Sunday, October 1, 2023

Nine new recruits train to work as paramedic firefighters in Lethbridge

Nine new recruits are gearing up to work as paramedic firefighters in Lethbridge. The fall class of trainees spent the day on Sept. 14 doing entanglement and window exercises.

Mitch Cormier decided to apply for a job in Lethbridge after coming to Alberta from New Brunswick to assist with wildfires in Peace River. 

“I am not a firefighter by trade, just a paramedic so it’s all new skills for me, new techniques and it’s been really good,” he said. “It’s challenging work with a lot of stuff to learn but it’s been really good and [I am] having a real good time.” 

Fire training officer Mark Matheson said firefighters are in high demand across the province and much of North America. 

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“We are hiring again for the spring, so we actually have an open posting now,” Matheson said. “This past spring, we put two new peak-time ambulances on the road in Lethbridge and we have staffed up for that and we were hoping that would take some of the pressures off our current staff, although they seem to be getting drawn into the whole vortex of the EMS stuff as it is right now.” 

Lethbridge runs two fire and EMS recruit classes annually and though the city does not see large numbers of candidates, Matheson said he is impressed with the candidates he does get. 

Tim Carroll from Medicine Hat has a background in fire and EMS and said working in Lethbridge was an obvious choice because of the integrated service model. 

“It’s probably the best career in the world,” he said. “It’s definitely hard to get into, you got to hold yourself to that higher standard but I think that’s what we are all here for.” 

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