Chief Mike Daloise took the helm at Midway’s Volunteer Fire Department Monday, Nov. 16. He is the village’s first ever paid fire chief.
Having spent nearly 30 years with Nelson’s professional fire department, Daloise comes both highly qualified and highly regarded. Yet he anticipates that one of his bigger short-term challenges will be to demonstrate the need for his salary.
His friend and long time colleague, retired Chief Walt Osellame, casts a long shadow in a community where volunteer leadership has been the norm for decades. But times have changed.
The Government of British Columbia has set new and higher training and WorkSafe standards for provincial fire departments, no matter how small, and it’s Daloises’s job to ensure the strictest compliance. The new chief said his primary task would be to continue the huge strides by Chief Osellame. Meanwhile, Daloise noted that B.C. fire chiefs have taken on more complicated roles in the past five years.
“There’s a lot of things that a fire department has to stay on top of and it’s very challenging to do if you’re not here 40 hours a week,” he said. Legislation streamlining firefighters’ qualifications, including and especially the Fire Services Act, demands constant reporting as well as supervision and evaluation by Fire chiefs.
On top of his administrative duties, Daloise said he will be leading public outreach efforts on behalf of the department as soon of COVID-19 restrictions allow.
“Part of my role is to help educate the public and make sure they have the tools to fire smart their own properties and keep the community safe.” He and volunteer firefighters will come to villagers’ homes to guide residents through fire hazard assessments, Daloise said.
Daloise said he and his wife are looking forward to settling in to their new home on the Kettle River. They will probably retire in Midway, he said, recalling a car-ride conversation after he accepted the position.
“We were driving back to Nelson one day and she just asked me, did I have any regrets? And I said, no!”
“Everything just felt right,” he said.