Life of a firefighter recruit

Fires are one of the many issues firefighters deal with in a week.

Godwin Lee recounts his time as a member of the Markham Fire for the past year.

Lee describes emergency calls, some common causes of fires, what you need to have to qualify to apply as a firefighter and why he decided to become a firefighter in Markham.

Lee shares that many emergency calls at Markham Fire are for medical emergencies, followed by car accidents and fires.

“At medical calls, we work with paramedics to help sick and injured people.” Lee says. “Sometimes these calls involve carbon monoxide or allergic reactions.”

Lee explains that firefighters can offer assistance at medical calls within their scope of practice, which is defined by a physician who tells them what they may and may not do.

“We recently participated in a resuscitation with paramedics and the patient came back!, Lee says. “It was one of my best experiences, and working with EMS to bring them back was incredibly satisfying.”

Lee explains that the selection process to become a firefighter is competitive and that it can take a few years to acquire relevant qualifications including DZ license, Standard First Aid, CPR Level C, and firefighter courses and certification. Community service and work experience are also relevant. The department values diversity in its candidates — be it work and educational backgrounds, culture and language, or just overall life experiences.

When asked about some of the most common causes of fires that he has experienced, Lee says it is from cooking, especially since many people have been at home during COVID.

In his recent experiences, the root causes have been from unattended cooking, unattended candles and people not understanding how to properly put out a grease fire.


Photo: Firefight Godwin Lee has been part of the Markham Fire Services team for the past year. Story submitted by Andrew Fuyarchuk.

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