Now answering the call of duty in a full-time capacity, Drayton Bussiere has been appointed by the Lacombe Fire Department (LFD) as the new deputy fire chief.
Although he is not a necessarily a new face, nor is the title new, Bussiere will be fulfilling his role in a capacity that will allow for more hands-on training and development opportunities.
Bussiere said his role as deputy chief was previously filled by himself in a volunteer capacity. “The biggest thing that will change is just the amount of time that I can put into the position,” he said. “It’s really going to be good because the bulk of my work is around training and that’s a pretty deep job and it’s difficult to do it to capacity that I would like to as a volunteer. I’m am really excited about that because I can actually put in the time that that type of work deserves.”
Bussiere started in this new capacity on Aug. 1st, which marks almost 11 years of service to the LFD. He began his career as a high school work experience student in 2004.
“It’s always just something I’ve been interested in,” he said of the reason why he initially joined the department. “I’ve always kind of thought about it. Actually, I had a friend that joined a few months before I did. We talked about it a lot and then there was an opening for a work experience student so I thought I would try it. I’ve never looked back.”
Bussiere has held many different roles throughout the decade, working his way up from a work experience student to firefighter.
“From there I moved on to a lieutenant role on crew four, which is kind of an intermediate management role,” he said. He worked under two different captains and eventually a vacancy opened up, which prompted Bussiere’s promotion to the captain position, followed by deputy chief.
Throughout his progression through the basic fire ground roles, Bussiere has also filled other LFD roles including recruitment officer.
“I was one of two recruitment officers for quite a few years through the majority of my time as lieutenant and some as a captain,” he said.
As a recruitment officer, Bussiere and his fellow officer, developed the present day recruitment program for the LFD.
“Before we designed the program, it was just a check sheet and you kind of joined when you could and went through the sheet before you started going on calls,” he said.
They took that recruitment checklist and built a basic firefighting training program around it, which is now a six-week program for new recruits that includes one evening a week for training and some weekend time slots.
“When you are done that program, you get a radio and can start going on calls,” he said.
Bussiere has been highly-involved in the training aspect of things from the beginning of his career, which includes not only training new firefighters but also physically recruiting new members.
“I’ve been helping out delivering Monday night practice training for a quite a few years as well,” he added.
Through his journey, Bussiere has also achieved quite a bit of formal firefighter training including certification as a professional firefighter (NFPA 1001), truck engineer, fire instructor and a certificate in fire service leadership.
Bussiere and LFD Chief Ed van Delden are the sole full-time employees of the LFD, which currently includes 35 members. The LFD can accommodate a maximum of 44 firefighters, so the department is accepting new applications, depending on availability.
“I always say we are always looking for more volunteers,” said Bussiere.
A new recruitment class will not be held until next spring, allowing the LFD to train the newest recruits. However, there are two openings in the high school work experience program, the same program Bussiere started out in.
“There is some opportunity there,” he said. “To become an actual in service member you do need to be 18.”
In his new capacity, Bussiere has a few targets he would like to meet.
“The biggest goal I would say for a training chief is to give the community the best firefighters we can give,” he said. “That’s one of the things that’s exciting to me about this role is that there are lots of different ways to do that.”
One of the goals is to get more of the LFD members into the 1001 level training and preparing the officers for the future.
“I’m excited about what improvements might be possible with Drayton, given the leadership and commitment he has shown in the past,” said van Delden. “Please join me in congratulating Drayton in this new capacity.”