positive impact in his short time with us. He volunteers about three full days a week in our station which greatly improves our overall response time. Joel has also helped with many of our public services such as our smoke alarm campaign, station tours, and youth programs to name a few. Joel has already responded to over a dozen incidents.
Chief Schreiner states: “I am very impressed with our first try at a work experience program and I think we will be looking at expanding this opportunity to others in the future. Joel has been a great asset and is well suited to a fire service career.”