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  • Writer's pictureLorna Hamilton

County Of Vermilion Welcomes New Director Of Protective Services

Kirk Hughes, new Director of Protective Service and Emergency Management for the County of Vermilion River. Photo submitted.

On February 1 the County of Vermilion welcomed a new Director of Protective Service and Emergency Management to replace outgoing Director Orest Popil.

Kirk Hughes, originally from Southern Ontario, who considers the small remote fly-in community of Deline, NWT his hometown, last resided in Taber which was his last posting as a member of the RCMP.

Hughes has vast experience in the field of protective services.

“I have a unique background that encompasses all three emergency service profiles related to my position. I have been a firefighter for over 24 years, the last dozen or so as Fire Chief in several departments across Canada, including large urban and small rural stations,” explained Hughes.

Hughes has also worked in law enforcement, serving as an RCMP member in Manitoba, Ontario, the NWT, and lastly in Alberta.

“I left the RCMP to become the Director of Community Safety for the Municipal District of Taber, where I spearheaded the creation of the Community Peace Officer Program, where I also served as a Peace Officer Sergeant,” stated Hughes.

Hughes has also worked as an Operational Officer for the Ontario provincial agency responsible for disaster response; Emergency Management Ontario. “As a member of the RCMP, I was subject matter in this area and was posted to Ontario during the G8/20 Summits as well as on rotation in the NWT as the Emergency Co-ordinator for Search and Rescue,” explained Hughes.

Hughes is also a veteran member of the Canadian Forces and a member of the Order of St. John (Ambulance).

As the new Director of Protective Services Hughes has a long list of duties and responsibilities including managing eight fire departments within the County of Vermilion while attending serious incidents, determining fire cause origin and supporting rescue operations in the area.

”In the area of enforcement, I am responsible for the Community Peace Officer and Bylaw services within the County, as well as working with the RCMP and CN Rail Police, and other Alberta Peace Officers, to reduce crime in our rural areas and safeguard our residents as they travel, work, live and play within Vermilion River,” said Hughes.

Hughes also says that he is responsible to prepare the County to respond and recover from all forms of disasters.

“I can’t do this alone, and I am fortunate to work with a dedicated team of professionals to keep CVR safe,” said Hughes.

Hughes says that while there are some changes he would like to see, he prefers to ease into any changes, but that he would like to promote the fire stations and recruit new firefighters.

“One of my main objectives moving forward will be to attract additional firefighters, with a focus on younger people and females into the firefighting profession. I believe that the modern Fire Service needs new blood to help maintain our fire level of service throughout our communities,” said Hughes, who also went on to say that if you’ve ever thought about volunteering, now is the time.

“Come join us. Check us out on Facebook at Protective Services-County of Vermilion River,” stated Hughes.

When asked what prompted him to apply for this position Hughes stated that southern Alberta has three things that were motivational factors for him.

“Wind, bald prairies, and rattlesnakes,” said Hughes.

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