Lanark Highlands council passed a by-law at its regular meeting Tuesday evening to hire Gene Richardson as the township’s new fire chief.
“We are very pleased to welcome Gene to the Lanark Highlands team,” said Reeve Peter McLaren. “He brings almost 25 years of firefighting experience to the position and has a great deal of local knowledge that will serve our community well.”
Richardson has been a member of the Drummond/North Elmsley Tay Valley Fire/Rescue since 1994 and has served in the role of captain since 2009. He has a wealth of experience, including incident command, safety officer and accountability officer duties, apparatus maintenance, performance appraisals, training facilitator, fire suppression and auto extrication, fire prevention, fire inspection, public education, mutual aid and overseeing officer on-call rotation. He has been involved in a wide range of departmental activities, including local and provincial training, and committees for truck specification, hiring and renovations, which familiarized him with budget considerations, plans and directives for fire prevention and suppression, as well as reports for the Office of the Fire Marshal.
In addition to knowledge of fire suppression and fire safety principles gained through firsthand experience at fire calls and through Ontario Fire College courses, Richardson has experience delivering training programs across Ontario and is comfortable in a leadership role. He was recently elected as a Tay Valley Township councillor, which he says has furthered his knowledge of budget considerations and public relations. He has had extensive training in a variety of topics through the fire department and in his roles with the Royal Canadian Armed Forces, Albany International and The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group, included human resource management, communication, financial/risk management and insurance.
“Communication is a key component of being a member of the fire service in both emergency and non-emergency situations,” Richardson says. “In order to be an effective firefighter, I have developed working relationships with stakeholders and community members. I am confident in my abilities and knowledge of rural fire suppression, fire prevention and fire training, and I believe they will be an asset in the position of fire chief.”
Richardson will begin his new role starting April 29th, 2019. The Lanark Highlands Fire Chief position has been vacant since October 2018.
“On behalf of council, I would like to acknowledge Deputy Chief Dave Smith for his assistance throughout the vacancy,” Reeve McLaren added.