Everyday people become heroes as firefighters

By Angela Brown
March 16, 2017 - 10:01am

Rob Beatch doesn't look like a super hero, but every time he leaves his job as a mechanic to fight fires he puts his life on the line to save someone else's.

The local resident recently received an award for long service with the North Battleford fire department. This year marks his 27th year . 

Beatch, who also has a family of his own, said the work is rewarding and he likes to be able to help others.

"I like the excitement," he said. "Helping people, saving lives is a good experience." 

He recalled one incident where he and another firefighter saved a woman's life by carrying her out of a burning apartment building.

"It makes you feel really good knowing she is going to be ok," he said.

The 52-year-old works as a manager and a mechanic at Minute Muffler in North Battleford during the day, when he isn't busy fighting fires.

"Where I was raised, it was a small town and everybody was in the fire department. I did a little bit of firefighting there too," he said. "When I could get more involved in the city here — I did it."

The fire department currently has six citizens who are paid, on-call firefighters, but they would like to have about 20.

Deputy chief Trevor Brice said the fire department is planning a new recruitment campaign to encourage more people to sign up to become on-call volunteer firefighters.

"The paid, on-call firefighters really support the career firefighters," he said. "We usually have four career firefighters on at one time, so as soon as we have any major fire, such as a structure fire, we need 14 staff on. We call back other career firefighters who are off duty, and our paid, on-call firefighters."

He said without the paid, on-call firefighters "we would really be struggling for support at incidents. They do provide a backbone of the service for us. They are crucial to us." 

To be eligible, people need to be at least 18 years of age and in good physical condition, without any major health problems.

Both men and women can become on-call firefighters. They need to be able to commit six hours a week for training and try to be available whenever they are called to a fire.

Many of the paid, on-call firefighters have full-time jobs, but their employers have given them permission to leave work if they are called to a fire or another emergency as a firefighter. 

They also need to live at least a 15-minute drive to the fire department to be accepted for the position. 

For more information, contact the North Battleford Fire Department.


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