Com­mu­nity sup­port

Nor'wester (Springdale) - - Editorial - Cory.hur­ley@thenor­

Matthews con­sid­ers her­self a go-get­ter, some­body who gets things done. Those are valu­able as­sets for a chief, but she was not about to lead a de­part­ment with­out fire­fight­ing train­ing. She has com­pleted a two-day de­fen­sive fire­fight­ing train­ing course, a ba­sic de­fen­sive fire in­struc­tor course, train­ing on the in­ci­dent com­mand sys­tem (ICS), and the fire de­part­ment op­er­a­tions course. She con­tin­ues to ex­pand her train­ing and qual­i­fi­ca­tions, in­clud­ing a two-day ses­sion this past week­end in Springdale.

“If I am go­ing to send my team out to fight a fire, if I am not skilled enough to do it, then I would not want to put them in danger as well,” she said. “I will only send them out if I think it is safe enough for me to go.”

Matthews ac­knowl­edges some of the train­ing has been dif­fi­cult, but she shows no signs of back­ing down. She may not be able to match some of the men in strength, she said, but it would be tough to find an equal in de­ter­mi­na­tion.

“Some peo­ple may say leave that to the men, be­cause we are not strong enough to do it, but I be­lieve any­body can do any­thing they put their mind to,” she said.

“If you can throw on a 30pound bunker suit, with a 30pound breath­ing apparatus, and climb 40-feet up a lad­der to haul some­body out through a burn­ing build­ing, I can do the same.”

As far as her lead­er­ship abil­i­ties, Matthews is a nonon­sense type of chief. She said she pushes mem­bers to com­plete and main­tain their train­ing. She stresses the im­por­tance of be­ing pro­fes­sion­als, she said, and that fire­fight­ers are not part of a so­cial club.

“I am very proud,” she said. “If I can make a dif­fer­ence for one per­son, that is a happy day.


Springdale fire­fighter and pro­vin­cial fire pre­ven­tion of­fi­cer Everett Pitts re­cently at­tended the Pac­quet Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment’s fire pre­ven­tion night. He is pic­tured here with Firettes Daphne Bow­ers, left, and Eu­nice Gilling­ham.

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