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New fire chief planning to raise department’s profile

Allen Zoeteman

Allen Zoeteman, a 17-year member of Fort Macleod Fire Department, is the new fire chief.

New Fort Macleod fire chief Allen Zoeteman has plans to make the community more aware of their fire department.
Zoeteman, who pulled on retiring fire chief Dick Schellhorn’s boots Jan. 1, is working on some ideas to give the fire department a greater profile in the community.
Zoeteman wants to educate people as to the many things the fire department does besides fighting fires.
“There’s a lot more to the fire department than putting water on a fire,” Zoeteman said.
Zoeteman mentioned a comment by a man at a recent accident.
“I didn’t know you guys did that kind of thing,” the man had said, referring to the way the fire department handled patient care at the scene of the accident.
“I want to let people know what their fire department can do,” Zoeteman said. “I don’t think that the public is aware of that.”
In the coming days the fire department will be brainstorming some ideas to increase public awareness.
“But one thing we want to do is . . . we used to have an open house at the fire hall on the Saturday previous to Fire Prevention Week. It’s sort of fallen by the wayside, so we’re going to resurrect that.”
In line with the emphasis on public awareness, Zoeteman wants to see an increase in the diversity of training for members of the fire department.
“I want to see increased and more diverse training for the members, including ice and water rescue,” Zoeteman said. “This would involve more of a restructuring of fire practice, more in-depth practice, and diversifying.”
Zoeteman, now 46, has been with the Fort Macleod Fire Department for 17 years, the last 10 of which he was a captain, so he’s very familiar with the inner workings of things.
But concerning the administrative end of it all he said, “Right now I’m just getting my feet wet. I have a fairly steep learning curve ahead as I begin to deal with the administrative duties of the fire department.”
When he doesn’t have the fire chief helmet on Zoeteman will be working the family farm on Pearce Road with his dad Albert Zoeteman. He also works winters part-time at Falcan Industries.
“I’m proud to be the new fire chief of Fort Macleod,” Zoeteman said. “I’m excited to get to the work of the fire department as chief, and to work toward the future with the great bunch of people in this organization.”
There are 20 people on the Fort Macleod Fire Department at present, with room for two more.