Caledon Fire and Emergency Services: Running towards danger
The Town of Caledon Fire and Emergency Services team knows the dangers of their occupation and chooses to face them every day for the benefit of our community.
The town of Caledon Fire and Emergency Services team is composed of a group of heroes. This incredible group of men and women risk their lives every day for us, a community of people whom they don’t personally know. This incredible act of heroism is something that should be highlighted and appreciated every day. We had the privilege of speaking to two local heroes from the Caledon Fire and Emergency Services team, Platoon Chief Don Rea, and Jason Struthers, volunteer, firefighter with Caledon Fire Station 302, to learn more about their brave work and why they truly are heroes.
Don Rea has been in the fire services for 29 years and was recently appointed to be the platoon chief for the Caledon Fire and Emergency Services.
Q&A WITH PLATOON CHIEF DON REA
Q: What is your favourite thing about being a firefighter?
A: Being a member of a crew that works together to help people who may be having the worst day of their lives.
Q: What is something you admire about your team?
A: I have been fortunate in my time in the fire service that I have worked on some great crews and for some great officers. It is this mentorship and bonding, a true trial by fire, that develops amongst the members of the crew that forges strong lifelong relationships and friendships. My crew looks out for each other and genuinely cares about the well-being of their fellow crew members.
Q: Do you have a motto that pushes you through the hard days of your job?
A: If life was easy, you wouldn’t enjoy the good times. As Winston Churchill said, “If you are going through hell, keep going.”
Q: Who is someone you work with who is your hero?
A: Dispatchers. They are the calm voice on the other line who help during emergencies. They are the lifeline for first responders. They are nameless, faceless voices who always answer and always help. They are a proud yet humble group of people who have chosen to serve their communities by being that voice on the other end of the phone to provide hope and relief.
Jason is a volunteer who has a family, a daughter, a full time job and has been volunteering as a firefighter for 15 years.
Q&A WITH VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER, JASON STRUTHERS
Q: Why did you decide to become a volunteer firefighter?
A: I have always been interested in serving my local community. I have been a member of the Caledon community for the vast majority of my life and have always been interested in being a part of its volunteer community, as I believe they are the backbone of all municipalities. I thought I could best serve in a more physical-oriented way, and have always endeavoured to protect others. I chose firefighting to that end, with the encouragement of firefighter friends and mentors.
“If life was easy, you wouldn’t enjoy the good times. As Winston Churchill said, “If you are going through hell, keep going” – Platoon Chief Don Rea
Q: What is the importance of having volunteer firefighters?
A: I think volunteer firefighters are of critical importance to communities. I don’t think that most people realize that 80 per cent of all firefighters are volunteers in Canada. I personally feel that there are benefits to volunteers coming from different professional backgrounds. I work professionally with high voltage, and when responding to emergencies I have been able to apply my knowledge and experience to the high voltage emergencies, resulting in a favourable outcome. I have never been to a scene where the customer we are assisting has been able to tell the difference between a full-time firefighter, or volunteer. To the contrary, when informed that the firefighters assisting them are volunteers, most are amazed at the professionalism of our volunteers.
Q: Who is someone you work with that is your hero?
A: I think very few first responders are identified as heroes, yet society identifies us as such. The perception of firefighters is that as a group they are heroes, without looking at individual accomplishments or actions. Which brings me to the conclusion that I sit here not as a representative of my actions, but of the actions of the group known as firefighters, and of those who preceded me in the first-responder community.