“Well today was the day Cyrus Dastouri (treasurer Victim Services) and Petra Pfeiffer (Executive Director, Victim Services) got to spend the day with us at the Wetaskiwin fire hall”, stated Leigh Sawicki, director of protective services, City of Wetaskiwin. “They purchased a day of training at out fire department gala in February. We hope you enjoyed the day.”
It was only a short time ago that Victim Services was challenged with the pending retirement of Jennie Blakely following 16 years of serving as executive director. However, the Board was pleased to hire a new executive director, Petra Pfeiffer. Petra’s experience with Victim Services began in 2004 as an advocate and evolved into a coordinator position. She had worked out of numerous RCMP detachments and worked with a volunteer board since 2006.
The board undertook many new initiatives; creating and using a systematic board recruitment tool that matches the needs of the unit with prospective board members, a review of financial procedures and reporting and creation of an investment policy. The board also embarked on a new venture – strategic planning sessions where important goals were identified to guide present and future development of the organization.
New goals included awareness and education which also included enhancing relationships with protective service providers. Victim Services, in an attempt to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of the fire department, decided to take a training session offered at the firefighter’s gala fundraiser in February.
On August 16 treasurer Cyrus Dastouri and Pfeiffer suited up in firefighter gear and were put through a rigorous training routine. “The training was fabulous and besides being a lot of fun was also an eye opener to me,” said Pfeiffer. “Our emergency responders do some tremendous work out there and this cannot be emphasized enough. I salute all of them for a job well done. This training just confirmed my experience that seconds can make a difference between life and death.”
As a result of the training session she offers some advice. “The comment that I have for the residents is to move your vehicles out of the way if an emergency vehicle is approaching. They need get to where they need to go as quickly as possible.” Pfeiffer concludes by disclosing “This was truly a one in a life time experience to me and the training was intense. Muscles that I did not even know I had are aching. I would like to see the general public including our volunteers taking this training if physically able to as it is invaluable. Victim Services traditionally works closely with emergency service providers and I am hoping to build on this existing working relationship with the Wetaskiwin Fire Department in the future.”