Training will soon be front and centre at the Dominion Volunteer Fire Department.
Scott Duffney, who will be taking over the role of fire chief as of Wednesday, said his focus will be to increase training.
“Investing in and developing our officers who are there right now.”
Duffney said they do weekly training now but he wants more members trained in Level 1 firefighting and other courses through the Nova Scotia Firefighters School in Waverley.
He wants to reenergize the training program with the help of former chief and now training officer Murray McNeil.
Duffney, 44, moved to Dominion 10 years ago and joined the fire department.
“I moved to Dominion and was looking to give back to the community and get involved.”
Ten years later, he’s still glad he did.
“It’s the group of people that are in it, a fantastic group,” he said. “Volunteering in a community is one of the best feelings, knowing you are doing something good for the community.”
Duffney, who was a captain with the fire department for five years, has also spent time as its treasurer, fire prevention officer and training officer.
He was nominated and accepted the position of chief during the December monthly meeting.
There are currently 28 members in the fire department.
“The fact they have that confidence in me was definitely a feel good moment,” he said. “Leading up to it knowing I was going to be nominated and would be accepting it I was a little anxious but that’s just the body’s normal response in taking on something new and bigger but I’m up for it.”
He said the increased focus on training will also involve the ice and water rescue units.
“We believe water and ice rescues are areas that need more focus and as a result have someone that can focus solely on that,” he said of the new director of technical rescue operations Brendan Burke.
“We are also looking into expanding into other areas of emergency response.”
Duffney said he also wants to revamp the recruiting process.
“Recruitment and retention in a small town volunteer fire department is one of the biggest challenges we have.”
He said one way to work on recruiting is through the junior firefighter program which is open to young people between the ages of 16-18.
“It gives young people an opportunity to try it out within safe parameters to see if it’s something they’d be interested in.”
A junior firefighter takes part in training and responds to calls, although school hours play a part in when they are available.
“They would definitely be assisting and participating in emergency response.”
A person must be 18 years old to become a regular member of the department.
He said the last time the junior program was in place they had four members and two transitioned into the regular membership.
Duffney said he’s looking forward to his role as chief, adding there is something special about the Dominion firefighters.
“Their willingness in helping the community. Anytime the community requests anything of us we’re always right there to help.”