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Dec. 16, 2018 | Sunday
Local News
Grimwood elected to executive board for provincial fire chiefs
NOTL Fire Chief Rob Grimwood. (Austin Broad/NIagara Now)

Niagara-on-the-Lake fire chief Rob Grimwood is set to become the first firefighter from NOTL to sit on the executive board of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs.

Grimwood was elected last week to join the 2019 executive committee of the OAFC as a vice president.

“This will be the first time somebody from NOTL has sat on the board, let alone the executive and I am the only executive member from the Niagara region,” said Grimwood. “It provides me the opportunity to have a lot of government influence, where I can represent the region and the town.”

As the first member from NOTL to serve in this capacity, Grimwood said he is honoured to serve the town in such a high profile role.

“It’s an absolute honour, the opportunity to serve all Chief Fire Officers from across the province is a privilege,” said Grimwood. “It is especially an honour to represent the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara-on-the-Lake Fire & Emergency Services as the first member of this department to serve in this capacity.”

Chief Grimwood has been with the NOTL fire department since 1996, and has worked his way through the ranks before ultimately becoming the town’s fire chief last February.

“I started in NOTL in 1996 as a volunteer firefighter, I’ve been with the department since then progressing through from firefighter, to lieutenant, to captain, to assistant district chief and I got promoted to fire chief in 2017.”

From 2007-2017, while remaining a volunteer with the NOTL fire department, Grimwood served as the chief of Haldimand county and joined the OAFC as a zone representative for southern Ontario.

“I joined the association as a fire chief in 2007, and in late 2008 I took over as the position known as a zone representative,” said Grimwood. “I represented the Niagara Region, Hamilton, Haldimand, Norfolk, Brant County and Brantford.”

The steps of joining the OAFC board saw Grimwood go through two campaign processes. He had to be elected to the board, then elected to the executive board.

“The election to the board was an online vote from chief fire officers from across the province, you had to be nominated by somebody else, accept the nomination and then you campaigned.”

After being elected to the board, Grimwood was nominated for the role of vice president on the executive board.

“Those nominations were done on the floor by the membership that were in attendance,” said Grimwood. “I was nominated for vice president, decided to stand, gave a short campaign speech and was lucky to be one of the vice presidents.”

Grimwood, one of four vice presidents, felt that now was a crucial time for the fire service and joining the executive board was a way for him to make a significant impact on the future of fire services.

“I thought this was a really key time to be involved in the executive level of the association and become more politically active and really advocate for the needs of the firefighters and fire chiefs.”

The town is happy a local will be on executive board, and thinks Grimwood will do a great job representing the region and the town of NOTL.

“His extensive fire experience makes him a great addition to the board,” Holly Dowd, Chief Administrative Officer said in a town press release. “It is wonderful that there will be a representative from the Niagara Region on the OAFC Board.”

With his new role on the OAFC Grimwood will be transitioning away from some of the local committees that he is on to ensure that his workload won’t increase with his new role.

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