April 25, 2012, Redwood Meadows, Alta. - I have been thinking recently
that I might want to buy shares in Dairy Queen. At least that way my
ice-cream spending habits for the guys and gals around the fire station
in Redwood Meadows would be coming back to me.
You see, there’s an unwritten rule that if you have your picture in the media around these parts, you have to buy ice cream. Since I was promoted to fire chief on April 1 (insert April Fool’s jokes here) the paparazzi seem to be following me more than Lindsey Lohan. TV, radio, newspaper – it doesn’t seem to matter. Talking to the media isn’t new to me. I’ve been the “face” of Redwood Meadows Emergency Services since I was first promoted to lieutenant in 1997 but the frozen dessert treats seem to be catching up to me now.
We have a great bunch of firefighters on our small department, 25 kilometres west of Calgary, and the members have never pushed the ice-cream issue when I was to have my picture or interview air on a local TV station. Now, they apparently have a taste for ice cream like a mosquito does for the back of your neck.
Intended or not, this is a good test for the newly appointed fire chief. A simple, fun rule in a small volunteer station can speak volumes in the eyes of our firefighters when they’re watching for a reaction. It is no different than on the fire ground when firefighters are watching to see if you’re following the SOGs that you lay out for them to learn and use. I have always led by example and I will have to make sure that the biggest ice cream cake in the DQ freezer gets put on the kitchen table at the station on training night on Tuesday. I have worked hard over the last 20 years to gain the respect of the entire crew at Redwood Meadows and now, more than ever, it is important to keep it. It starts with following the basic rules of our fire station family.
Maybe instead of buying shares to get a return from my investment, I will just count my blessings. Just maybe I can see for myself how far a little frozen treat will go in remaining a member of the family I am so proud to be a part of.
Rob Evans is the fire chief for Redwood Meadows Emergency Services in Alberta. He attended the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in 1989 and studied photojournalism. In 1992 he joined RMES after taking pictures of an interface fire and making prints for the department. He has his NFPA 1001 level II certification, NFPA 472 Operations and Awareness (hazmat), NFPA 1041 level I (fire service instructor), Dalhousie University certificate in fire-service leadership and certificate in fire-service administration and is a registered emergency medical responder with the Alberta College of Paramedics. He lives in Redwood Meadows with his wife, a firefighter/EMT with RMES, and three children. Contact him at