Alberta Fire Chiefs Gather In Red Deer

Gathering of fire chiefs includes a variety of events

SKY HIGH - In the Rosenbauer’s T-Rex bucket

SKY HIGH - In the Rosenbauer’s T-Rex bucket

From May 24 until May 27 more than 200 Alberta fire chiefs, fire authority leaders and first responders gathered at the Sheraton Red Deer to network, learn and be inspired. As in any other industry, the opportunity to compare notes and discuss innovative ideas on what matters to them is precious to those who have served as firefighters and now lead and train their comrades.

On Day One of this 38th Annual Alberta Fire Chiefs Association Conference (AFCA), an impressive ceremony recognized 68 Alberta firefighters for their long-time, selfless service. Among them, three Alberta fire services members received their “third bar” for 50 years of service. In Alberta, close to 18,000 firefighters and officers serve in municipal, rural, military and industrial fire services and wildfire crews.

Day Two was Tradeshow Day. More than 100 exhibitors gathered to display many critical elements of firefighters’ safety and development. The Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation was created in 2003 to ultimately design and build the Canadian Firefighters Memorial in 2012, an imposing statue and memorial wall erected near Parliament Hill in Ottawa (www.cfff.ca). In September, many regional fire officers and members will be attending the Canadians Firefighters Annual Memorial Ceremony in Ottawa. Joanne Barton of Muscular Dystrophy Canada was grateful in explaining that since 1954, Alberta firefighters have raised more than $3 million for this organisation through their boot drives and rooftops campaigns, and an amazing $70 million has been raised by 600 fire services across Canada.

The AFCA Bookstore, dynamically run by the AFCA’s CFO Allen Mercier in Bonnyville (and online), displayed an impressive collection of training manuals and firefighting-related books, including books of cartoon art by iconic author Paul Combs (afca.ab.ca). The Alberta Safety Code Council and the Canadian Red Cross were among many others that showcased their connection to those who save lives and property.

Gerald Haakenson, Manager of Emergency Services Equipment for Leduc County, was proud to discuss his department’s contribution to a program led by Victor Fernandez of St-Albert that re-purposes fire equipment and vehicles to countries in dire need of it, such as Chili and Guatemala. Since fire equipment has an “expiry date”, it is critical to find recipients who will appreciate and use it: it also creates a spirit of good will between our countries.

Behind the tradeshow hall, a large display of firetrucks, extrication equipment and ambulances saw a constant stream of visitors. Mike Feduniw of Red Deer-based  Rocky Mountain Phoenix offered rides on the Rosenbauer T-Rex fire truck’s articulating platform, reaching a height of 115 feet. This reporter was one of the lucky delegates who got to ride to the maximum height, experiencing a magnificent view of Red Deer and feeling minimum wind motion, due to the heavy construction of the Rosenbauer T-Rex.

Day Three was packed full of informative sessions. Recruitment of dedicated individuals to serve their communities and rural fire departments is an ongoing challenge: the AFCA has developed a model for volunteer firefighter recruitment that has earned keen approval from other provinces and national associations. It is a dream for many youths to become a firefighter. Despite the current statistics telling us that firefighters are exponentially more likely than other citizens to experience heart attacks, cancers and hearing loss, even mature adults give in to their dream of being a firefighter; when work and family duties allow, they sign up for a life of service and endless training.

Town of Calmar Fire Chief David Brooks and Lt. Stephen Zerr were enthusiastic delegates; both officers were extremely pleased with this opportunity to network with their peers, and both agreed that the most valuable session for them was “10 Commandments for the Company Officer”. Among the ten topics they plan to share with their crews, they particularly liked “No excuses” that dealt with the full completion of necessary tasks. Others on the list were “Humility” and “Do things others won’t do”.

Other sessions dealt with the mandatory and complex paperwork that follows a workplace injury or death, safety codes, a report on the Calgary floods, critical incident stress debriefing and more. Interestingly, these topics would be valuable to leaders of various industries.

On the last day of the Conference, outgoing AFCA President Brian Cornforth retired to pursue a deputy chief of planning position with Edmonton Fire and Rescue Services and passed the reins to Camrose Fire Chief Peter Krich. Thanks to the Organizing Committee’s excellent planning and the Sheraton Red Deer’s hospitality, the 2015 Alberta Fire Chiefs Conference was a success, a rich opportunity to gain improved leadership skills.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID
Red Deer down to 313 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta reports an additional 411 COVID-19 cases

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Economists “cautiously hopeful” for economic recovery in Alberta

Charles St. Arnaud says Alberta’s recovery will rebound along with roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw acknowledged that Friday would be one year since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the province. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three more Red Deer COVID-19 deaths, 331 active cases in Alberta

Red Deer is down to 362 active cases of the virus

Image curtesy Metro Creative Connection
County of Wetaskiwin addresses unpaid oil and gas taxes

The County of Wetaskiwin is addressing unpaid oil and gas taxes and… Continue reading

Caitlin Kraft, the sister of Jeffery Kraft, stands third from the left, holding a sign calling for the maximum sentence for Campbell, who is charged with manslaughter. (Photo by Paul Cowley)
UPDATED: Judge again rejects submission of 7-year sentence for slaying of Kraft

Tyler John Campbell charged with second-degree murder for December 2019 homicide

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A decommissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is suspending all of the licences held by an oil and gas producer with more than 2,200 wells and 2,100 pipelines after it failed to bring its operations into compliance. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta Energy Regulator suspends licences of oil and gas producer that owes $67M

The company is being asked to comply with past orders to clean up historic spills and contamination

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Seniors in the 65-unit Piper Creek Lodge are among those waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta senior lodges anxiously waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations

“Should be at the front of the line, not the back of the line”

Pictured here is Stettler’s Jenner Smith with a guide dog from Aspen Service Dogs. An online auction will be running soon to help raise funds for Jenner to receive his very own service dog later this year. Jenner, who is four years old, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019. photo submitted
An online auction is planned to raise funds for a service dog for a Stettler family

Jenner Smith, four, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Most Read