Granby Fire Department seeks volunteers
David Boyes and Jim Cautrell are looking for volunteer firefighters to join the Granby Fire Department.
Boyes is the fire chief and district manager responsible for overall operation of Grand Fire Protection District No. 1. He has been with the district for longer than 30 years. “You continually need to bring in new people to your organization,” he said about the nine month training program that will begin in January.
“We (aren’t) the same fire department we were ten years ago,” he said. “We keep striving to get better. We are mostly volunteers and have a resident program that provides housing for volunteers.” Boyes established the department’s resident firefighter program. “It is a way to have personnel constantly checking equipment so readiness is at the highest level. They have three days of station on-call duty.”
Jim Cautrell is a fire marshall, division chief and is the training officer for Fire Academy. He said they are looking for firefighters who want to belong to something and want to help. The program is nine months and each new recruit is paired with a mentor. Training is every Tuesday night. There is an agility test called the Firefighter Combat Challenge. In 2010, Cautrell brought in 18 instructors from across the state in various disciplines to teach 22 classes for the Fire Academy.
Women on the team
There is one woman resident on the crew. Emily Abbott, 20, who grew up in Granby and joined the department in November 2010 after Training Academy. She became a resident in March. She said that it is no different being a woman on this team. “I’m not treated any differently. We are a team and everyone knows each others limitations.” Boyes said being on the team is about doing the training and knowing what each team member is capable of physically.
What makes a good recruit? Abbott said that you have to be ready to dedicate time to training, reading, and research. “There is a lot to know. There are training nights and there is extra time you have to put in.” She said that a good recruit is not a passive person but someone who can follow orders but still thinks for themselves. “If you are motivated, determined, and can think quickly, you will do well.”
Today, the district has room for nine resident firefighter positions. Seven are filled and two are open.
“Our numbers are good but we always need to bring in new people,” said Boyes. “The more volunteers we have, the more we have available for a call.”
In 2008, they had 11 people enrolled in the academy – nine are still at the Granby station. In 2010, all nine who started the academy are still there. “Once you get in here and experience this, it gets in your blood,” Boyes said. They are looking for four to six new firefighters for the Fire Academy starting in January.
The crew is a family. Boyes said that many of the firefighters who leave come back to visit. They are still part of the family. “You get close and build a brotherhood. Once people come in and find out what we are about and how rewarding it can be, it’s a hard bond to break,” he said.
The Grand Fire Protection District No. 1 in Granby is a special district funded by property taxes. There are currently 32 firefighters.
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Grand Concerts is hosting its first live event in 17 months featuring the Boston Brass on Friday at the Headwaters Pavilion in Winter Park.