Port Moody fire chief Ron Coulson rode off into the sunset of retirement in style Thursday (June 17) at the city’s Inlet Station,
Actually, it was more like the late-afternoon sun when Coulson climbed aboard one of the department’s fire engines and was taken on one last drive around the traffic circle at neighbouring city hall at the conclusion of a traditional “walk out” ceremony that marked the transition to incoming chief Darcey O’Riordan.
Coulson helmed Port Moody Fire Rescue (PMFR) for four years, but he was a longtime firefighter in Vancouver before he stepped into a management role.
He told a special gathering of firefighters in their formal dress uniforms as well as guests that he was only able to make from the front lines because of his understanding family; his wife Carol is the daughter of a Vancouver firefighter and his son has now become a firefighter.
The walk out ceremony is a longstanding way firefighters mark the passing of the torch of command, except in this case it’s a golden axe.
Among Coulson’s achievements during his tenure were:
- the first fire department in B.C. to transition its communication systems from analog radios to digital
- launched a replacement program for the department’s heavy apparatus
- developed and implemented a response program for hazardous materials
- increased the department’s ability and knowledge to fight fires in high-rise buildings
Coulson told the gathering getting things done with a small force wasn’t always easy, but he prided himself in running a lean operation that often punched above its weight.
Prior to joining PMFR, O’Riordan spent his entire 26-year career in Burnaby and he was promoted to deputy chief in 2016.