September 16th, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 36
Pass’ new Fire Chief Steve Debienne
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Ezra Black Photo
Steve Debienne, our new manager of Protective Services/ Fire Chief, has decades of experience and is no stranger to the dangers of fire.
Pass Herald Reporter
Steve Debienne, our new manager of Protective Services/Fire Chief, is no stranger to fire.

“In 1991 my family lost a home and business to fire. I was young and but that night I saw what the community did and how they supported my family and me and how the firemen supported us,” said Debienne last Friday at the Blairmore fire hall. “That night is still very clear in my brain.”

The incident cost the family its home and their service station/confectionary but it also sparked an interest in firefighting. His father and brother are both in the fire/rescue services and at the tender age of 14 his father asked a young Debienne if he wanted to come out on a service call on a May long weekend. He answered in the affirmative and he’s been a fireman ever since.

Occupational health and safety was not as strict as it is today and he was actually made an official member of the Carrot River Fire/Rescue Department.

Debienne has over 20 years experience and relocated to the community from Taber where he served as deputy chief under the Pass’ former Fire Chief Steve Munshaw.

The native of Carrot River, Sask., has decades of experience, he’s studying for his master’s degree in business administration, he has worked for about half-a-dozen fire rescue services and he has first hand knowledge of the dangers of fire.
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At the age of 15 he attended his first structure fire. The night before his 16th birthday, he responded to his first fatal accident.

He worked for a number of municipalities in Saskatchewan including Weyburn and La Ronge before he was lured to the oilsands by the promise of high wages but said he didn’t much enjoy the work and always dreamed of getting another job in the fire/rescue service.

Now onto his third week of work in the Pass, Debienne has been meeting with deputy chief Curtis Stevens, the volunteer firefighters and the officer committee to plan a series of initiatives.

Prevention and education are the first lines of defense against fire so increasing public awareness and forging closer ties with the community are important to him. He also identified training in a number of disciplines as a priority because the fire/rescue service does a lot more than just fight fires.

“If you look back in history, the fire service worked for local insurance companies and that’s how it started. They basically looked to protect assets for those companies, so all they did was fight fire,” he said. “Over the years that’s transitioned into other things whether that be getting a cat out of a tree, auto accidents, hazardous materials incidents, back country rescue, carbon monoxide calls, the scope has changed.”
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To deal with these changes, he’s pursuing a master’s degree in business administration from Algonquin College.

“The more education a guy can get, the more prepared he is,” he said.

He said the service is always looking for dedicated volunteers. He’s also reminding citizens that the first week of October is Fire Prevention Week. This year’s theme is “Hear the BEEP Where You SLEEP,” which means there should be a working smoke detector within earshot of where you’re sleeping.

He has an open door policy and is inviting citizens to come down to the Blairmore fire hall.

“I’m an open person,” he said. “If people want to pop in to chat, I’ll definitely invite them in.”
September 16th ~ Vol. 85 No. 36
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