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Oct. 9, 2012, Redwood Meadows, Alta. – “Here I am, on the road again,” wrote Bob Seger, one of my favorite artists. This has rung true with me over the past year, it seems. I have lived out of suitcases quite a bit this year for someone who does not do this fire chief gig full time. My full-time, volunteer job has had me all over the continent for different reasons.

October 9, 2012
By Rob Evans

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Oct. 9, 2012, Redwood Meadows, Alta. – “Here I am, on the road again,” wrote Bob Seger, one of my favorite artists. This has rung true with me over the past year, it seems. I have lived out of suitcases quite a bit this year for someone who does not do this fire chief gig full time. My full-time, volunteer job has had me all over the continent for different reasons.

It started out last October when I was sent to the Pierce Manufacturing plant in Appleton, Wis., to complete some training for one of my part-time jobs – delivering fire trucks for Pierce’s western Canadian dealer. I could not believe that Pierce was actually paying for my trip and the training, let alone paying me for being there. For me, that is the equivalent of paying a six-year-old to take a trip to Disneyworld! I love my big red fire trucks (BRTs), regardless of the manufacturer or where they are made. Any plant with BRTs in them is OK with me. But, as with most travel experiences, the networking involved in a trip like that cannot be overstated.

After the trip I was able to deliver a couple of trucks that involved some pretty long days of driving within Alberta. One aerial went to Fire Chief Brian McEvoy in the northeastern town of Bonnyville, and the other, a pumper, to the northwest city of Grande Prairie, for Fire Chief Everett Cooke. Both trips were short overnighters, but were fun just the same.

In between those deliveries, I travelled to Ottawa for the CAFC’s government relations week in March. This year’s activities included thanking many MPs on the Hill for the work they had done to get the volunteer firefighter tax credit passed in the federal budget. It cannot be said enough, so I’ll say it again on behalf of the firefighters who benefits from the credit and all those who worked so hard to make it a reality: Thank you!

Not long afterwards I was once again on an airplane headed back to Wisconsin to take part in a pre-build meeting for our new rescue truck at Redwood Meadows Emergency Services (RMES). We had been working in officers meetings and sitting around the table at the hall since the beginning of the year, bouncing ideas off of each other and on this trip it was all coming to a head. All of our thoughts were put to paper and, low and behold, a truck was born. It was a bit of a whirlwind trip but, as always, I loved being around all of those fire trucks. The worst was yet to come though – waiting for the production to begin and seeing our truck get built from the ground up.

I made a couple of small daytrips over the summer to present new-truck orientations to some fire departments after they had taken delivery of their new apparatuses. But I did not venture too far away from Redwood Meadows.

Summer came and went and once fall had rolled around I was in the air again, this time to St. John’s, N.L., for Fire-Rescue Canada 2012. I had an exceptional time on The Rock during and after the conference. This time my family – Jenn, Alex, Nick and Michaela – all made the trip along with my father-in-law (and deputy chief of RMES) George Low, and we met up with my brother-in-law Jason to visit family in the Swift Current area. What a blast. . . I loved the kitchen party before we left. Thanks for making us feel like we’ve been living there all along, especially to Uncle Kev and Aunt Mab.

And now here it is, not even two weeks after getting home from Newfoundland, I’m on the road again. I have travelled once again to Appleton, this time making the trip to complete the final inspection of our new rescue. Getting to see the final result after months of hard work by our members is very gratifying, to say the least. I know that I am not a rock star, but boy does seeing this new truck for our members and community ever make me feel like one.

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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