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City of Powell River appoints new fire chief

Martin Drakeley will take over fire department next month
LIFELONG COMMITMENT: City of Powell River has hired Martin Drakeley, from the North Cowichan fire department, as chief of Powell River Fire Rescue.

City of Powell River has announced the appointment of Martin Drakeley as the new chief of Powell River Fire Rescue.

“Chief Drakeley has a lifelong commitment to protecting the communities he serves and having a positive impact,” stated mayor Ron Woznow in a media release. “City council is excited about the insights, guidance and leadership that he will undoubtedly bring to Powell River Fire Rescue.

During his tenure as fire chief from the municipality of North Cowichan, Drakeley undertook the challenge of unifying four distinct fire departments into a singular, cohesive entity, characterized by a uniform set of standards and a centralized administrative framework, the release stated.

Born in England and raised in Lantzville, Drakeley’s fire service began in 1983 as a volunteer with the Lantzville Fire Department. He started his career service with Nanaimo Fire Rescue as a firefighter dispatcher, the release stated. He progressively rose through the ranks to assistant chief and was appointed as fire chief senior manager of bylaws for North Cowichan in 2019.

The release stated that Drakeley has extensive experience in operations, management, administration, instruction, development of technical programs and specialization in various facets of firefighting and safety.

“We extend our warmest welcome to his family, his wife Sandra, daughter Cassidy and son Hunter, and we look forward to building meaningful connections with them as well,” stated Woznow.

Beyond his professional commitments, Drakeley has a love for the outdoors, embracing hiking, biking, fishing, hunting and enjoying time with his canine companion, Hetti, a seven-month-old retriever.

Drakeley will join Powell River Fire Rescue on September 5.

Drakeley, in the media release, stated that as he embarks on his future objectives, one of his primary goals is to establish an operations leadership team.

“This strategic move aims to empower our highly skilled officers, enabling them to leverage their extensive experience and training, and integrate seamlessly into the decision-making processes of the department,” stated Drakeley. “This enhancement is geared toward optimally serving the taxpaying public of Powell River.

“Furthermore, it is essential to conduct a comprehensive review of our training programs, operational guidelines and policies to ensure they are aligned with current best practices. Additionally, a thorough examination of our recruitment and retention strategies for our paid on-call staff is imperative. It is crucial that these dedicated individuals feel an integral part of our organization, despite the substantial time commitments that often extend into their personal lives, including important family milestones and holidays.”

Drakeley stated that acknowledging and addressing these demands will be a pivotal aspect of the review.

“My commitment is to lead our department towards enhanced efficiency, unity and inclusivity,” stated Drakeley. “Together, we can elevate our community service to new heights while upholding the highest standards of excellence.”

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