Capt. Randall Carnell of the Saanich Fire Department’s fire prevention division investigated the cause of a house fire on Walter Avenue in July 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)

Capt. Randall Carnell of the Saanich Fire Department’s fire prevention division investigated the cause of a house fire on Walter Avenue in July 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)

Parts of a ladder among the need-to-knows in 1940s Island firefighter recruit exam

1949 firefighter recruit exam no match for modern-day assessments

Saanich firefighting hopefuls in the 1940s had to pass a probationary exam featuring a long list of questions focused on naming equipment, explaining the department’s practices and citing bylaws.

Deputy Fire Chief Dan Wood of the Saanich Fire Department shared a copy of a 71-year-old firefighting entrance exam.

Saanich’s Deputy Fire Chief Dan Wood shared an image of a 1940s firefighting recruit exam that he said wasn’t nearly as complex as the assessments in 2021. (Dan Wood/Twitter)

READ ALSO: Pandemic meant more blazes, fewer calls for Saanich firefighters in 2020

The test, circa 1949, included 40 questions that asked the recruit to name three parts of a ladder, list three types of extinguishers, note how far a stove should be placed from a wall, explain why it’s necessary to ventilate a building on fire and describe the use of a sill hook.

“In 2021, these exams are complex and include all the fire and rescue work our firefighters train for,” Wood said.

Now, Saanich firefighters respond to more than just fires – as they’re trained in CPR, it’s common for paramedics to call on local fire departments for back-up on severe medical calls involving traumatic injuries, heart attacks and breathing difficulties. Saanich firefighters are also dispatched to rescues and spend time in the community working to prevent fires and teach residents about fire safety.

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READ ALSO: Saanich firefighters receive Vital Link Award from paramedics for life-saving CPR

District of SaanichfirefightersLocal History

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