Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad
Out of the frying pan, into the fire

Sanguez has a long road of training ahead of him

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Hay River (Apr 19/02) - It will take a total of four years, but Ralph Sanguez is on his way to becoming assistant fire marshal.

Working closely with Kellie Mitchell, the current assistant fire marshal, Sanguez has spent the past five months upgrading his education through Aurora College in Hay River.

He has also joined Hay River's volunteer fire department. It's much larger than the volunteer brigade in Trout Lake, where Sanguez served as fire chief and public works foreman over the past 10 years.

Hay River also has a number of fire trucks as opposed to Trout Lake's single dry-chemical truck.

He has also made his way to the smaller communities in the Deh Cho to introduce himself in his new role, and he has performed fire safety inspections in public buildings.

For example, he checks to see if fire extinguishers are in place and functioning properly. He also ensures that emergency exits exist and are not obstructed.

With practically every job comes computer-related work. Sanguez was in Yellowknife last month to learn about a data-entry program used by fire departments in many NWT communities.

"If there's a fire, it's basically all the different information. You ask a whole bunch of different questions about how the fire started and that sort of thing," he explained.

Eventually he will attend Alberta Fire Training school in Vermillion.

When all his training is complete, his position will be relocated to Fort Simpson and he will be responsible for investigating the cause and origin of fires, training firefighters and the public, conducting fire safety inspections and promoting fire safety in the Deh Cho.

Sanguez said he was interested in a new career and the chance to reinforce just how essential a well-trained and well-equipped firefighting service can be.

"Hopefully because everyone knows me and where I come from, I'll be able to help them realize the importance of fire protection," he said.

"There is a lot to learn, and there's always something new ... there's still a lot of things that I need to be taught. So I kind of go one step at a time."