Niagara-on-the-Lake has 15 new firefighters, including five women.
The recruits, who underwent 300 hours of intensive training since September, were presented with their full helmets Monday night as part of their graduation. The department now has 10 female firefighters/officers, Fire Chief Nick Ruller told The Lake Report.
Graduation ceremonies took place at all five NOTL fire stations, social distance-style, with Ruller stopping by each station to congratulate the new team members.
Ruller said it’s “encouraging” to see the recruits graduate to full firefighter status.
“Over the past several years, women have applied to Niagara-on-the-Lake Fire & Emergency Services in increasing numbers,” Ruller said. “We pride ourselves on being an inclusive organization, and are simply looking for the best person for the various roles. It just so happens that 10 of those people are women.”
“The vision for our department is to be high-performing, progressive, and visionary in the provision of emergency services within our community. As we diversify, we are better positioned to realize our vision.”
The new grads all received rave reviews about their performance during training, he said.
“Every instructor in the recruit program and the program administrators all raved about how this group really was performing at such a high level,” Ruller said in an interview.
“You get out of it, what you're willing to put into it,” he noted, “and I think I'm pretty confident based on the group that we have that many of them are going to find this incredibly rewarding opportunity as they move forward.”
The new recruits are:
Station 1: Danielle Bley, Dan Ens, Dario Pagogna, Karley McKeigan. Station 2: Katie Graziano, Nick Poloniato, Arthur Martin. Station 3: Lucas Topic, Larissa Stemmler, Kevin McClelland, Dan Willms. Station 4: Spencer Glass, Chris Maartense. Station 5: Rebecca van der Zalm, James Chandler.