“The Amherst Fire Department will, under the direction of its chief and by the means of its members, commit to providing residents with the most capable fire and emergency service possible, while promoting safety and quality of life.”
That’s the mission statement of the Amherst Fire Department and one that the 54-member department works hard to live up to.
“As the chief of this department, I take great pride in the way the members tackle issues and situations, and plan and deliver service to the public no matter when the call comes in,” Fire Chief Greg Jones said recently.
And for the fire department that call can come in at any moment – day or night. While best known for fighting fires, that isn’t all the 53 volunteers, which include eight career firefighters and one deputy-chief, and Chief Jones do.
They also respond to hazardous material calls, motor vehicle collisions, confined space rescues, fire investigations and fire inspections. Between November 2019 and November 2020, the department responded to 254 calls, including 21 structure fires, 33 motor vehicle crashes, 54 monitored alarm or smoke alarm calls and 12 hazardous material responses.
In order to be ready for these challenges, the members are maintaining their apparatus – three fire engines, a ladder truck, a safety and support unit, two hazardous material units, a utility vehicle and a tanker – on a daily basis. (They also have one antique fire truck and a mini fire truck, known as Pumper Joe that are used in parades.)
In addition, the members spend countless hours training to ensure they have the skills to carry out the work they do, whatever the emergency situation.
All the members also belong to the Amherst Firefighters Association. This group spends even more hours volunteering at community events, like raising money for muscular dystrophy research through their annual John Michels Sr. ladder sit, the Nova Scotia Burn Treatment Society via their annual Firefighter Burn Bonspiel, and other community events through a variety of other fundraisers like glow bingo.
The department is always looking for new members. If you are interested drop into the fire station, located at 62 Albion St., talk to any Amherst firefighter or go to www.amherst.ca/volunteer-firefighter.html.