Deadline is Tuesday for Coquitlam firefighter applications

A spate of baby boomer retirements at Coquitlam Fire and Rescue means there will be a lot of new faces at the department this year.

The city is currently holding a recruitment process that should see 10 new firefighters added to the organization's roster, bolstering the stations' 164 staff members.

"We like to bring in as many for the year all at once for the training," said Coquitlam Fire Chief Tony Delmonico. "We have one of the most extensive training programs in the province."

While most departments spend about three to eight weeks for training, Coquitlam's course takes about 11 weeks. During that time, candidates are tested on everything from their ability to handle tight spaces and claustrophobic conditions to swimming and fitness.

Many of the firefighters in the upper management positions started in the 1970s and 1980s, when Coquitlam's expanding population required a larger department. That puts them in the 30 to 35 years of service range, which is generally when most firefighters retire, Delmonico said.

"That is about when they retire so we have some fairly good turnover coming up," he said. "We are expecting a lot of retirements."

It takes 26 positions operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to maintain the fire department's current service level.

Those interested in applying should bring their completed packages with all required proof of documentation to the city of Coquitlam's Human Resources Department (3000 Guildford Way) by 5 p.m. on Sept. 20, 2011. The positions require the completion of the NFPA 1001 Level I and Level II (Pro Board or IFSAC accreditation). There are not exceptions to the deadline and only applications, not resumes, will be accepted.

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