Brighton fire chief retiring after nearly three decades of service

Brighton fire chief retiring after nearly three decades of service
By Sarah Hyatt
Brighton Independent
Link to article: Brighton fire chief retiring after nearly three decades of service

Brighton fire chief retiring after nearly three decades of service1

After 28-and-a-half-years of service, Lloyd Hutchinson is hanging up his helmet.

Brighton’s long-time fire chief officially retires on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Hutchinson started out as a volunteer firefighter on July 11, 1989. He’s spent the last eight years at the helm of the Brighton District Fire Department.

“I knew I wanted to do something to work with and help the town and then, the opportunity to join the fire department came up,” said Hutchinson. “I took a lot of courses and worked my way through the ranks and I’ve enjoyed it all the way through.”

And his accomplishments over the years are many, though the chief says he was fortunate to join the department when he did, because he’s had the opportunity to grow with it.

“When I joined in '89, the process had just started to replace all the vehicles and we just started doing our own auto-extrication and using the SCBA [self-contained breathing apparatus] equipment, so we could fight fires internally, instead of just outside,” said Hutchinson.

Getting the department its own auto-extrication equipment turned out to be a big undertaking, he noted.

As Hutchinson moved through the ranks, he began to realize the demands for the fire department were growing and growing, and they would likely continue to do so for many years to come.

Because of this and by the time he made chief, he said he knew the addition at Station 2 in Codrington, which included two new bays and a training room, was much needed.

“I’m happy that worked out really well,” he said.

Hutchinson also developed and implemented the Brighton fire master plan, which municipal staff say has been instrumental in modernizing many procedures and policies. In 2015, he implemented the emergency notification system, which alerts residents of emergency situations or hazards that could affect their health and safety.

Last year, in the wake of record-high water levels and the relentless flooding, Hutchinson and his crew helped multiple waterfront residents to protect their homes and as they battled the weather almost on repeat.

And at least one Harbour Street resident, Grant Harvey Fleming, credited the fire department publicly for essentially saving his kitchen.

Hutchinson also oversaw the updating and standardization of equipment for both fire stations and trained local firefighters to do water and ice rescues.

“We do have a replacement plan in place and have been working to replace our trucks,” said Hutchinson.

During his time at the helm, a rescue truck at Station 2 was replaced and a new water truck and a pumper for Station 1 were secured, in addition to the new rescue truck for Station 1, which was recently finalized but has yet to arrive.

The completion of the fire master plan and securing the water rescue equipment, as well as getting firefighters trained to do those water and ice rescues are two of the bigger initiatives Hutchinson says he is most proud to have been a part of.

“We worked really hard to get the water rescue equipment and to get firefighters trained,” he said, adding this was another big undertaking for the department.

Keeping firefighters’ training current and ensuring they remain up-to-date with their skills and are constantly working ahead has been a top priority for the chief as well.

In addition to training local firefighters, Hutchinson has been active in training efforts with fire staff countywide over the years and also served as the community emergency management co-ordinator.

Hutchinson has been involved with several committees for fire safety and countless community activities.

Brighton’s deputy fire chief, Rick Caddick, will be stepping up as chief when Hutchinson retires on Feb. 28.

“The department is running well and I know Rick has some ideas and I know he will keep moving the department forward,” said Hutchinson.

Hutchinson will be enjoying his retirement by spending time with family and at the cottage and on the golf course. He also has plans to travel and tinker around with his old antique tractor. 

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