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New deputy fire chief to spearhead city’s emergency management

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Journal staff

A second deputy fire chief for the City of Sarnia announced this month will also take on the role of Community Emergency Management Coordinator (CEMC).

Dale Gartshore, who currently serves as acting platoon chief with Sarnia Fire Rescue Services, officially begins his role Monday, Aug. 28, alongside Ken Dwinnell who has served as deputy fire chief since 2020.

“Gartshore is well known in the local emergency response community; he has served with Sarnia Fire Rescue since 1997,” a news release stated. “Earlier this year he served as the initial incident command for the Fairwinds Lodge Fire, and he possesses an established track record of excellence in fire suppression and inter-agency response coordination.”

The City noted that Gartshore’s “unique experience and training” will be crucial as community emergency management transitions to Sarnia Fire Rescue with Gartshore taking on the role of CEMC as part of his duties.

Ron Realesmith — formerly Sarnia’s emergency manager — was declared redundant July 11, he told The Journal last month, but couldn’t discuss his termination. “It’s in litigation,” he said.

Realesmith took on the role in 2020 following the retirement of longtime emergency coordinator Cal Gardner.

His responsibilities were temporarily given to Fire Chief Bryan Van Gaver until a new deputy fire chief could be hired.

The recommendation to add a second deputy fire chief position was part of a 2020 Fire Master Plan.

As the CEMC, Gartshore will be responsible for reviewing and improving municipal emergency planning, enhancing inter-agency coordination, and creating clearly defined procedures to ensure effective delivery of emergency services and supports, the City noted.

“I’m excited to be taking on the role, serving this community has always been a driving factor in my career, and I am looking forward to taking on this next step and continuing that service, ensuring our community is prepared for any challenges in the future,” Gartshore stated in a news release.

A graduate from Western University’s Public Administration program, Gartshore will pursue a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the institution in the fall. His qualifications also include Emergency Management; Incident Management System; and NFPA 1021 Fire Officer III and IV; alongside certificates in Incident Command, Fire Service Administration and Fire Service Leadership.

“I’m excited to welcome Dale to this role, he’s been a central figure at Sarnia Fire Rescue who has consistently stepped up to serve the community,” said Fire Chief Bryan Van Gaver, adding, “his skills, leadership and experience will enhance day-to-day operations and provide critical strategic leadership as the Community Emergency Management Coordinator, helping to clearly define roles and responsibilities across City agencies and partnerships, fostering enhanced cooperation and coordination.”

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