By Stan Ashbee
Sunny South News
Jean-Guy Mayer has been Coaldale and District Emergency Services’ new fire chief since Nov. 2. “It’s a nice department and it’s very professional. The firefighters are amazing,” said Mayer, adding the level of loyalty to the fire department is very huge. “In terms of management of the fire hall, Andy’s laid the groundwork for a fantastic budget and great policies and procedures. There’s very little I need to do or very little I need to change,” he noted. Andy Van Rijn recently retired as fire chief.
Everybody at the fire hall and in the community have been great, so nice, super friendly and very supportive. Mayer retired from the military after 20 years of service. “I was the fire chief up at CFB Edmonton and I was doing that for almost two and a half years,” he said.
Prior to that, Mayer said, he began his career in the Canadian military in 1995 and was with the 3rd Battalion of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.
“I served with the parachute company for six and a half out of the seven years I was doing that. I served three tours of duty overseas — twice in Bosnia and once in Afghanistan,” Mayer said.
In 2004, Mayer said he switched over to the National Defence Fire Service and basically worked from the floor and up.
“Three years ago, I was nominated for the Commissioning from the Ranks program, where I changed from firefighter to fire chief,” he added.
Mayer noted the Town of Coaldale has everything he and his wife were looking for in a small town. “The people are friendly and has local businesses — privately-owned businesses. We like to support private markets. The weather is fantastic compared to up north,” Mayer said.
According to the new fire chief, the first step is to sit down with the officers and the firefighters and figure out what they want to do.
“Basically, my job is to make sure their needs and their wants are taken care of. That they’re properly trained and we have the right equipment and we have the money to back that up,” he explained.
Mayer also said the town office has been absolutely fantastic and huge supporters of the emergency services department and the same can be said about the community.
“The community supports the fire department so much. Really, there’s very little I feel I need to add to it. Now, it’s just maintaining and possibly streamlining. That’s really about it,” said Mayer.