www.firefightingincanada.com

Features Blogs Size-up
Size-up


October 10, 2013
By Rob Evans

Topics

Oct. 10, 2013, Redwood Meadows, Alta. – I have been doing a little bit of reflection since getting home from the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs Fire-Rescue Canada conference in Regina a couple of weeks ago. I have mainly been reflecting about my family, my personal accomplishments, my career and my department, Redwood Meadows Emergency Services (RMES).

Oct. 10, 2013, Redwood Meadows, Alta. – I have been doing a little bit of reflection since getting home from the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs Fire-Rescue Canada conference in Regina a couple of weeks ago. I have mainly been reflecting about my family, my personal accomplishments, my career and my department, Redwood Meadows Emergency Services (RMES).

I always say that family has to come first. The truth is that family does not always end up at the top of the list and, each September when I leave for Fire-Rescue Canada, I am reminded of that; not by anyone in the family – they are great. But, before leaving for the airport every year for the last six years, I have wished Nicholas, our middle child, a happy birthday. This year, Nick turned 10 and while we were watching the Roughriders take on the Lions at Mosaic Stadium, he was opening his birthday gifts. Thanks to Facebook, both his grandfather, RMES Deputy Chief George Low, and I were able to watch his reaction to his gifts. I appreciate that Nick, even at a young age, understands that I go to these conferences to learn and become a better person, hopefully someone he will continue to look up to.

While attending these conferences, I certainly take something away. Whether it is from the speakers, the vendors or my peers who have become close friends over the years, I always add something to my toolbox. This year was no different. I am learning more about the business end of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC).

As the CAFC’s editorial committee chair, I was involved in building the new partnership between the CAFC and Annex Business Media, the parent company of Fire Fighting in Canada. This partnership will continue to build and I am excited to continue to learn. As the editorial committee chair, the responsibility of recording the conference also belongs to me, as I have become the official photographer of the event. In that capacity, I have to park myself close to the speakers, which is of great benefit to me since there is no way for me to lose concentration while the speakers are presenting. Being so close to great fire-service leaders has been wonderful.

This year, we also had the benefit of listening to RCMP Assistant Commissioner Roger Brown and Saskatchewan Roughriders president and CEO, Jim Hopson. Both men shared great insight into leadership and community that can be beneficial to the fire service.

I was also given the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and present a breakout session during the first day of the conference. My presentation revolved around our successes at RMES – from the challenges we faced to how we were able to overcome many of those obstacles over the years. This discussion was a slightly updated version of the presentation I gave at the Alberta chiefs show in May, but it was definitely easier to get on stage and speak the second time around. The chiefs must have liked my presentation because I have been asked to speak to fire chiefs in British Columbia at their conference in June 2014. I am scheduled for not only two breakout sessions in Victoria, but also a keynote address about how RMES handled the flooding in June.

I will probably say it over and over again, but I must express my thanks to all of the conference committees that have asked me to speak over the last year. You have helped me grow, not only as a fire chief, but also as a person.

One thing I struggle with each year is coming back to my paying job at Calgary’s public safety communications – not as a fire chief. Answering 911 calls and dispatching fire and EMS is rewarding, but my dream job would be as a paid chief at the fire hall.

Thankfully, there is a fantastic group of members operating at RMES and they make it what it is. The challenges that we face, the same ones that I talk about at these conferences, are often overcome because of the entire team, not just one person. Proud is not a strong enough word to describe how I feel about my team. All I can say is that when I look in the mirror, I see everyone at RMES looking back at me.

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. Follow him on Twitter at @redwoodwoof.


Print this page

Related



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*