There have been some recent changes in the Swan Hills’ Protective Services Department. Swan Hills’ Community Peace Officer and now former Fire Chief Clint Baker has moved into a more senior role as Director of Protective Services. While Clint will still retain his role as the Community Peace Officer, his role as Director of Protective Services and Emergency Management will include all aspects of Emergency Management and Protective Services for the Town of Swan Hills. As part of his duties, Clint will oversee the management of the Swan Hills Fire Department. While he has moved out of the role of Fire Chief, Director Baker will remain on the Fire Department as a member.
Formerly Deputy Fire Chief, Jamie Molnar has now stepped up into the position of Fire Chief. Otto Fleming will step into Jamie’s previous role as Deputy Fire Chief.
Deputy Fire Chief Otto Fleming has lived in Swan Hills for 22 years, having lived in Valleyview beforehand. Otto has been a member of the Swan Hills Fire Department for a total of about six and a half years. He had been a member for a couple of years in the early 2000s but had to step away as other aspects of his life became too busy between being a business owner and a father of four. Otto has since been employed with Crescent Point Energy and has been able to work closer to home, allowing life to settle down and affording him the time to commit to the Fire Department again. Otto fully supports these personnel changes as he recognizes the Town’s need for the role of Director of Emergency Management. Otto looks forward to serving our community and being there when the need arises.
Fire Chief Jamie Molnar is originally from New Brunswick. He moved to Whitecourt in 2008 and then to Swan Hills in 2013. Jamie is a second-generation firefighter and has been fighting fires for 22 years. He currently works at the Swan Hills Treatment Centre and is a member of their Emergency Response Team. Jaimie places high importance on maintaining his level of physical fitness so that he is ready to respond during an emergency and also finds this beneficial to his well-being. As he explains, firefighting is a strenuous job both physically and mentally. He finds that following his exercise regimen helps with both types of stress.
Jaimie believes in leading by example, stating that he would not ask his team to do anything that he would not do himself. He has been a rookie before and does not see himself as being above washing the fire truck or rolling hoses when it needs to be done.
Jaimie states that Clint left the Fire Department in a good place, and it is helpful that he will remain a member. Jamie is happy for Mr. Baker in his new role and thinks that these personnel changes are good for Swan Hills. If there is ever a disaster, the Town has a plan in place to deal with it, and everyone involved knows their roles in that plan.
Jaimie describes his moving up to Fire Chief as fulfilling the kind of dream that one has as a rookie. For this dream to have come true is overwhelming at times. Jaimie takes his new position very seriously, conscious of his responsibilities to keep his team safe and to lead. He also sees the value of working as a team, finding it helpful to have different points of view to consider.
Fire Chief Molnar said that “I am here to protect and serve the community, to help keep it safe.” He encourages the residents of Swan Hills not to hesitate to call the Fire Department if they have an issue.
Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette