By Mark Squibb
October 20, 2023 Edition
The Conception Bay South Fire Department added nine firefighters to its roster Tuesday at a Helmet Ceremony held at the department.
“Today’s Helmet Ceremony marks the beginning of a new chapter in the storied history of this incredible, incredible fire department we have here,” said Mayor Darrin Bent, who noted that 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the fire department. “This 50th anniversary milestone reminds us of the unwavering commitment of our firefighters and their selfless dedication to our community’s safety and our residents’ safety.”
Bent congratulated the recruits on their achievement, and issued a challenge to them as they entered their new roles.
“As you step into the noble tradition of service, you will carry on the legacy of those who came before you and you will learn, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, with those who are currently serving, and that will be your greatest education,” said Bent. “Your community has every confidence in your abilities and dedication to the task. You are the future of our fire department, and I am proud to welcome you into that role. As we look ahead, I encourage our recruits to embrace the core values of our fire department— courage, respect, and duty.”
Fire Chief John Heffernan said the recruits will both augment full-time staff and fill in while other staff are on leave, and also fill full-time positions as members retire in the coming years.
“This recruitment was extremely challenging for a number of reasons,” said Heffernan. “With a significant number of applications, this was a very competitive recruitment, with some very tough decisions having to be made.”
Each new recruitment was presented with both a gift and a helmet with their surname printed on it.
“No more piece of firefighting equipment is more recognisable to the world as the firefighter’s helmet,” said Heffernan ahead of the presentations. “Dating back to 1740 in New York City, the helmet has been the international symbol of the firefighter, a symbol that is significant not only in the tradition of the early years of firefighting, but a symbol of bravery, integrity, honour, and pride. This helmet is a symbol of the values and traditions you hold dear, and what you have committed to each and every day.”
The Department hired its first full-time members in June of 2010, and has relied on a mixture of volunteer and paid firefighters since then. The depart itself started as a volunteer force.