New fire chief joins North Grenville ranks
New fire chief joins North Grenville ranks
June 13, 2017
Kemptville Advance
North Grenville officially appointed John Okum as the new director of emergency and protective services/fire chief during the June 12 council session. Above, Okum, left, accepts the fire chief helmet from Mayor David Gordon. Okum, who previously served as fire chief with the Arnprior Fire Service, brings more than 28 years of experience to his new role. - Ashley Kulp/Metroland
North Grenville’s newest addition to the team was given a warm welcome by council, staff and the public June 12.
Director of emergency and protective services/fire chief John Okum attended the regular council session on his first day of work, where he was officially appointed as an officer of the municipality. Okum was presented with his fire chief helmet by Mayor David Gordon as council, members of his new North Grenville Fire Service, as well as his former colleagues with the Arnprior Fire Service and McNab/Braeside Fire Service, looked on.
He admitted the occasion was “a little overwhelming” but he was looking forward to being part of the North Grenville team.

“…The one thing I will remember is when Mr. (Brian) Carré (North Grenville chief administrative officer) welcomed me aboard, he said ‘Welcome to Team North Grenville.’ That is what I’m based on, team,” Okum remarked. “You are very fortunate to have such a great fire protective services. They are a team and I’m looking forward to working with them closely and with the rest of the team of the municipality.”
Upon relocating to North Grenville over the weekend with wife, Gail, Okum said they had the opportunity to explore the community, including the Kemptville Farmers’ Market.
“It was nothing but warm welcomes from the community,” he said. “We look forward to our stay here…”
Okum, a lifelong resident of Arnprior, brings more than 28 years of fire service experience with him to North Grenville. He began with the Town of Arnprior in the late 1980s as a volunteer firefighter, working his way up the ranks to fire chief, a position he held for the past seven years.
He was involved in nearly every facet of the fire service from serving as fire prevention/community safety officer, community emergency management co-ordinator, as well as an instructor with the pre-service firefighter program at Algonquin College. Okum also has college diplomas in business, fire prevention and fire officer and is a certified fire and explosion investigator and fire prevention officer. He has achieved certified municipal manager level III status with the Ontario Municipal Management Institute as a fire service executive, fire suppression professional and fire prevention professional.
Okum’s education and experience will be an asset to North Grenville, Carré noted.
“There is absolutely no doubt that Chief Okum’s experience in a growing eastern Ontario municipality that services both the urban and rural population will be invaluable to our organization,” he commented.
“I’d like to take an opportunity to congratulate John on becoming the newest member of our North Grenville family…on behalf of all of us John, we’re very pleased to have you among us and look forward to a long career with the fire service in North Grenville. Welcome,” Carré added.
Okum takes over for former director of emergency and protective services/fire chief, Paul Hutt, who left the municipality in April. Since that time, deputy fire chief Randy Urslak has assumed temporary fire chief duties.