Amherst Fire Chief Greg Jones has become one of only 74 fire chiefs in Canada to obtain the Executive Chief Fire Officer Designation.
The designation was bestowed on Jones by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs during a banquet in Ottawa on Sept. 19 that closed the annual Fire Rescue Canada conference. It acknowledges that he has the professional conduct, training, education and skills in a number of competencies that a leader in today’s fire service must have.
Those competencies are in the areas of leadership, human resources, governance, business acumen, finance, fire technical and fire prevention.
“Having this designation proves that I meet the national standards as a chief officer,” Jones said after arriving home from the conference on Sept. 21.
“As a chief officer, we do numerous things in the run of the day. This designation proves to me that I am meeting all the competencies for the job and ensures that I will in to the future.”
It’s ensured in to the future because Jones is required to prove he meets the standards on a yearly basis in order to keep the designation.
Jones joined the Amherst Fire Department on Jan. 1, 2000, as a front-line firefighter, a position he held until 2009 when he was promoted to lieutenant as the leader of the department’s safety and support team. He became chief on April 14, 2014.
Eight years earlier, he took his first step towards achieving the designation.
“The chief at the time suggested I take a course related to the fire service,” Jones recalled. “I jumped on it and took my first course from Dalhousie University. Since then, I’ve taken numerous courses over the years.”
Some of them were from Dalhousie, others were from Texas A&M. All of them dealt with some aspect of the fire service, ranging from fire suppression to leadership to finance.
To qualify for the Executive Chief Fire Officer Designation, Jones had to be in at least his fifth year of being a fire chief, a qualification he met in April. He also had to prove that he possessed the training and expertise needed to obtain the designation.
This was demonstrated by the courses he has taken, workshops and conferences he attended, through teaching about the fire service and on-the-job experiences, all of which were included in an application he submitted this past summer.
In addition to all of that, the application required him to write several essays on different fire management-related topics.
“There were many late nights spent completing this very detailed application,” Jones said.
The entire application was assessed by the ECFO council, which contains some of the leading experts of fire service management in the country.
Jones was one of just six chief officers from across the country to receive the designation this year at the banquet.