Al Reaume

Amherstburg Fire Department honours retirees, long-serving members

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Fire Department paid tribute to nine retirees and eight long-serving firefighters as part of their annual banquet.

The retirement and awards banquet was held Saturday night with the retirees alone amounting for 264 years of service to the community. Retirees included former deputy chief James Ouellette (46 Years of Service), Frank Beaudoin (45 years), Kenneth Tytgat (35 years), Mike Dikan (30 years), Brian Gibb (26 years), Rodney Ferriss (23 years), Marcy Laframboise (21 years), Rob Taylor (20 years) and Russell Deslippe (18 years).

Also honoured was Al Reaume, who spent his last official day as fire chief Saturday night before re-entering retirement. Essex MP Tracey Ramsey thanked Reaume for the work he put in during his two years as chief and all of the award recipients as well.

Top (left to right) Captain Brad Brush, Firefighter Rob Taylor, Firefighter Tom Morand, Captain Jerry Ferguson, Captain Frank Beaudoin, Captain Paul Bastien, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey. Bottom (left to right) Captain Rick Wismer, District Chief Ken Rose, Firefighter Brian Gibb, Firefighter Marcy Laframboise, Firefighter Ken Tytgat, Chief Al Reaume, Firefighter Rodney Ferriss.

Top (left to right): Captain Brad Brush, Firefighter Rob Taylor, Firefighter Tom Morand, Captain Jerry Ferguson, Captain Frank Beaudoin, Captain Paul Bastien, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey. Bottom (left to right): Captain Rick Wismer, District Chief Ken Rose, Firefighter Brian Gibb, Firefighter Marcy Laframboise, Firefighter Ken Tytgat, Chief Al Reaume, Firefighter Rodney Ferriss.

“I thank you for your service to the community,” said Ramsey.

Ramsey also thanked the families, noting all the time and sacrifices they have to endure in addition to the sacrifices made by the firefighters themselves.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo noted that Reaume was already retired when the town called him to assume command of the department two years ago when it was being restructured. He also praised the firefighters for the job they did during those difficult circumstances.

“You have remained focused, dedicated and professional,” DiCarlo said.

DiCarlo also reiterated what Reaume told the River Town Times in the April 12 issue. Reaume’s quote was: “The firefighters here are phenomenal. They’ll give you 100 per cent. They are doing the job for the right reasons.”

Leading is not always glamorous, the mayor added, and said Reaume came to Amherstburg in less than ideal circumstances. Despite the workload or challenges Reaume was faced with, DiCarlo said the chief was “unflappable” and did his job professionally.

“Amherstburg is a better place because of you and we wish you well as you go back into retirement,” DiCarlo told Reaume.

Chief Al Reame presents Capt. Rick Wismer (right) with the Fire Chief’s Medal of Excellence during the Amherstburg Fire Department's award banquet April 22.

Chief Al Reame presents Capt. Rick Wismer (right) with the Fire Chief’s Medal of Excellence during the Amherstburg Fire Department’s award banquet April 22.

Reaume also presented Capt. Rick Wismer with the Fire Chief’s Medal of Excellence. Wismer was getting ready to head to a medical call in the early morning hours of July 15, 2016 when he looked across the road from Station 2 and saw a house on fire. The residents were still sleeping because, as Reaume stated, the fire started in the garage and went into the attic thus going above where the working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms were situated. Wismer checked the home and was able to get the family out safely.

Wismer said it goes to show what the firefighters learn and that they fall back on their training in emergency situations.

“It’s very special,” he said, of receiving the medal. “Some people go a career without receiving something like this. I wasn’t expecting it for sure.”

Receiving the award from Reaume was special as well, Rick Wismer added, with Reaume being “like a father figure to us.”

Rick Wismer also received his 20 year service medal with other medals and bars going to Paul Bastien (45 years), Jerry Ferguson (35 years), Bradley Brush (30 years), Dikan (30 years), Tom Morand (20 years), Ken Rose (20 years) and Taylor (20 years).

Rose, a district chief, and Capt. Randy Wismer paid tribute to the other retirees. Randy Wismer said Beaudoin has been through many changes over the years and said his life is “honestly a remarkable life of service” and one that people should aspire to. Wismer called Ferriss someone who was honest and bold and also “a welcome sight to see on fire calls when I was promoted to captain.”

Laframboise was Amherstburg’s first female firefighter and Wismer noted that while there were challenges, she met them and became an important asset. He praised Laframboise for her work at medical calls.

Rose called Dikan a “wizard” who knew the capabilities of what could be done. Deslippe is a “super loyal guy” who was very knowledgeable and a person who “had your back” at fire calls.

Tytgat proved to be a “very versatile guy” at fire calls, Rose continued, and was also a good person when it came to organizing fire safety initiatives and Christmas parties. Gibb is funny, endearing and a “jokester” while Taylor was a “real pro” who took special interest in auto extrication and sharing his knowledge with his fellow firefighters.

The retirees in attendance made a few comments of their own, with Tytgat thanking all of his colleagues at Station 3. He added the spouses and families deserved a lot of credit as well for the sacrifices they make.

“We’ve got a good group of firefighters at all three fire stations,” said Gibb, adding the residents can be proud of the dedication of their firefighters.

Beaudoin said he was proud and honoured to work with his fellow firefighters and said his career went by quickly.

“It goes by fast, especially when you enjoy what you do,” said Beaudoin.

Laframboise said she was proud to be able to work with the Amherstburg Fire Department.

“It was an honour to have met you all and work with you all,” said Laframboise.

Taylor also praised the firefighters and encouraged everyone to “keep up the good work” while Ferriss said he will have nothing but good memories from his time on the fire department.

Bruce Montone, the new chief of the Amherstburg Fire Department, said he was struck by the “sense of family” that exists within the department.

“I am very honored to have been given the opportunity to work with you and earn my place hopefully as part of your family,” Montone told the large crowd at the AMA Sportsmen Club. “I hope very much to do that.”

Montone said when new firefighters are brought on, they bring a “two-for-one” value as their spouses also come as part of the package.

Reaume recalled the accomplishments in his two years as chief, including complying with the 23 orders from the Ministry of Labour, upgrading and servicing equipment with the help of town council, establishing health and safety committees and correcting about 175 deficiencies they found, initiating an Ontario Fire Marshal review with the goal to help with training, getting $30,000 from the Ministry of Health to assist with emergency management and partnering with the Rotary Club on a carbon monoxide detector project.

Deputy Chief Lee Tome said he worked with Reaume for 33 years and worked with Montone for five years and “I can assure you we are going to continue the progress we’ve made.” Tome agreed that “firefighters are doing it for the right reasons” and also praised the families.

“I enjoy it here so much,” said Tome. “It’s been such a great experience.”

 

Former Windsor fire chief looking forward to starting in Amherstburg

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Bruce Montone may have retired as fire chief in Windsor but he has no plans on leaving firefighting.

Montone was officially named as the new fire chief in Amherstburg and will start his new duties April 24. Current fire chief Al Reaume will resume his retirement at that point.

“You can’t believe how much I’m looking forward to it,” Montone told the RTT prior to Monday night’s council meeting.

Montone’s contract with Windsor expired at the end of March but he decided he didn’t want to leave firefighting altogether.

“I decided that retirement won’t fit me very well, at least not yet,” he said.

Montone said he has seen the work Reaume has done in Amherstburg since coming on in 2015 and the “significant changes” the Amherstburg Fire Department has embarked upon and that made his decision to come to Amherstburg somewhat easier.

After talking to Reaume, he spoke with CAO John Miceli about the position and talks progressed to where Montone agreed to take the chief’s job in Amherstburg.

Bruce Montone, who retired as Windsor fire chief March 31, is the new Amherstburg fire chief. He assumes his new duties April 24.

Bruce Montone, who retired as Windsor fire chief March 31, is the new Amherstburg fire chief. He assumes his new duties April 24.

“It was not a difficult discussion (with Miceli), let’s put it that way,” said Montone.

Montone had a five-year contract with Windsor but said he agreed to extended it to have a transition put in place. Now that the transition in Windsor has come to fruition, he said he is coming to Amherstburg to continue the work Reaume started and to “continue to move the department in the direction he set.”

One of the major priorities for Montone will be the creation of a new master fire plan for Amherstburg.

“Obviously, we are going to need significant input,” said Montone, noting the input has to come from the firefighters and the public at large. “It’s very, very important to listen to what the community expects of their fire service. We want to hear what the public thinks and expects for the next five to ten years.”

That plan will also see the input of the province and town council, he added.

The incoming chief has nearly 41 years of experience including stops in municipalities similar in size to Amherstburg. He has been a volunteer firefighter, a career firefighter, a fire prevention officer and fire chief in northern Ontario. Montone worked with the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office from 1987-2002 and was also a deputy fire chief in Ottawa where he was responsible for the communications division, special operations division, comprised of Haz-Mat/CBRNE, all rescue activities including water and ice, auto-extrication, high angle, confined space, trench and USAR Operations. His biography includes stating that the Divisions of Fire Prevention, Training, Safety, and Maintenance were also part of his portfolio.

“My impression of the town of Amherstburg is that there is a huge amount of community pride and commitment by its residents. People in Amherstburg are very proud of what they have,” he said, adding he believes his career has come full circle.

Miceli also outlined Montone’s qualifications, including an Ontario Public Safety Award and the Fire Chief of the Year Award, the latter being from the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs. Both of those awards came in 2016.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said Reaume expressed a desire to go back into retirement and Miceli was aware of Montone’s contract expiring in Windsor. He noted that the timing was perfect as it is also time for the new master fire plan and Montone could start on it from the beginning rather than taking over mid-stream.

DiCarlo said Montone has a “very healthy CV” and believes Amherstburg is very well situated with both Montone and deputy chief Lee Tome at the helm.

Fire chief Al Reaume (left) receives a plaque from Mayor Aldo DiCarlo during Monday night’s town council meeting. Reaume was recognized for his two years of service to the town. He retires April 24.

Fire chief Al Reaume (left) receives a plaque from Mayor Aldo DiCarlo during Monday night’s town council meeting. Reaume was recognized for his two years of service to the town. He retires April 24.

“(Montone) has got a pretty decorated past as far as firefighting goes,” said DiCarlo.

DiCarlo added that Montone has retired from Windsor, not from firefighting and that by the time Montone is ready to leave Amherstburg, the town’s fire department will be in a better position in terms of succession planning from within.

Reaume’s last official function for the department will be the awards banquet April 22 and Montone will take over as chief officially two days later.

As for his retirement, “I’m going back to do what I was doing when I got the call (about coming to Amherstburg) – I’m going back to playing golf.”

Reaume only planned to stay for one year but with provincial orders not complete at that time, he stayed for another year to ensure those orders were dealt with.

“It’s been extremely positive,” he said of his time in Amherstburg. “The firefighters here are phenomenal. They’ll give you 100 per cent. They are doing the job for the right reasons.”

Reaume told council that “we’ve come a long way” since he took over in 2015, noting it was “a rocky start.”

The 45-year firefighting veteran also said the “timing is just right” to retire again, noting Montone can start fresh with the master fire plan. When he was approached about his thoughts about the town hiring Montone, he said the latter was “the perfect replacement for me.”

Recently retired Windsor chief to head Amherstburg Fire Department

 

The town of Amherstburg has reached back into Windsor for its next fire chief.

With Chief Al Reaume scheduled to resume his retirement in the coming weeks, the town announced via supplementary council agenda that Bruce Montone will be his replacement. The bylaw to appoint Montone as the town’s next fire chief is on the supplementary agenda for Monday night’s meeting.

Montone officially retired as the fire chief in the City of Windsor March 31. According to his biography on the city’s website, Montone “has been actively employed in the Fire Service for 38 years.”

The biography states that Montone has served as a volunteer firefighter, as a career firefighter and officer and later as Chief Fire Prevention Officer and as Fire Chief in Northern Ontario.

“Chief Montone served with the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal from 1987 to 2002 serving in the field as a Fire Services Advisor and later, Manager of the Northern Fire Protection Program and also as Operations Manager for all of Southern Ontario,” the biography states.

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Montone was appointed deputy fire chief in Ottawa. He was responsible for the communications division, special operations division, comprised of Haz-Mat/CBRNE, all rescue activities including water and ice, auto-extrication, high angle, confined space, trench and USAR Operations. The Divisions of Fire Prevention, Training, Safety, and Maintenance completed his portfolio, the biography states. His portfolios included community standards, education, planning & innovation.

“Chief Montone is a Past Chairman of Government Relations for the Canadian Association of Fire Chief’s. He is also past Chairman of the Transportation Emergency Rescue Committee (TERC) of Canada. The Chief is a PESC certified Program Evaluator,” his biography reads. “He has a long active history with emergency services in a variety of areas including, Standards of Cover, Risk Assessment, Deployment, officer development, employee wellness, performance improvement, program evaluation and team building.”

Montone is expected to be introduced at next Monday’s council meeting. Reaume is also scheduled to receive recognition from the town.

Maintain smoke and CO alarms along with changing clocks this weekend

 

Clocks go forward one hour this weekend and it is also the time to change batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Daylight savings begins during the early morning hours this Sunday, and the Amherstburg Fire Department is recommending residents install new batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms when they change their clocks.

“In order for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to do their job, they need to have

working batteries,” explains fire chief Al Reaume. “Once a year, old batteries should be replaced with new batteries. When you change your clocks this weekend, Amherstburg Fire Department wants everyone to take the time to install new batteries in all smoke alarms and CO alarms.”

The Amherstburg Fire Department also recommends that people check the age of their smoke and CO alarms. The fire department recommends replacing all smoke and CO alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner, as recommended by the manufacturer.

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In order to survive a fire, the Amherstburg Fire Department states that people need to be provided with an early warning and know what to do when the smoke alarms sound. It’s the law to have working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas.

For added protection, it is also recommended to install smoke alarms inside all bedrooms.

Carbon monoxide alarms are now required by law. As well, if a home has a fuel

burning appliance or attached garage, CO alarms are to be installed outside every

sleeping area.

Tampering with or removing the batteries from your smoke alarm is against the law, the Amherstburg Fire Department adds.

Failure to comply with the Fire Code smoke alarm requirements can result in a ticket of $360 or a fine of up to $50,000.

Town’s nuclear plan gets assist from Enbridge

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The town’s nuclear plan is being updated and a grant from Enbridge will help in case that plan has to go into effect.

Enbridge gave a $3,500 cheque to the Amherstburg Fire Department Wednesday afternoon as part of the company’s “Safe Community Program.” The program sees grants awarded to local first responders to purchase safety equipment, obtain professional training or deliver educational programs that help save lives.

“They are an excellent corporate partner,” fire chief Al Reaume said of Enbridge.

The $3,500 grant will specifically be used to purchase dosimeters, devices that measure radiation. Reaume said that an ideal reading is zero but if that number starts to rise, it means a person is absorbing radiation.

There will be one dosimeter purchased for each of the Amherstburg Fire Department’s nine vehicles.

“It’s a start,” said Reaume. “Ideally, we’d like to have one for every firefighter. That will happen over time as a budget item.”

Reaume said the existing nuclear plan features outdated contact information with some of the people listed having since retired. There are other issues with it as well.

Enbridge gave a $3,500 grant to the Amherstburg Fire Department as part of Enbridge's "Safe Community Program." The cheque was presented Aug. 17 and it will be used to purchase dosimeters to help keep firefighters safe in case of a nuclear event. The fire department is currently updating its nuclear plan. From left: assistant deputy fire chief Ron Meloche, fire chief Al Reaume, Enbridge general manager Ian MacRobbie and Enbridge senior community engagement advisor Suzanne Shea.

Enbridge gave a $3,500 grant to the Amherstburg Fire Department as part of Enbridge’s “Safe Community Program.” The cheque was presented Aug. 17 and it will be used to purchase dosimeters to help keep firefighters safe in case of a nuclear event. The fire department is currently updating its nuclear plan. From left: assistant deputy fire chief Ron Meloche, fire chief Al Reaume, Enbridge general manager Ian MacRobbie and Enbridge senior community engagement advisor Suzanne Shea.

“It was contradictory in many areas,” said Reaume, noting there are references to a 16-kilometre evacuation zone and a 23-kilometre evacuation zone.

“It’s a matter of updating it and working with the province,” he said.

While there is a cost to updating the plan, Reaume said the department believes that should be covered by others.

“We feel Amherstburg should not have to absorb any of the costs,” he said.

That funding should come from the province or the Fermi II nuclear plant in Michigan or both. Meetings have already been held with the province with another meeting to be set up with Fermi II officials.

“Fermi has been extremely co-operative,” said Reaume.

Part of the plan also involved medicine known as “KI pills” which is potassium iodide that assists in blocking radiation from being absorbed by the thyroid gland. If it was pre-distributed in case of a nuclear emergency, it would involve only about 300 homes within a 16-kilometre primary area, Reaume said.

Plans are still be formulated for how to deal with the area outside of the 16-kilometre zone.

The entire plan is being modeled after other municipalities in Ontario with similar plans, as Reaume indicated there is “no need to re-invent the wheel.”

Despite the planning, Reaume said he doesn’t want to alarm the public, noting there have been no incidents in the past.

“It’s just a precaution,” said Reaume. “Nothing has ever happened to date. This is just a precautionary measure. We are just doing our due diligence.”

The town did a tabletop emergency exercise in the spring and Reaume said a full exercise is planned for next year. He noted LaSalle and Essex would be impacted by a nuclear event as well and have been asking for an exercise for several years “so we’re going to” have one.

Ian MacRobbie, general manager with Enbridge, said “Safe Community Program” is designed for just that, to keep communities safe. He said similar grants have been made in previous years for such things as gear, boots and pagers.

“We have a great relationship with (the Amherstburg Fire Department),” said MacRobbie.

Describing working with the fire department as “a wonderful fit,” MacRobbie said that Enbridge is happy to continue that partnership. He added that the company, which operates the Amherstburg Solar Farm locally, has sponsored the Roots to Boots Festival in 2012, the Sails to See Festival in 2013 and is an ongoing sponsor of the River Lights Winter Festival.