KENTVILLE - There’s a new chief at the Kentville Volunteer Fire Department.
Long-time member Brian Desloges is taking over for Ryan MacEachern on an interim basis until the position opens up again in November.
Desloges, who has served with the department for 25 years, accepted the position earlier this month.
“Brian was appointed by the board of directors to a vacancy in the current term and brings with him a wealth of education, experience and unsurpassed dedication that will truly benefit the community, our organization and the fire service as a whole,” a message posted on the department’s Facebook page July 12 reads.
The new chief is looking forward to putting his professional experience in education, management, public safety and administration to good use as he oversees operations at the fire department.
“It’s always been normal for fire chiefs to attend every alarm and that’s something the previous chief stopped doing and, quite frankly, we have a lot of very good people who have a lot of talents, a lot of abilities… to manage most fire operations with the training that they have,” said Desloges, who is keen to tackle the administrative duties handled by the chief.
A former deputy chief and trainer, he intends to focus on the behind the scenes work that will, ideally, result in improvements benefiting both the volunteer firefighters and the residents they serve.
“The department is in good hands when you have great people,” he said.
“A leader can only focus on so many things.”
Desloges is proud to say the crews in place are populated with firefighters fully qualified to handle the job at hand – whatever it may be.
“We’re a busy department. We average 400 calls per year and that’s been pretty consistent for the past five years.”
Desloges had the chance to build strong connections with members of the 13 fire departments in Kings County during a three-year stint working in emergency management planning for the municipality.
“One of the great things we initiated there was the automatic aid protocol, which every fire department loves – and it’s well established,” he said.
The automatic aid agreement ensures that neighbouring departments are paged to provide assistance right away in the event of a structure fire.
“We’re seeing, first off, a much faster response. Time is in the enemy in any structure fire condition,” he said, noting that this protocol ensures crews are in place to tackle ventilation, evacuation, overhaul, fire attack and rescues as soon as possible when needed.
Desloges, who is now semi-retired and working part-time at Kent in New Minas, stressed that departments throughout Kings County should be commended for the quality services they provide on a regular basis.
“Residents should be very satisfied and very proud of the fire services provided across all of Kings County, and Kentville is just one part of that system,” he said.
“We’re not the only guys out there playing the game. We have neighbours who are very competent, (who) we rely on to a great extent.”