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Passion never wanes for long-serving firefighters




Veteran firefighters Jerry Binsfield and Renzo Cescolini have responded to thousands of calls over the years.

By Mark Pavilons

“I'm just a firefighter.”

That humble sentiment says a lot about the commitment by members of the King Township Fire and Emergency Services.

Two King City veterans on the volunteer force – Captain Jerry Binsfield and Renzo Cescolini – have seen it all in their combined 58 years of serving their friends and neighbours.

While a lot has changed over the decades, what hasn't changed is their passion for the job.

The service has evolved tremendously, noted Captain Binsfield, a 33-year veteran.

In the early years, local firefighters would respond to roughly 70 calls and now the King City station alone rushes out more than 400 times a year.

Population growth in King and surrounding areas had led to increased traffic. Firefighters today handle many vehicle collisions and medical assistance calls.

Binsfield is known for his calm nature, someone who keeps his composure during hectic calls. His organizational skills and demeanor pay off. “The guys work hard for me,” he said.

He loves being around the younger firefighters today. Why? “They inspire me,” he said with a smile. He enjoys their enthusiasm and willingness to learn, which makes the training run even better. In fact, some have even offered very practical suggestions.

“It's nice to hang around people who want to help people,” he said. “I see really good people coming around here.”

For Cescolini, he's responded to literally thousands of calls over his quarter-century of service.

He used to own his own photography business, which allowed him a lot of leeway during the day. At the time, the fire department was looking for those who were available throughout the day.

Admittedly, he had no idea what his journey with the fire department would be like.

In those early years, with scarce funding and limited equipment, they improvised and made do. New recruits were given a pager and equipment and would have been called out on their very first day.

It was very much “learn as you go” he said.

Today, King Fire and Emergency Services is “second to none” in terms of equipment, trucks and people.”

As a first responder, you have to take everything in stride. Cescolini says very little bothers him, but incidents involving children and people he knows can be upsetting.

“We do our job, and try to put it in the back of your mind,” he said. “We stop the situation from getting worse and we try to help.”

At the scene of an accident, fire crews have brought people back when their vital signs were absent. While it's exciting, “we don't pat ourselves on the back. When it does happen, it's special.”

He noted there is one particular woman he helped save who has no recollection of anyone at the scene that day. When he sees her walking down the street, he simply smiles. “That makes it all worthwhile,” he said.

Every day brings something new and no two calls are ever the same. There have been small incidents and massive collisions and fires with both good and bad outcomes.

The adrenalin courses through their bodies when the pager goes off. They're committed to getting to the station, gearing up and saving lives.

Binsfield said it takes a tremendous amount of commitment. “You can't do this when it's convenient,” he pointed out.

He added having support on the home front is vital in this line of work.

There have been days when firefighters responded to upwards of 14 calls across King. The majority were weather related. In three days following the massive ice storm of 2013/14, crews responded to 75 calls over three days.

Helping the men and women do their work efficiently is state-of-the-art equipment and tools. Those, and constant training.

They have to be ready and trained for all types of emergencies, Binsfield observed, adding they take on more types of rescue calls these days that require specialized training.

The rigorous training, top-notch equipment and leadership from Chief Jim Wall “translates into quality response for the public.”

For King Fire and Emergency Services, being the best comes at a price. The ultimate form of flattery results in other detachments snatching King's finest to come and work for them – police, EMS and military fire.

From patch coats to professional gear and modern equipment, King Fire and Emergency Services has evolved into a proficient group of first responders.

And you're never too old to learn a few new tricks to add to your firefighting arsenal.

 

 

Excerpt: “I’m just a firefighter.” That humble sentiment says a lot about the commitment by members of the King Township Fire and Emergency Services.


Post date: 2015-03-31 16:10:45
Post date GMT: 2015-03-31 20:10:45
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