by Lorraine Payette, written May 31, 2014
(Joyceville, Ontario) The volunteers who run Stations 1 and 2 of the Kinston East Fire Fighters Association (KEFFA) held a free pancake breakfast at the Joyceville Fire Hall on May 31. Crowds poured in for a chance to see the station, talk to the firefighters and enjoy a great meal of free pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee.
Volunteer District Chief Bill Larson couldn’t be prouder of the people who make up KEFFA.
“These are our friends and neighbours,” said Larson. “It’s just like a big family. Everyone is helping everyone else.”
There is an ongoing recruiting program for volunteer firefighters in the area. KEFFA is entirely manned by volunteers, with no professional or career firefighters, yet their training is identical to that of the pros. Started in 1956, the department in Joyceville remains all volunteer. They cover all aspects of the job, from putting out fires of any size to fire prevention, rescue, and other emergency services.
Amongst other equipment, they have a tanker truck capable of bringing 56,000 litres of water to a fire (a necessity in rural areas where hydrants are virtually non-existent), and a Gator XUV to help them get in and out of off-road situations.
“This is a chance for the public to come out and see what we have, who we are and what we do,” said Larson. “The breakfast is entirely funded by the volunteers. They even print the fliers and distribute them themselves to all mailboxes in the area.”
The force is always looking for new recruits. Training is imperative to doing the job correctly. Without proper training, the rescuers themselves could become the victims. Everyone is schooled in state of the art methods of fire prevention, rescue and extinguishing fires. Men and women are equally welcome, and have equal opportunities with the department. People from all walks of life become volunteers, enriching the department with skills they wouldn’t have if they only brought in dedicated professional firefighters.
Perhaps the biggest problem faced is the ability to work around personal schedules. Employers, educators and others need to be made aware of the importance of these volunteers and the job they do, allowing them to leave work with little or no notice to help put out a fire or save a life.
People come in from all over Pittsburgh Township to support the firefighters and the breakfast. Some have family members in KEFFA, others have belonged to the group themselves. In some families, the tradition of firefighting goes from generation to generation.
“The pancakes are good,” said Rukiye, age 4. She isn’t sure yet whether or not she wants to join KEFFA when she gets bigger.
Landon, age 2, has already made up his mind – he wants to be like his dad and put out fires. He especially wants to drive the big trucks.
Next year, the annual breakfast will be held at the station on Brewers Mills Road. The breakfasts are a part of the activities in which the departments involve themselves. They also participate in other social activities such as local softball, a Halloween dance, and other things geared to uplifting their communities.
“Volunteers respond to the people in their own neighbourhoods,” said Larson. “When you become a volunteer, there is a certain pride in ownership and a job well done.”
For more on KEFFA or to become a volunteer, please contact District Chief Larson at 613-548-4001, ext. 5156, firstname.lastname@example.org .