Photo by Chris Whalley


Burning Regulations

A Letter from the Fire Chief

Thank you for considering joining the volunteer fire team in Calvin Township – we welcome your interest. I hope this package will inform you and answer any questions you might have about what it takes to become a volunteer firefighter.

We, as members of the Calvin Fire Department, are proud of the service we provide to our community. We train hard to provide a safe, effective, and efficient response to assist people in all kinds of emergency situations.

Not everyone is suited to be a volunteer firefighter. Volunteers in “Emergency Services” are quite different from other volunteer groups. We deal with dangerous situations, life threatening incidents, and complex equipment. We are responsible ethically and legally to provide it. The level of commitment and dedication goes far beyond what most people think, and as you read further you will understand and appreciate what it takes to become part of our team.

Please feel free to talk to myself or any of our firefighters. Come to a few of our meetings to get a feel for who we are and what we do.

I hope that we will be hearing from you soon.



Dean Maxwell
Fire Chief

Volunteer Fire Department Application for Membership [PDF: 21 KB]


A Brief History

There are over 650 departments in Ontario, 80% of these departments are staffed exclusively by volunteers, while only 5% of the departments are staffed by full time, paid personnel.  In the remaining 15% of the departments the staff are a composite of full time and volunteer fighters.  There are over 17,000 volunteers and about 9,000 full-time firefighters in the Ontario Fire Service.

The first organized firefighting recorded occurred in ancient Rome, but it was not until the Middle Ages that the buckets were finally put away in favour of hand fire engines using “large syringes”.  Insurance companies began to operate their own brigades, but these brigades were only allowed to fight fires involving the property of their own companies!  In 1865, control of firefighting passed into municipal hands, and method and technologies rapidly contributed to its effectiveness.  Today, the design of equipment, breathing apparatus, vehicles, and training is very sophisticated, making the job easier and safer. Innovations such as radio communication have made major changes in attack strategies.

Firefighting is both an art and a science and is best accomplished by safe, disciplined teams with special training and equipment, directed by Officers, utilizing procedures gained through study and experience.

What is Expected of Volunteer New Recruits?

As mentioned, Emergency Services are not like other fields of voluntary service – perhaps that is why being involved in Emergency Services is so special.

Emergency service volunteers tend to be action-oriented, highly dedicated, family and community oriented, self-motivated, team-players.  Your interest already demonstrates to us many of these characteristics. The following items are listed to give you an idea of what will be expected of new recruits as members of our Fire Protection Team.

Our work involves structural and chimney fires, vehicle fires, accidents and rescue, hazardous situation responses, emergency pre-planning, fire safety and awareness, etc.  As a new recruit, you will not be doing any of these things until you are ready! Training will be your focus, but it will not be long before you find yourself contributing to our efforts in ways you can only imagine!

Firefighters, whether on a full-time or on a volunteer basis, have roles and responsibilities that must be accepted long before considering responding to an alarm. Every firefighter owes it to themselves to be properly trained and educated on the ethical and legal requirements needed to maintain his/her safety, and to increase the public’s confidence in the department. In this package is a list of the roles and responsibilities of the firefighter, along with the ethical and legal requirements and how they apply to him/her.

Roles and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities of a firefighter are to protect the lives and property of the inhabitants of the fire department’s response area. Fire protection services range from the adverse effects of fire or exposure to dangerous conditions created by individuals or nature. They also include fire prevention and public education, rescue and suppression services, and include responses such as motor vehicle accidents, hazardous material incidents or spills, ice and water rescues, all types of fire or explosions, and provide First Aid or CPR to those in need.

A person who wishes to become a qualified member of our fire department must be of good character and must reside or work in the municipality. The individual is expected to pass any tests (including background checks) that may be required by the department. New persons to the department shall be on probation for a period of four months.

Duties and Standards

A firefighter is expected to do the following:

  • operate and maintain fire equipment
  • perform auto extrication
  • perform fire ground operations
  • perform rescue operations
  • apply first aid
  • control hazardous materials
  • participate in fire safety inspections
  • perform station duties
  • perform public relations/education
  • carry out communication duties
  • Be a good role model

Legal Requirements

Legally, no member of the fire department should enter any premises where alcoholic beverages are sold or consumed while in uniform, except with permission of the department. One will abstain from using, or will refrain from being on duty if they are impaired by the use of, intoxicating beverages or drugs. Firefighters have an obligation to do what they need to in order to provide the best service to their community. They must take into consideration, not only what is best for their citizens’ safety, but their own as well. This can be accomplished through proper training and by following the guidelines given to them in the bylaws established by the fire department.


A firefighter’s job is a dangerous and demanding one, one that can have serious consequences if the firefighter does no adhere to the roles and responsibilities set out for him/her. They must also conduct themselves in accordance with ethical and legal standards of the department.

Our team meets every Thursday evening, starting promptly at 7:00 p.m. These meetings may involve work on the apparatus and equipment, training, or practice sessions.

Throughout the year, we schedule additional training in conjunction with other fire departments outside of our township. We also on occasion bring in special instructors.

A person is qualified to be appointed as a probationary member of the service if:

  • Complete an application form
  • Be a person of good character
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Pass the aptitude and other tests required by the department
  • Have a reliable means of getting to the fire hall, any time of day or night
  • Have a valid Ontario driver’s license 

Code of Ethics for Volunteer Firefighters

I fully realize and accept the responsibility of being a volunteer firefighter, and shall perform the duties assigned to me.

I shall respond promptly to alarms.

I will obey the orders of the Officer-in Charge.

I shall report for drills and practices earnestly, and do my part in making our fire department an efficient firefighting organization.

I shall do my work at fires and drills in a quick, safe and orderly manner.

I shall do my share of work that is required in loading hose and cleaning apparatus and equipment.

I shall report to the fire station immediately after each call, in order to help put the equipment and apparatus in shape for the next call.

I shall refrain from using profane language and will conduct myself professionally while working at calls and when in the public eye.

I shall be loyal to my department and shall conduct myself at all times in a manner that is in keeping with the responsibilities of a firefighter.

If, at any time, I feel that I cannot comply with the regulations of the department, I shall voluntarily resign.




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