Area fire officers gather in Mount Forest for two-day workshop
April 12, 2017
Article by Mike Wilson
Being a firefighter goes 'Beyond Hoses and Helmets'
BACK TO SCHOOL – The learning never stops for firefighters, as a large group took part in the Beyond Hoses and Helmets workshop this past weekend at the Mount Forest fire hall. The officers’ workshop taught attendees some of the skills needed to effective manage a volunteer fire service. - Mike Wilson/Metroland Photo
MOUNT FOREST – For firefighters, the learning never ends.
This past weekend was a prime example of that, as nearly 30 volunteer firefighters from across the area were in Mount Forest for the Beyond Hoses and Helmets officers’ workshop.
The two-day workshop, sponsored by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, is aimed at fire service leaders and is instructed by working fire chiefs.
“The workshop is geared towards volunteer fire services,” said instructor Vince MacKenzie, fire chief of the Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador fire department. “We touch on how to manage the administration of a fire department.”
MacKenzie, along with Oromocto, New Brunswick fire chief Jody Price, have traveled across the country during the past “six or seven” years teaching the workshop to firefighters.
“It doesn’t matter what part of the country you’re from, the fire service is the same everywhere,” said MacKenzie. “The challenges are equal from province to province. The course discusses that, and that we’re just the same people cut from different trees.”
MacKenzie said everyone, including himself and Price, learns something new during the workshop.
“I learn just as much from them as I think they learn from me,” said MacKenzie. “Teaching this workshop has made me a better chief.”
Wellington North fire chief Dave Guilbault, along with all of Wellington North’s officers, attended the workshop. He said it gave firefighters a different look at the fire service.
“It was completely different than a regular Tuesday night training session,” said Guilbault. “I think it opened a lot of eyes for our firefighters, learning about budgets and management, being responsible to the taxpayer, and how to deal with personnel. It was a very good workshop.”
He said the feedback from the firefighters was extremely positive.
“It was a very well received session,” said Guilbault. “We learned from them, and they learned from us. It’s all about sharing and learning. Like I say, it’s a sad day when you can’t learn something.”
Guilbault expressed his thanks to MacKenzie and Price for coming to Mount Forest.
“For them to come here and give up their weekend, we’re very thankful,” he said.