Fire­fighter cel­e­brates 40 years with brigade

The Compass - - Front page - BY CHRIS LEWIS

Dave Reg­u­lar re­cently hit his 40th year with the Har­bour Grace Vol­un­teer Fire Brigade.

Hav­ing first joined the brigade on Aug. 7, 1977, when he was just 19-years-old, the now 59-year-old Har­bour Grace res­i­dent says his jour­ney as a fire­fighter is one that’s shaped his en­tire life – and one he isn’t ready to finish any­time soon.

Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of his fa­ther, as well as his grand­fa­ther on his mother’s side, Reg­u­lar says be­ing a fire­fighter is in his blood at this point, and its be­come a pas­sion over the years, al­beit a stress­ful one at times.

With 40 years un­der his belt, Reg­u­lar has been on-call for the brigade for a to­tal of 14,600 days, or 350,400 hours. With a 180-year-old brigade, Reg­u­lar

is the first in the brigade’s his­tory to reach the 40-year mark, and told The Com­pass that al­though there have been rough days and nights, he doesn’t re­gret a se­cond of it.

“Now, we’ve got so much equip­ment and other things avail­able through the brigade, that we’re do­ing so much more than just fight­ing fires,” ex­plained Reg­u­lar. “We’ve got a cold wa­ter res­cue team, the Jaws of Life, and we’re going out and re­spond­ing to calls not just in Har­bour Grace, but in other com­mu­ni­ties as well. It’s a big re­spon­si­bil­ity, but it’s all worth it at the end of the day.”

Reg­u­lar also ex­plained to The Com­pass that spend­ing so much time as a vol­un­teer fire­fighter can take a toll on one’s men­tal health, not­ing in par­tic­u­lar the per­sonal con­nec­tion he some­times has to those who are af­fected by fires he’s had to re­spond to in the past.

“It’s a small town, and it seems like ev­ery­one knows each other for the most part,” Reg­u­lar ex­plained. “It’s not like we’re in a big city where you don’t know half the peo­ple you see. I’ve been at scenes and saw peo­ple I’m very close with suf­fer­ing be­cause of a fire.

“Not only that, but not ev­ery call we re­spond to is going to be suc­cess­ful. Like any­thing, I sup­pose, there’s going to be times when things don’t go the way you planned. It def­i­nitely takes a toll on you over the years.”

Reg­u­lar added that al­though

it was dif­fi­cult to pin­point spe­cific in­ci­dents that were par­tic­u­larly tough through­out his ca­reer, he said even smaller fires even­tu­ally start to take a toll, not­ing that ev­ery fire and ev­ery call gets in­grained into one’s mem­ory.

“Just driv­ing down the road some­times can be hard on you, you know? Maybe you’ll pass by a house where you saw some­one die, or some­thing like that, and that can be es­pe­cially hard some­times,” Reg­u­lar said.

Reg­u­lar also noted that the num­ber of firefighters over the years has seen a de­crease, and al­though he’d like to see the num­bers grow again, he doesn’t think it has to do with a lack of in­ter­est.

In­stead, Reg­u­lar feels as though the younger gen­er­a­tion sim­ply doesn’t have the time to ded­i­cate to the job, men­tion­ing the amount of peo­ple leav­ing the prov­ince, or even the com­mu­nity, for work on a daily or weekly ba­sis.

“I’m sure that if some of these peo­ple were able to work within their own com­mu­ni­ties, we’d see a lot more peo­ple join­ing. It’s a gen­er­a­tional thing, and the world is chang­ing. Peo­ple are trav­el­ling a lot more, and some just don’t live a life­style that fits in with be­ing a vol­un­teer fire­fighter,” Reg­u­lar said. He also added, how­ever, that if any­one does have the chance to join, he’d be happy to see some new faces.

De­spite the trau­matic scenes and long nights, Reg­u­lar said the opportunity to change peo­ple’s lives, save peo­ple from the brink of death, and as­sist peo­ple in dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions makes it all worth it, and that those are the rea­sons he’s been able to stick with it over the past 40 years.

“I still got the fire in me belly,” Reg­u­lar said with a chuckle. “I got no plans to let go of it yet. Be­ing able to help so many peo­ple, make such a big dif­fer­ence to peo­ple you know, and even the ones you don’t know. Hav­ing such a big im­pact on the com­mu­nity re­ally makes it all worth it.”

I still got the fire in me belly. — Dave Reg­u­lar

COM­PASS FILE PHOTO

Dave Reg­u­lar has no plans of leav­ing be­hind his fire­fight­ing days any­time soon.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Dave Reg­u­lar re­cently cel­e­brated 40 years with the Har­bour Grace Vol­un­teer Fire Brigade, hav­ing joined when he was only 19-years-old.

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