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Jan. 25, 2012 – I frequently am asked, "What exactly are you doing now?" For 15 years, my answer to that question was a fairly straightforward, "I'm a fire chief," except that I always had to add, "of a microscopic village in Northwestern Ontario . . . oh, and I'm also the training officer, the inspector, the investigator, the public-relations officer, the janitor, the secretary, the maintenance man, Head of Security, Chief of Technical Support (ha ha), Head Mechanic (rolling on the floor in hilarious laughter now), The Guy Who is Supposed to Know Everything, and the Guy Responsible if Anything Goes Wrong at Anytime (not funny at all) . . ."

January 25, 2012
By Tim Beebe

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Jan. 25, 2012 – I frequently am asked, "What exactly are you doing now?" For 15
years, my answer to that question was a fairly straightforward, "I'm a
fire chief," except that I always had to add, "of a microscopic village
in Northwestern Ontario . . . oh, and I'm also the training officer, the
inspector, the investigator, the public-relations officer, the janitor,
the secretary, the maintenance man, Head of Security, Chief of
Technical Support (ha ha), Head Mechanic (rolling on the floor in
hilarious laughter now), The Guy Who is Supposed to Know Everything, and
the Guy Responsible if Anything Goes Wrong at Anytime (not funny at
all) . . ."

My job description is less complex now. I'm the manager for the Pre-Service Firefighter Program at Confederation College in Thunder Bay. I'm
not an instructor (long, sad sigh), but I get to work with
seven talented instructors on a daily basis. In short, my job is
to co-ordinate the program and make sure the instructors have what they
need to do their jobs, which is teaching 18 students in the pre-service program.

I do get to hang out with the students sometimes, and I will get to
instruct a little upon occasion. I'm not chained to my office (long,
happy sigh), and I am surrounded by a wonderful team of support people
that all have individual jobs like administration, tech support, and
security . . . and who carefully guide me along in this new, strange
world where I don't
have to do everything. If I need 18 copies of a manual, I fill out a
single piece of paper, deliver it the friendly folks at the print shop,
and like magic, 18 collated, stapled, two-sided, three-holed copies
appear. If my phone or computer doesn't
work, I send an email or make a call, and a Harry Potter-style wizard
appears to fix the problem. If I need advice, the secretaries down the
hall are omniscient. And perhaps best of all, if I can't figure out what my job is, my boss’s door is open, and he patiently helps me sort things out.

Does it sound like I'm on top of the world yet? Maybe not, but I'm getting there.

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On another topic, two other Ontario firefighter bloggers have been active, even though I haven`t been. You can read Dispatches here, and Ontario Vol FF here.

Yesterday during an Emergency Patient Care evolution, my cell phone
buzzed, and I knew from the number that it was a call out in Upsala. Car
vs. train. The only thing worse than getting a page like that as a
firefighter, is getting a page like that and knowing you can't
go. I gave them time to respond, then phoned the Upsala Fire Department
scribe. The driver was hurt, but not trapped. My crew was helping
package and load him. I went back to the class where my students were
diligently applying collars and strapping each other onto backboards
under the supervision of paramedics in training. "Pay attention folks.
This is where its at," I told them. You can read a brief news story here.

I still call them my crew, but in reality, they aren’t
mine anymore. Upsala hired our former deputy chief, and as of
today, Ken Kingston is taking full responsibility for . . . for . . .
well, you saw the list, and you know he isn't simply the fire chief.

All the best in your new career, Ken!

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