As of December 31, 2021, Chief Dave Campbell has announced his retirement after 41 years with the Balgonie Volunteer Fire Department and First Responders. In 1980, Dave was 29 years old when he started with the Volunteer Fire Department. There was a 1957 International truck, a 1937 Chevy and 10-12 members.
“We were trying to do a job with not great resources, and trying to do it right, and getting trained and protecting ourselves.”
In 1990, Firefighter Dave became Chief Campbell. At that time, callouts where approx. 12-15 per year. Today, the Balgonie Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD) responds to approximately 80-100 calls a year ranging from fires, car accidents and medical emergencies. In his time as Chief, Campbell has seen many changes. He was responsible for bringing in the Medical First Responder (MFR) program to Balgonie in 1993, allowing Firefighters to become certified to respond to medical emergencies. At that time, EMS response times to our community were approximately 15-30 minutes depending on the time of day and the time of year. Now the Volunteer crew could assist the Town and R.M. residents with fire calls, car accidents, heart attacks, diabetic emergencies, falls, almost anything. The BVFD First Responders were also one of the first MFR crews in southern Saskatchewan to have an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) machine which was bought from Calgary after the Olympic Games. Dave believes that the Fire Department is one big family and, as such, has remained a blended Department of Firefighters and Medical First Responders with approximately three quarters of the Volunteers being dually trained.
BVFD, under Chief Campbell’s tenure, has had a large percentage of female members with there currently being six female Firefighters/First Responders, or about 25%. Dave has always said “I don’t care if you’re male or female, in turnout gear everyone looks the same. If you think you want to do this, come try it out.” Dave has always been known as a progressive Chief.
Over the years, BVFD has always been a family under Chief Campbell’s leadership. This is not a fire hall but a fire house. “A house holds a family. We are all members of the Firefighting family and as such we are there for each other. This isn’t like volunteering to help out at hockey or soccer, this can come down to life and death. We have each others’ backs.”
Over the years under Chief Campbell’s watch, the Fire Department has moved into a bigger fire hall, grown from two fire trucks to three, brought in the First Responder program, grew to 30 volunteers, and is a very well rounded Fire Department ready for whatever the next call might be.
Chief Campbell will definitely be missed by his Firefighting family, not only here in Balgonie but by the Fire Services throughout the Province. Thank you for your many years of dedicated service to the Department, Dave!
Good luck in your future endeavours. Enjoy your retirement!