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District Fire Chief awarded on occasion of his latest certification

Fire Chief Durocher accepts award with family members and mayor by his side.

One of the passions in Jason Durocher is firefighting and that has led to him achieving a level of certification that not a lot achieve.


Durocher, a district chief with the Amherstburg Fire Department, recently received his Fire Officer IV Certification and that was recognized at the April 22 town council meeting. Training and upgrading skills has been something Durocher has been doing since joining the Amherstburg Fire Department.


“I’ve been 30 years with the Amherstburg Fire Department,” said Durocher. “My journey has taken this long to get to this level. It has taken a lot of time.”


Durocher joined as a volunteer firefighter and has taken a number of courses along the way, from Firefighter 1 certification training all the way up to his Fire Officer Level IV certification. 


“Firefighting has always been a part of me,” he said.


While noting he hasn’t taken training courses every year, Durocher said he has worked hard at it. He noted there are prerequisites to get from one level to the next, such as needing Fire Officer III certification before going up to Fire Officer IV, the latter being the highest a firefighter can go.


Durocher’s most recent certification involves training on such topics including the managing of a fire service, emergency management and community safety plans. There were online components to achieving that certification as well as 40 hours of in-class lessons in Richmond Hill, Ontario. 


“From there, we had group presentations at the end we had to present to the class,” he said.


The in-class portion of the Fire Officer Level IV training was last fall and following that was an assignment where he had to prepare a document that was over 100 pages touching on such items as community safety and emergency preparedness.


“I started this past class just about one year ago,” he said of the Level IV certification. “It was a personal goal I set out to get the highest level of training I possibly could.”


The recognition at town council was something he said was initiated by Fire Chief Bruce Montone. A number of his colleagues from the Amherstburg Fire Department were also on hand at the meeting to show their support.


“I was very humbled by that,” said Durocher. “It was unexpected to see my colleagues there.”


Durocher said it is his firm belief that people never stop learning and if more training opportunities were to come his way in the future, he would be open to them. He thanked the fire department, the chief and town council for its support, but he was especially grateful for the support of his wife Jennifer and daughter Maddie. Obtaining his goals took a lot of time to accomplish but his family was always fully supportive.


Montone appeared before town council, calling Durocher’s certification “a significant recognition” they wanted to acknowledge.


“We want to acknowledge and recognize that the achievements are both significant for the individual but also significant in terms of our commitment as a corporation and as a fire service to support our staff,” said Montone.


Montone said Durocher’s 30 years of service to the Amherstburg Fire Department was also worthy of applause.  The chief said Durocher began his service with the department Jan. 13, 1994, became a full-time firefighter July 8, 2013 and was promoted to a full-time captain Sept. 18, 2016. He was promoted to district chief in 2020.


“Jason’s most recent accomplishment is that he now joins actually very, very few chief officers in the entire Province of Ontario as a certified NFPA Fire Officer Level IV,” said Montone. “That is the highest level that can be achieved at this present time.”


Level IV certification is an “executive supervisor” that provides for both supervisory and front-line managerial functions.


“Jason has met all the job performance and certification requirements of Fire Officer IV as defined in the NFPA (National Firefighter Protection Association) Standard 1021, which is the Fire Officer Professional Qualifications,” said Montone.


Montone said what is significant is that Durocher completed all of the job performance requirements on his own initiative. That includes establishing procedures for recruitment, order assigning, recommending for promotion, encouraging professional development for his team.


“He also had to demonstrate his ability to develop programs that improve and expand our service and to build partnerships, especially amongst the public,” said Montone. “Jason demonstrated his ability to prepare a divisional budget, develop a budget management system, solicit bids, plan for resource allocation and work with our resource management system in order to do that.”


The fire chief added Durocher evaluated inspection programs and developed public safety activities. Durocher had to demonstrate his ability to manage multi-agency planning deployment and operations, he added.


“Jason does that on a regular basis,” said Montone.


Durocher has developed “extremely knowledgeable and expertise” in incident command and has also demonstrated development, management and evaluation skills for firefighter safety plans.

District Fire Chief awarded on occasion of his latest certification

By Ron Giofu

 

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