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September 25, 2012
By Rob Evans

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Sept. 25, 2012, St. John’s, Nfld. – The busy week continues. Today is the last day for me to run around and get some items for my photography of this year’s Fire-Rescue Canada. For my first trip to Newfoundland, I think it’s safe to say I’m going to shoot the, um, heck out of it. This will be the fifth year in a row that I have traveled to the conference in a chief officer role. For every one of those years, I have taken pictures for the CAFC and for the past couple of years at Government Relations Week in Ottawa, as well.

Sept. 25, 2012, St. John’s, Nfld. – The busy week continues. Today is the last day for me to run around and get some items for my photography of this year’s Fire-Rescue Canada. For my first trip to Newfoundland, I think it’s safe to say I’m going to shoot the, um, heck out of it. This will be the fifth year in a row that I have traveled to the conference in a chief officer role. For every one of those years, I have taken pictures for the CAFC and for the past couple of years at Government Relations Week in Ottawa, as well.

I was going through all of the pictures – hundreds of them – for a small project that I was working on. I realized a couple of things while editing the photos; 1) I have become better at taking photos of conferences over the years, and 2) I have met and become friends with an incredible selection of who’s who in the Canadian fire service. I have met some pretty incredible speakers at the conferences, from the private sector, sports figures, retired military leaders and, of course, fire service leaders from across North America. If fact, one of my favorites, Jim Harmes from Grande Blanc, Mich., was at the Pierce factory when I was doing a pre-build of our new rescue truck. You too can meet people like this and build relationships of your own if you attend Fire-Rescue Canada.

I have said it before but the smallest fire departments should try to attend this conference. If not every year, at least try to hit it every two or three years. The networking and resources available for you and your departments are immeasurable. And, at the very least, renew your memberships each year. This association is bigger and better than it has ever been and that makes us all strong.

If you are fortunate enough to attend this year’s Fire-Rescue Canada, you will witness an added level of excitement with elections occurring for the executive committee. The position of 2nd VP is being hotly contested by three great men from fire departments in western Canada. Chief Denis Pilon from Swift Current, Sask., Chief Les Karpluk from Prince Albert, Sask. and Deputy Chief Len McCharles from Calgary, Alta., are all vying for the title. All three have been very active in the fire service and the CAFC for a number of years. Regardless of who is chosen, the association will be well served.

Everyone should be looking forward to the great lineup of speakers that will be presenting in St. John’s. Yesterday, Montreal Directeur Serge Trembley discussed labour relations as it relates to the past in Montreal. Firefighter Jeff Mack from Fredericton, N.B., spoke about PTSD and his battles with addiction. The first speaker on Monday was Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Lewis Mackenzie who delivered an outstanding lesson on leadership. It was truly a thrill to meet and talk with Lewis.

Throughout today and tomorrow I will be busy listening to speakers, talking to venders, hanging out with friends, meeting new ones and taking lots of pictures. Another busy week, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Rob Evans is the chief fire officer for Redwood Meadows Emergency Services, 25 kilometres west of Calgary. Evans 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.


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