BAY ROBERTS, NL — The Bay Roberts Volunteer Fire Department has a new chief.
Rick Edmunds, who has been with the department for approximately 13 years, is taking over from Adam Norman, who resigned from the position after four years to focus on his personal life.
Edmunds said he was proud to take over after being nominated during the department’s annual general meeting Monday, Jan. 29.
“It’s best kind, but it’s like anything really – I’m not sure what to expect over the next little while, this is still pretty new to me,” he said. “There was a lot of activity (at the AGM), lots of fellas volunteering for every position, which is always good, so it felt really good to be nominated for chief. It’s a good accomplishment.”
Edmunds, who has volunteered with the department for over a decade and lived in Shearstown for nearly 20 years, is no stranger to the area or the workings of the department.
He said he’s glad to serve as chief to a familiar group of firefighters, some of whom have been around for nearly two times his entire career.
“The best thing is, all the boys are still here. It’s the same gang of fellas, and I know I can rely on them,” he said.
Edmunds is also ready to take on the added responsibility of leading the department.
“Once you take on that position, it’s kind of expected for you to be there for everything,” he said. “Of course, everyone tries to do their part, but it’s nice for the leader to be there for it all, and I feel like I’m ready for that next step.”
Edmunds is not the only member of his family to serve in local fire departments. James Edmunds, Rick’s first cousin, is chief of the Bay de Grave Volunteer Fire Department, and he has a distant familial relation to Curt Roberts, chief of the Spaniard’s Bay Volunteer Fire Department. Edmunds says he looks forward to working closely with the other chiefs.
By trade, Edmunds is a millwright, which means he tends to work approximately five to six months of the year with another five or six months off, giving him plenty of time to focus on his new position.
Judging by the number of calls the department has responded to so far in 2018, this will prove to work favourably for the department.
Flipping through some papers, Edmunds told the Compass the department had responded to 14 calls in 2018 as of Tuesday, Jan. 30 – approximately one call every two days, resulting in an already busy year for the firefighters.
“When I joined here years ago, the Bay de Grave department wasn’t here then, so that meant we had to respond to calls from that area as well,” Edmunds said. “So, we’ve always been a busy brigade, no doubt about that.
“Some people don’t quite realize, you know? If we’re averaging 100 calls a year, there’s 52 weeks in a year, so that’s around two calls a week – two extra nights you’re here. On top of that, you’ve got social things and other events on the go that you’re a part of, and training outside of all that. I’m willing to bet some of the guys here put four nights a week into the hall.
“It’s a lot of work, but we’re proud of what we do.”
As chief of the department, Edmunds looks forward to the new challenges and opportunities the position will bring to him, as well as the rest of the brigade, in the future.
“I certainly didn’t mind. When the opportunity came around, I was happy to take it on. I figure right now is a good time – I’ve been here a while, I got the experience, and I got a great group of guys around me. I’m really looking forward to it.”