There is a larger team of firefighters serving Steinbach and more representation from different nationalities. 

Fire Chief Kel Toews joined the department 31 years ago, and he says there have been some changes that have occurred over the years. 

“Back then, 30 years ago, it was all word of mouth,” he says about the recruitment process. “You invited your friend to join, so they joined. And everyone knew each other and that was how the community was, sort of. But the community has grown substantially over the years, and so has the fire department. It’s no longer an ‘old boys club.’” 

Toews says it is great to have the fire department reflect the community it serves, regarding genders and nationalities. 

“It’s great to have this kind of blend and it’s great to reflect the community,” he adds. 

The department has eight new graduates from the level one firefighter's course. Toews feels good about the new recruits and what they bring to the team. 

While some fire departments have struggled to get enough people to serve, Toews says that is not the case for Steinbach. 

“Compared to some other communities, across the country and across North America, to get volunteer firefighters, it is getting tougher and tougher to recruit them and retain them. And we, knock on wood, have not had issues with that at this point.” 

Toews says increased diversity and inclusivity is what helps make them a better department. 

In the fall of 2021, the Steinbach Fire Department encouraged more women to apply for a role as a firefighter. In the graduating class this week, two of the eight firefighters are women. Toews says they now have six female firefighters. 

It is great for the community to see Steinbach has an inclusive department, he says. 

There are now 50 people serving with the Steinbach Fire Department.