Vancouver Island Fire Department Finds Its Youngest Recruit

Vancouver Island Fire Department Finds Its Youngest Recruit

On March 25, 2022, Oliver Lipinski arrived at his local fire department with an application in his hand. He was ready to get to work.

The only problem was Lipinski’s age. He is only three years old.

Like most small communities, the fire and rescue services are primarily provided by volunteers in Parksville. The department recently held a recruitment campaign, which caught Lipinski’s eye when his parents drove by the station several weeks ago.

When Oliver told his parents that he wanted to become a firefighter, they decided to help him prepare a resume. The application included his experience, education, and interest in becoming a firefighter.

With his parents following behind, Lipinski knocked on the door of the fire station on the final day that applications were being accepted. He was dressed in full turnout gear. [1]

Lieutenant Andrew Wiersma came to the door. That’s when Oliver said just four words: “I want a job.”

The Fire Department Called Him for an Interview

Oliver Lipinski in His Interview. Courtesy of Parksville Fire Department/ Facebook
Oliver Lipinski in His Interview. Courtesy of Parksville Fire Department/ Facebook

Officials at the Parksville Volunteer Fire Department quickly shortlisted the youngster so that he could be called in for an interview about the job.

They asked him several questions to see how knowledgeable he was about the potential duties he’d be performing.

According to the department’s press release, they found Oliver to be highly knowledgeable about firetrucks and engines. He could list most of the parts on a ladder, understood the basics of hydraulics, and recognize most letters and their sounds.

Most importantly, Parksville officials were impressed by the fact that Oliver stated he doesn’t play with any magic whatsoever because there is the potential it could start a fire!

The department also noted that Oliver completed all episodes of Fire Safety with Roy and a firefighting coloring book. [2]

Chief Marc Norris said that adding Lipinski to the department would be an excellent fit. It was notable because the youngster lives within the protection area of the volunteer department, so he wouldn’t need to travel far for work.

Since he could name the department’s trucks, that helped to qualify him for the 2034 recruiting class.

“We were thrilled to receive Oliver’s resume, conduct his interview, and we all look forward to welcoming him to the 2034 recruit class as a junior member,” said Chief Norris.

Oliver Got to Ride on the Firetrucks

Oliver Lipinski Getting Ready to Ride on the Firetruck and a Become Junior Fireman. Photo Courtesy of Parksville Fire Department/ Facebook
Oliver Lipinski Getting Ready to Ride on the Firetruck and a Become Junior Fireman. Photo Courtesy of Parksville Fire Department/ Facebook

Following the open recruitment position interviews, the department let Oliver ride on Ladder 49, which is his favorite truck.

He was also given a cookie, a red helmet, and a Teddy bear to commemorate his outstanding answers and initiative during the entire interviewing process.

Parksville Volunteer Fire Department officials also presented him with a certificate showing that he was an “Official Junior Member” of the team.

Parksville Serves a Population of About 30,000 People

When people visit Vancouver Island in British Columbia, their first stop is usually in Victoria. The city often bills itself as being a taste of Europe in North America.

You can find Parksville on Highway 19, roughly halfway between Victoria on the southern end and Campbell River to the north. The town has about 12,000 people, while the metro area has a population of about 30,000.

It’s a community where towering Douglas fir trees, sandy beaches on the bays, and a slower pace of life create attractive exploration opportunities.

Parksville is also home to Canada’s only World Championship Sand Sculpting official qualifier, which has taken place annually since 1982 during the summer months. [3]

Although the village was incorporated in 1945, Parksville didn’t become a city until 1981.

As one can imagine, firefighting opportunities are relatively few in a community like this one, but you need all the help you can get.

Although it is a volunteer department, there are paid on-call positions available in Parksville and other communities.

If you’re interested in becoming part of that team, you’ll need to think about your qualifications before submitting a resume of your own.

Each jurisdiction sets its own standards, so you’ll need to check with your local department to see what should be on your application.

In most circumstances, you should be over the age of 18, have a GED or high school diploma, and possess a valid driver’s license. [4]

If you pursue firefighter training, you’ll likely be asked to complete the Candidate Physical Abilities Test, or CPAT. [5]

Some programs offer training and development that includes college-level academic studies, professional certifications, and on-the-job training that can take someone from a volunteer spot to a full-time career.

Volunteering in rural communities and small towns is also a fantastic way to learn more about the service.


[1] https://www.vancouverislandfreedaily.com/community/parksville-volunteer-fire-department-recruits-youngest-ever-junior-member/; [2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lm5sviV41n0; [3]https://www.parksvillebeachfest.ca;  [4] https://www.wscff.org/about/become-a-union-fire-fighter-in-washington-state/; [5] https://nationaltestingnetwork.com/publicsafetyjobs/cpat_info.cfm

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