The City of Selkirk has named long-time firefighter and Deputy Chief Dave Milner as the Selkirk Fire Department’s new Fire Chief. Milner assumed the role on Jan. 1 and took over for long-time Chief Dan Thorsteinson.
“Dave was the successful candidate from a very competitive application process, and I’m thrilled to be working so closely with him as we continue to build on the department’s legacy of successful service,” said the city’s Director of Protective Services, Kristy Hill.
“The relationship between the city and the SFD is strong and that’s thanks to great leadership, past and present.”
Milner said the city has a good department.
“The history of our fire chiefs is impressive and I’ve got big shoes to fill,” Milner said.
“I’ve got an amazing group of guys to lead. We have a new retro-fitted fire hall and I’m just looking forward to the challenge of being involved in the community in a different way.”
Ninth chief in department’s history
Milner has been a member of the Department for 21 years and has served as Deputy Fire Chief for seven. He became an officer and a Lieutenant in 2007 – in charge of fire prevention and education.
In 2008 he became Chair of the South Interlake Mutual Aid District, Public Education Committee, where he taught other firefighters and members of the public. He held that position until a year ago.
Milner said he had a lot of support from his peers, who felt he has the experience and the education to take on the role of chief.
Milner becomes the ninth Chief in the department’s history.
He thanked Thorsteinson, who came out of retirement to run the department for the past couple of years, and who was invaluable to Milner in preparing for his new role.
“I’ve been working behind the scenes with Danny over the last couple of years and that’s helped prepare me,” Milner said.
Thorsteinson said Milner is an excellent choice to take on the role of Fire Chief.
“I endorse Dave fully,” Thorsteinson said.
“He’s got the training, he’s got the expertise, he’s got the experience and he’s got the personality too. I know that Dave will do a great job.”
Milner said he wouldn’t be able to commit his time to the department without the backing of his family.
“I have great support from my family and that’s important,” he said.
Member recruitment and public education coming soon
Milner said his first task as Fire Chief will be member recruitment.
Potential applicants have to live in Selkirk and Milner said it’s preferable to work in Selkirk as well, but if they don’t it’s not a deal breaker. They’ll have to be able to get a Class 4 licence and pass a Class 4 medical to be successful.
The city has National Fire Protection (NFP) certified instructors on the department, so training will be in house, with exams and tests taking place in Brandon.
“That’s first on the agenda for the new year,” Milner said.
He said anyone considering applying needs to know that it is a considerable time commitment, especially in the first few years when you need to complete your training. The support of your family is crucial to success, he said.
“They will need strong family support to get through this. The family has to understand that they have to go to school, answer fire calls too, so it can be very busy,” he said.
“We talk to them right away and tell them, you need your family support. It’s huge.”
He said they’ll also be ramping up education in the schools and in senior homes when it is safe to do so. COVID had reduced their presence in recent years.
“Those are the people in our communities that are most at risk,” he said.
“We do hall tours with students and we talk to them and teachers about what we expect of them when there is a fire or a drill. And that’s the same as senior’s homes, we want to tell them what to expect, what we expect of them.”
Milner has been appointed to the role for a four-year term.