Chris Geiger is the new chief of Ladysmith Fire Rescue, (LFR). Geiger is taking over the role from longtime fire chief, Ray Delcourt.
“[Delcourt] is a wealth of knowledge. His experience is right up there. If you talk to anyone he’s worked with, they’ll tell you his experience and his knowledge on the fire ground is second to none,” Geiger said. “He’s an excellent fire ground commander. He keeps track of things in his head that I can’t begin to follow even using some of the other tools we use. It was great to learn from him.”
Geiger has been with LFR since February 2007. In all his time with LFR, he didn’t think about taking on the role of chief until six months ago. Geiger said he’s looking to help move LFR forward by training members on core competencies and efficiencies.
LFR chiefs serve for a two-year term. Chiefs and officers are elected by the LFR membership. The elections were held just days before the COVID-19 pandemic began causing shutdowns in the community. Ladysmith Town Council ratified the results of the election at the March 31 council meeting.
Despite complications caused by COVID-19 closures, LFR has continued to communicate and organize by using the video-chat platform, Zoom.
“Everybody has been fantastic in showing me the ropes and showing me how the systems work in the Town of Ladysmith,” Geiger said. “It’s been a steep learning curve, but I’ve had lots of support from a great team.”
Geiger looks forward to serving as chief of LFR for as long as the organization will have him as chief.
“I’m not looking at a set time frame, I’m looking at goals to accomplish. At this point it’s contingent on the organization, what the needs of the organization are, and if I can continue to fill those,” he said.
LSFR continues to respond to calls they receive from provincial dispatch. In general, LFR members will be wearing personal protective equipment in the form of masks, gloves, glasses, and face shields when they respond to calls. COVID-19 has caused a slowdown in service calls for LFR because many residents are staying indoors.
“We are responding if requested, and we are ready to help,” Geiger said.