Fire department welcomes new deputy chief
woodstocksentinelreview.com
 
Trevor Shea was named the department’s deputy fire chief two months after Jeff Slager became the chief in July. (Greg Colgan/Woodstock Sentinel-Review)

The Woodstock Fire Department has hired an experienced firefighter – and former paramedic – as its new deputy chief.
Trevor Shea was named to the position two months after Jeff Slager – the former deputy chief – formally became chief in July.
Shea began his career as a volunteer firefighter in The Pas in Northern Manitoba. He spent five years there, including three as a paramedic, before joining the Mississauga Fire Department in 2000.
He rose through that department’s ranks, moving from a firefighter to training officer to division chief of training. He finished his time in Mississauga as the division chief of operations and communications. One of his accomplishments during his time there was leading a project that saw Mississauga become the first Ontario fire department to add EpiPens to its trucks.
“I thought I had lots to contribute with fresh ideas and it appealed to me to be able to give back. In Mississauga, there’s 20 different stations, so when you’re on a fire truck you affect the people you serve in that particular area,” he said.
“When I went into training, you get to affect everyone in the department. It’s the same in becoming a chief. You get to make a difference and hopefully making it better.”
Shea was raised in the small hamlets of Long Beach and Cameron near Sturgeon Lake in the Kawartha Lakes region. He went to school in Fenelon Falls – a town of about 2,000 people – south of Lindsay.
He said it was that small-town  background that led him to wanting to work in Woodstock.
“I had a great job in Mississauga, but in a bigger department you don’t have a community feel and I wanted to have that,” Shea said. “When you change a service or provide a new service, you can see it in a smaller community.”
The department moved quickly to hire a deputy chief after Slager was promoted to fire chief on July 12. After having served as the acting chief for two-and-a-half years, Slager wanted to swiftly round out the department’s top staff.
Shea said he applied for the position in the last week of August, interviewed in early September and began as deputy chief on Sept. 16.
Shea said the department’s top brass is still defining roles, but he will look after operations such as the suppression crews and training, with a focus on developing new training programs and possibly rejuvenating existing ones.
“It’s working together to develop the best product for Woodstock,” he said. “Training’s constantly evolving. There’s always a new way or technique to improve.”
The department will add a live fire-training simulator behind the Parkinson Avenue station after that $450,000 investment was approved in the 2019 budget. City council approved an additional $100,000 in June and the aim is to have it operational by next spring.
Shea said a priority will be ensuring certifications are current and training is constantly expanding.
“The department’s in really good shape. The challenge of a smaller department is you have to be a jack of all trades. In a larger municipality, you have specialists that people solely focus on and you put specific equipment in those areas, so they can handle that if an issue arises,” he said.
“With two fire stations here, you have to have adaptability and the ability to handle any situation. They have to be experts at it all and they do a really great job.”