Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Last Post :-(

I've tried a dozen ways to begin this post, and the right words elude me so I'll just say it: this is my last post.

Change is as certain and unyielding as the seasons, and like the seasons, change is about beginnings and endings. The beginning this time is that I accepted a full time position as Northern Instructor for the Ontario Fire College.

This is good news for me. It means security, benefits, and the ability to buy a house (all things that normal people nail down much earlier in life), and I'm thankful for the opportunity. It will also reconnect me with the volunteer service where I spent the vast majority of my career. Last but not least, I will work full time in firefighter training, about which I continue to be passionate.

The bad news (and the ending) is that I can no longer write the Spontaneous Combustion column for Firefighting in Canada . . . or my blog. Wild and wacky opinions are appropriate for a maverick fire chief tucked safely away on the peripheral edge of the universe where he can do little harm, but they won't work for a neat and tidy Ontario public servant, which I will become in a few weeks. On second thought, neat and tidy is an exaggeration . . . but I will be an Ontario public servant nonetheless. 

Only a crazy  person would be sad about giving up a nutty hobby in favour of a secure job, so the good news outweighs the bad. However . . . I am a little crazy . . . and a little sad. There are still giants to be slain, windmills against which to tilt my lance, and opinions to promulgate. If I were Cervantes or Shakespeare, I could perhaps keep my post at the keyboard and make a secure living as a crusader, but (in the words of Cervantes or Shakespeare) the better part of valour is discretion, and discretion dictates that I take a hiatus to look after my family.

On the bright side, I will gain a new perspective. Although I've worked with a gamut of fire departments, I've only seen the issues from the viewpoint of a small-time fire chief. My new role will show me a different side of the same issues.

Another bittersweet ending is my contract with Confederation College's Pre Service Fire Program. Six students were hired by Thunder Bay Fire Rescue, and I believe the program has a bright future. I invested myself heavily into the maiden voyage of the program, and will leave a piece of me behind.

I can't write a final post without mentioning the Meaford trial, the outcome of which now hangs on the decision of a judge. I've voiced more than my share of opinion on this issue, so I'll let it rest with a link to an article by Laura King that echos some of my feelings on the matter.

It's been a great ride, and I've enjoyed the connections I've made along the way. I plan to leave the archived posts on line for the time being, and will continue to respond to any comments my readers leave.

I may yet find an outlet for my writing that is befitting a (not so neat and tidy) Ontario public servant. Perhaps I could change my angle and start a pseudo recipe blog.

Don't panic. I'm kidding.


  1. 7 or 8 yrs ago I met this here quirky Fire Chief from Upsala ON and I have learned a great deal, as a Career guy, about Volunteer Firefighting in the north. The OFC tried to replace the Pioneer (W.M) with a couple of very qualified instructors but the north missed having someone 'positioned' in the North. Having someone positioned with their finger on the pulse will be beneficial.
    Your written word will be missed but your knowledge, experience and humour will be a great benefit to the Firefighters in the north.
    Congratulations my friend. AB

    1. Thanks for your kind words, it's an honor to call a career guy from TO my friend. The Pioneer has been gone for a while but has left some big shoes to fill. Will have to campaign to get you back here at least once a year . . .

    2. To my friends in the south, I will be in Gravenhurst from June 18 - 22.

  2. Sad to see you go. Good luck on the new path.

  3. Happy you have job security and sad you won't be sharing your entertaining perspective any longer. Don't forget the struggles of a small town Fire Chief!

  4. Congratulations Tim. While I can appreciate the downside, you will be a great resource for northern fire departments.

    Ken, Fire Chief, Kam FD

  5. Congratulations on the job but it will be sad to see you leave the blogosphere. Have you thought of starting a new blog under a nom de plume? Just an idea, that way you could still write without causing issues at work.

    Either way, good luck.

  6. A nom de plume is a neat idea, and it has crossed my mind, but not sure about the pitfalls. I do hope to find an outlet some way, somehow though.

    Ken, as the training guy for the Zone, we'll have to get together and talk shop sometime . . .

  7. Hey Tim:
    You're a good writer with genuine insight and wit. More importantly you know your stuff. Perhaps a day will come when you can again engage the industry and the public through FFIC and social media to promote awareness, training, education and generally act like a digital fire service evangelist.
    My smart wife and I have discussed at length. You're a natural. I hope you will be back soon.
    Until then, congratulations on the new job and good luck with everything.


  8. Don't worry, something will come up. You can't keep a good writer down for long.

    Take a break, get into your job, settle into that house, spend time with family, put your feet up, drink tea or coffee and eat some of those good invented recipes you post on here. After the dust settles you might find yourself with time to blog again. Maybe this is the last post on THIS blog but it's impossible to say whether it will be the last post.

    And besides, does this mean you're finally going to collect your Spontaneous Combustion columns into a book?? I'd buy it! Do I get an autographed copy if I post a favourable review on Amazon? Have you checked out yet? (affordable self-publishing)

    1. What are sisters for, if not to plan their little brothers' lives :-). And yes you could have an autographed copy.

  9. Thanks for the comment Gerry. It means a lot coming from a writer that has been a role model for me for the past couple years . . . even though hockey only interests me through the eyes of others like you and my son :-).

    Barb, the book is a recurring and interesting idea. Not sure it would survive the conflict of interest committee, but it would be fun to make an attempt. Feet up with a cup of tea sounds really good . . .


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