Edmonton Fire Rescue – Fire Chief of the Year

Edmonton Fire Rescue Chief Ken Block was named Fire Chief of the Year for 2013  He rocks.  He’s  the big cheese, el Generalissimo, the head honcho of the Edmonton Fire Rescue service.  He was on Edmonton radio this morning and spoke about resources being stretched due to the city growing so much.  I know Ken, he fought hard to get hearing compensation for firefighters when he was the union prez.  As a result I get hearing aids until I pass on.

He also mentioned the dept. gets almost 40,000 calls a year.  That’s a lot, and every year it goes up, right along with the big increase in arson fires.  If you live in an apartment or condo, don’t trust your neighbors.  I’ve seen renters do some insane stuff putting plenty of people at risk.  Ken has done an admirable job and is Fire Chief of the Year.  He won’t get on People magazine cover but from all angles he’s a good guy.  Many people only think of fire departments when there’s a fire.

Any rescue, any time.  Mr. Ed has a bad day.
Mr. Ed has a bad day.   Any rescue, any time.

The reality is when any kind of rescue or weird incident happens to baffle people it’s the firefighters that are called.  The horse in the picture is an example of a ‘service’ call.  There’s no training manual on this. Between Hazardous Goods and water/river rescue, High Angle Rescue and Emergency Medical Responders (advanced emergency patient care) there happens to be fires: garage fires, house fires, vehicle fires, playground fires, and bush and grass fires.  The city hasn’t lost a firefighter since 1974 because of its high level  of training, competent officers, and a Command and Control system that is strictly adhered to.

What the majority of 40,000 calls are is the everyday work that goes on.  Big emergencies are the spikes.  Numbers can be deceiving. Some departments, including Edmonton’s EMS  counts individual units responding to one call.  If it’s a multi-vehicle accident and three units are sent it’s record it as three separate calls.  With Edmonton Fire Rescue, even a third alarm fire is recorded as one call, regardless of how many units respond.

Time to bask in the fame, Ken.

With luck, he’ll stay on for another year and become the Fire Chief of the Year again.