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Ottawa's new fire chief ready for challenges - Metro US

Ottawa’s new fire chief ready for challenges

It’s his first day on the job and Ottawa’s new fire chief is already looking forward to retirement.

Creating a leadership team that could take his place after he leaves will be one of the top priorities for 53-year-old John deHooge during his tenure in charge of Ottawa Fire Services, he said yesterday.

“Leading a team that is well equipped to take over whenever I retire is first and foremost one of the most important tasks at hand,” he said.

The new chief joins Ottawa Fire Services from Waterloo. He is not bilingual, but is learning French. It’s just one of the many challenges he’s looking forward to over the next few years.

“I think with any fire service, you’re competing for municipal dollars with police and EMS. In a time of economic recession, it makes it that much harder to get the dollars to provide the level of service that we think is appropriate,” he said. “Those challenges have always been there and they will continue to be there.”

After meeting with senior staff, deHooge said one of his first jobs will be to work on the department’s strategic plan to map out the next few years of the fire service and have those needs be approved by city council.

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