Rideau Lakes announces new fire chief

New Fire Chief Gene Richardson will assume the position on February 12, 2024. – Submitted photo

The Township of Rideau Lakes has announced a new fire chief.

In a Jan. 22 media release, the township announced that Gene Richardson will assume the position on February 12, 2024.

Richardson, a 30-year veteran of the profession, comes to Rideau Lakes from the Township of Lanark Highlands, where he served for four years. He also Richardson volunteered with Drummond North Elmsley Tay Valley Fire Department for 25 years at the B.B.D.&E. fire station in Perth.

Over the years, Richardson has held positions of firefighter, apparatus operator, captain and fire chief.

As fire chief in Lanark Highlands, Richardson managed a geographic area of 1048 square kilometres, which included four fire stations and 66 volunteer firefighters.

“Richardson’s knowledge of fire suppression techniques and apparatus, fire sciences, fire safety principles, theories, techniques, methods, and practices has been acquired firsthand while attending fire calls and through his education at the Ontario Fire College,” the release reads. “Matched with a series of qualifications from National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), this knowledge prepared Richardson to deliver training programs to groups across Ontario.”

Richardson also served as a municipal councillor in Tay Valley Township from 2018-2022, which gave him experience in budget and bylaw procedures, and an in-depth understanding of municipal government policy.

“On behalf of the Township, we are pleased to welcome Gene Richardson as our new fire chief,” said Mayor Arie Hoogenboom, adding that “we can continue to offer uninterrupted fire services to the residents of Rideau Lakes.”

Continuous fire service was made possible by the work of Interim Fire Chief Mark McFalls, who was appointed on January 2, 2024.

“With over 15 years of experience, McFalls has worked with Rideau Lakes since 2019 in the positions of Deputy Fire Chief, Fire Consultant and Training Consultant,” says the media release.

“The Township of Rideau Lakes would like to sincerely thank Mark McFalls for his efforts to ensure the continuation of fire services as interim fire chief this year.”

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