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Bos reflects on decades of service with TES

Posted on May 7, 2014 by Taber Times

After nearly 30 years as a cornerstone of the Taber Emergency Services fire department, Fire Chief Mike Bos is moving on.

Bos, whose last day was April 25, will be stepping in to a fire prevention officer position with St. Albert Fire Services. While he served as Taber Emergency Services fire chief since 2010 and before that as deputy chief in 2008, Bos first put the uniform on as a Taber volunteer firefighter back in 1995.

As a fire prevention officer, Bos will be doing a little bit of everything, including prevention, inspections, and investigations.

“It’s a different step, he said. “It’s moving toward something a little more technical; something that’s a little bit more orientated in fire prevention and safety.”

Bos said he’s looking forward to the new challenges his job will provide, including helping the community stay fire safe by inspecting fire suppression plans and equipment. He is also looking forward to an expanded role as a fire investigator.

“The fire investigations part is something every firefighter likes to do,’ he said. “It’s kind of the C.S.I. (Crime Scene Investigator) part of fire. Every firefighter is interested in that and it’s a portion of my job there, too.”

While Bos said he learned many lessons here over the years, living and working in a small town and on a small town fire department really brought home the importance of having good relationships, both with his fellow firefighters, but also within the community.

“Particularly when you get into a small town,” he said. “The impact and importance (relationships) grow once you move into a smaller community.”

He said at a management level, he gained insight into the level of commitment volunteer firefighters give to the position.

“I was able to see it as a volunteer, and now at a management level,” he said. “When you see the guys who step up and are willing to do the job, you appreciate it even more because it made my job easier.”

Bos said one thing he will miss when he leaves Taber is going out on calls with the rest of the department. His new job will keep him off the fire trucks and he’ll be going to events only after they’ve been handled as part of his investigations.

“I’ll be going to the calls after the calls,” he said. “I’ll miss that, the adrenaline was always a big part of it for me.”

He also said he’ll miss his friendships and everyone involved with making Taber Emergency Services run smoothly.

“The people here were a big part of it (for me),” he said.

There are a few things Bos said he won’t miss once he’s settled into his new job in St. Albert. First among those is being on call, as his new position will keep him in more traditional working hours.

“I’m not going to miss being on call,” he said. “All the after hours, weekends, weeknights, that kind of stuff was a big factor in my decision.”

“After 18 years, perhaps it’s time to settle down and let someone else step into the role, and actually have a normal family life.”

Bos said one of the things that always makes Taber such an interesting place to be a firefighter is the variety of different industries, commercial interests, and residential areas the firefighters serve.

“We have a diverse industry,” he said. “We’re not all residential or commercial. It’s a diverse town which presents a lot of challenges. We have some great industry here and we were able to build some good relationships. It also presented some unique challenges. When you look at being a fire chief in a town like Taber, it’s something that is desired for those reasons.”

Bos said there are a number of reasons why he thinks Taber is a great place to be a firefighter.

“We have a good group of guys here,” he said. “We have support from our local governments, including the Municipal District of Taber and Town of Taber; we have support for training, we’re well-funded, the community supports us. When you look at all that, we have a good department.”

He went on to highlight the importance of community support for volunteer fire departments.

“The support we have in the community, as a chief I was very, very thankful for that. I know all our guys are thankful for that.

“For us, it’s a big deal. As a volunteer, if you don’t have that kind of support, it’s easy to say ‘I’m not feeling appreciated, and I don’t think anyone really cares what I’m doing.’”

“That’s really important.”

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