Sept. 25, 2009, Winnipeg -
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan Fire and Emergency Services
Chief Les Karpluk and Selkirk, Manitoba Fire Chief Dan Thorsteinson have been
respectively named Full-time Career Fire Chief of the Year and Volunteer Fire
Chief of the Year by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC).
Both awards were announced on Sept. 23, at the closing
ceremonies of the CAFC’s annual conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
“Leading fire departments in today’s complex environment is
a challenging task,” said CAFC President, Bruce Burrell, chief of the Calgary
Fire Department. He added “the chiefs we honour this year have both displayed
exemplary leadership to their staff and outstanding commitment to protecting
the safety of their communities.”
Prince Albert Fire Chief Les Karpluk is a 27-year career
veteran of the fire and emergency services and became chief in 2006, with a
staff of 50 under his command. He has played a leadership role in founding the
Fire Mentoring Program to help youth at risk in his community. Under this
program, youths, many of whom struggle with addiction problems, are partnered
with firefighters and exposed to an environment of teamwork, determination and
trust, safety and family.
Selkirk Fire Chief Dan Thorsteinson has served as a
firefighter for 25 years, becoming chief in 1999. A small business owner in the
community of 11,000, his operation, with 32 volunteers, is able to supply the
City of Selkirk and district with squads handling not only fires, but water/ice
rescue and confined space and rope rescue, to name a few. In addition, the
River Boat Burn Fund, of which chief Thorsteinson is Secretary-Treasurer, has
managed to raise some $275,000 for the Firefighters’ Burn Fund.
There are almost 3500 full-time, composite and volunteer
fire departments across Canada, with over 108,000 firefighting personnel.
Volunteers comprise 91 percent of departments and some 77 percent of personnel.