Cardston County Emergency Services
Introduction & Information Package

Thank you for expressing interest in becoming a member of Cardston County Emergency Services. We hope this information package is able to answer some of the questions you may have about our department.

Paid on call firefighters are a key component of Cardston County Emergency Services and it is important that you realize what is involved in being an emergency services member before making the necessary commitment. This package is intended to describe how Cardston County Emergency Services operates and to provide you with some background information before you make any decisions.

You are encouraged to discuss this information with your family and to contact any of the members of the service if you require any additional information.

What Is Cardston County Emergency Services?

We are a group of individuals with strong community will and commitment to active involvement in making our community what it is today.

What do we do?

Cardston County Emergency Services provides Fire, Rescue, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Prevention, Inspection and Investigation services within the Town of Cardston, Village of Hillspring, Glenwood and the Western half of the M.D. of Cardston. We also service Waterton National Park and parts of the Blood Reserve.

How do we operate?

Cardston County Emergency Services is a department of the Town and MD of Cardston. The service is administered by a full time Chief of Emergency Services. EMS is provided by full and part time staff that are employed by Alberta Health Services.

Fire and Rescue services are provided by paid on call firefighters and EMS/FF, who respond from within the community as they are available. All firefighters are notified of emergency calls by radio or pager, provided by the department.

Cardston County Emergency Services provides all personal protective equipment and training for firefighters. Firefighters are provided with the benefit of a group accidental death and dismemberment insurance plan and are covered by Workers Compensation while on emergency calls or participating in training or education activities. In addition, paid on call firefighters receive an hourly wage during response to emergency calls.

Previously, the term “volunteer firefighter” was used. Firefighters are now called “paid on call” to reflect the professional standards they are trained to and the financial recognition they receive for the time they spend responding to emergency calls.

Firefighter Prerequisites:

  • 18 years of age & High School Graduate
  • Good physical condition
  • Alberta Drivers license, with ability to obtain Air Brake endorsement
  • Current Driver’s Abstract with no more than 6 demerits
  • Criminal Records Check
  • Resident of Town of Cardston or immediate area – defined as 1 mile from town boundaries

Employment Considerations:

  • Commitment
  • Availability
  • Related skills or training

Firefighter Expectations:

  • Family Support: This is the most important aspect for you and Cardston County Emergency Services. When you join, in many ways, so does your family. Missed family functions and events may occur as a result of this commitment. Discuss this with your family and have their support.
  • Employer Support: This is the next item you need to consider. Many calls occur during working hours. Although your job comes before the service, you need to discuss your commitment with your employer and discuss your availability during working hours for emergency calls.
  • Time Commitment: Being a paid on call firefighter is not like belonging to other organizations. Commitment is key and often there is considerable time contributed for emergency calls, training and other functions.
  • Completion of Fire Training: Firefighters are expected to achieve an accepted level of training. This includes initial orientation, ongoing bimonthly training sessions (held the second, fourth Thursday evenings of each month at 19:00hrs (7 PM)), and formal training courses. Formal courses are an important component of the training process, and it is expected that a firefighter will make all attempts to complete formal training opportunities provided by the department. Several of our firefighters are trained to the NFPA 1001 level 2 standard (the same standards that are found in any major metropolitian fire department and is an internationally recognized standard.) All our firefighters are encouraged and offered the opportunities to receive all the training necessary to meet this professional standard.
  • Response Availability: Obviously, call availability on a regular basis is important. When you are available to respond, it is our expectation that you will. Firefighters must attend a minimum of 20% of calls in a year to remain active.
  • Practice/meeting attendance: Practices and meetings are where you learn the most about the service and its operations. It is important that firefighters regularly attend practices and meetings. If you are unable to attend, permission must be granted in advance by the Chief or Deputy Chief. More than 2 unexcused absences in a calendar year could result in suspension or dismissal.
  • Ability to follow a Chain of Command: Due to the potential dangers on the emergency scene, all members are required to follow a Chain of Command and accountability system. There is no room for individuals to freelance. All fire and rescue efforts must be coordinated and controlled to ensure safety, efficiency and success.

Cardston County Emergency Services Role / Commitment

  • Safety: Safety is the paramount concern in everything that we do. Firefighting and rescue can be a hazardous activity, and Cardston County Emergency Services make every effort to ensure firefighters are properly trained and equipped to work safely, managing or minimizing those risks that can be controlled. The Department takes safety seriously, and operate with a Health & Safety Plan and an active Health & Safety Committee. Gym equipment is provided at the fire hall to help you maintain your physical health.
  • Training: We provide all training required to do the job.
  • Equipment: We provide all necessary equipment to do the job.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): We provide all required PPE for firefighter including protective turn out gear, helmets, eye protection, gloves, Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA). etc. All PPE meets NFPA standards.
  • Worker’s Compensation: All Cardston County Emergency Services personnel are covered by WCB while training, on emergency calls, during public education function or any job related function.
  • Accident Insurance: Accidental Death & Dismemberment insurance is provided to all members.
  • Communications: Emergency Services radios or pagers are provided to all members.

The Department Social Aspects

There is a recognized social aspect of membership that many of our firefighters and EMTs realize. When working as team as closely as we do, a common bond and camaraderie can develop that can lead to new friendships and a whole new social circle.

There are several social events planned each year, including Christmas parties, barbecues, and family and sports activities. These events, while providing enjoyment for all members and their families, also help develop the “team spirit” that makes us successful.

All Members should be professional in attitude as well as performance. Firefighting, by its inherent nature, is a serious and potentially dangerous business. Because of this, it is imperative that every member of the service takes their position seriously and professionally. After all, we are in the business of saving lives and property in our community.

This does not mean there are not significant social opportunities, and opportunities to have a great experience with a great group of people. It does mean that, as a firefighter, you are a member of a professional group, and, whether on or off duty, you will always be judged by others to a higher standard.

As a new firefighter, we don’t expect you to know everything when you start. We encourage you to ask questions if you don’t know or are unsure. The learning curve is steep, and in fire service, there is always something new to learn. We are here to support one another and help each other in any way we can. Fire/Rescue and EMS are a team sport” like no other. There is also a mentorship program in place to help you “learn the ropes” with a competent, experienced firefighter and to ensure your safety and success.

Contact the firehall to obtain an complete information package & application. Take it home and discuss it with your family and your employer. Once you have submitted an application, it will be reviewed and followed by an interview. Following the interview, you may be invited to attend a fire practice or two so you can come and see firsthand what we are all about.
An orientation meeting will be held on your first day as a member to get you familiar with our practices and guidelines. If you have any questions or comments, please let us know, we want to hear them – if you don’t know the answer, then it’s not a “stupid” question. Thanks for your interest.

Contact us for more information