Meet our Members: Matthew Meredith
This week on Meet our Members, I interview myself!
CFR: Could you provide a brief background of your fire service career?
A "brief background" of my fire service career is exactly that - brief! I joined Comox Fire Rescue in 2013 with no experience in the industry and have trained hard and loved every minute of it since.
CFR: Was there any specific event that first interested you in becoming a fire fighter?
Pure blind luck led me to CFR. I had moved to the Comox Valley and was so desperate for work that I took a job delivering newspapers. I happened to deliver to the fire hall and one day there was a "Daytime Responders Required" sign out front. I filled out my application the next day and was ecstatic to be accepted as part of the team.
CFR: What is your favourite part of volunteering for Comox Fire Rescue (or working in the valley in general)?
The valley really is a beautiful place to live. I love the mountains, the ocean, and the wilderness in between - and Comox has it all! Being a part of CFR has given me a great group of friends and the extensive community involvement makes for an incredibly rewarding life.
CFR: Outside of the fire department, what are your interests/hobbies?
I enjoy biking, hiking, camping out of a backpack, fishing, and hunting. I also tinker on wood and metalworking projects, and can't think of a better way to spend an evening than making homemade pizza and spending quality time with my family.
CFR: What are some major changes you have seen in the fire service industry during your career?
A major shift towards the use of practical technology is something that I've noticed since I started four years ago. As someone who is computer-savvy, I was asked to be a part of the process of digitising our "Pre-Incident Plans" from huge binders of paper to PDF files on tablets located in each apparatus. Since then we have also converted many of our departmental forms to a digital version which allows us to use less paper, collect statistics and information, and operate more efficiently.
CFR: If you could change one thing about the fire service, what would it be?
I would work towards a greater public knowledge of what we do and how we operate at an emergency scene. In order to keep everyone safe (firefighters and civilians), the public needs to know what to do when they encounter a situation such as a brush fire, house fire, vehicle collision, hydro line down, etc... If we're all on the same page, everything runs much smoother and with less chance of injury.
Chief Schreiner states: "Matt has been an outstanding member of our department for 4 years now. He brings with him lots of innovation, dedication and commitment. He has assisted our department with electronic preplans for our rigs and has developed many other leading edge systems for us. It is people like Matt that makes this such a great department."