Terry Dixon has two top priorities.
“Building a new station is number one,” the new fire chief told ThoroldNews. “We just outgrew this building. It’s no longer up to standards.”
And while working on securing a suitable replacement for the aged Towpath Street fire hall, Dixon also plans to “Move forward with our standard operating guidelines. That’s what we base our training on,” he explained, “so we need to have a good structure. All districts have given their input. The growth of the city is going to dictate where we go.”
With 35 years of firefighting experience, the lifelong Thorold resident said he “grew up on Holland Road,” and spent 17 years as a volunteer firefighter before being hired full-time to the force in 2001. He served his last four years as District Chief at Station Four, and was a Captain for the last five years.
In a press release, the city announced that Dixon “is a graduate of the Ontario Fire College and has undertaken a series of training programs to enhance his knowledge and skills.”
In his new position, he will oversee the administration and operations of the Thorold Fire and Emergency Services, which is comprised of 20 full-time firefighters and 120 volunteer firefighters, working out of four fire stations.
According to Mayor Terry Ugulini, “Terry knows Thorold Fire and Emergency Services inside out, having worked within our system, both as a volunteer and currently as a full-time firefighter. That being said, when given the opportunity to promote someone qualified from within, we should take advantage of that opportunity.”
“I’m so excited to do the job,” said Dixon. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Referring to past rifts between professional and volunteer firefighters, “Our relationships have gotten so much better over the years between us and the volunteers,” he stated, “and there’s so much I want to accomplish. I have a good relationship with the volunteers on all sides, from all districts. I think I am well-respected in the fire service. The biggest point is communication. I think that’s huge. We constantly have training meetings now with our new training officer, and everybody has a say.”
Fire prevention is another aspect of the Thorold department he hopes to address.
“Fire prevention is huge. Vince (Giovannini, Fire Prevention Officer) knows his job very well, but there’s so much to do.”
Dixon said he’s prepared to take the reins, and intends to continue building relationships in the community.
“At the end of the day, somebody has to make a decision. The military aspect of the fire service has gotten lost a little bit. I think that has to come back in the sense of how you carry yourself, and the chain of command. We want to work together with the police, and we have a fantastic relationship with them.”
Dixon and his wife Cathy of 31 years have two children; a granddaughter, age three; and a grandson, age one.
When not working, he stays active by playing hockey and baseball.