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New chief in town

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Dec 13/06) - Rick Penner left a big pair of fire chief's boots to be filled when he departed Rankin Inlet, but the new chief in town is ready for the challenge.

Alan Stebbing came to Rankin from Tsiigehtchic, a tiny community about 125 km south of Inuvik.
NNSL Photo/graphic

New Rankin Inlet Fire Chief Alan Stebbing is ready for the challenge of running the Kivalliq's biggest department. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

Originally from Port Moody, B.C., the 24-year-old former deputy chief was ready for the top job in a larger community.

Stebbing has spent seven years in emergency services, including ambulance work, and two years being involved with firefighting.

Having lived in the Western Arctic for a while, he decided it was time to see what the East had to offer.

He inquired about Rankin, heard good things and decided to apply.

Stebbing didn't know his predecessor Penner personally, but he had heard good things about what he had accomplished in Rankin.

The two have been in contact since Stebbing took the Rankin job on Nov. 27.

Stebbing said he's lucky to inherit a functional department that's well-respected in the community.

"You have big boots to fill any time you step into a functional department because, obviously, your predecessor was doing something right," said Stebbing.

"I won't be exactly the same as the former chief because each chief brings a bit of a different spin on things.

"Starting off, I need to work with the people in the department and the various agencies in town to find out what's different about Rankin than where I was before.

"I also have to look at what was working well during Rick's time with the department and what areas could use some improvement."

Stebbing said the Rankin volunteer firefighters are a great crew, and everyone will continue to work hard to make things better within the department.

He said safety is always the top priority in a fire department and that goes hand in hand with training.

"Working with the community to ensure you're improving the services people want is also an important aspect of running a strong department.

"You need good relationships with the agencies in town you interact with, such as the RCMP, airport crew, municipal enforcement and hospital staff.

"It's very important to have a strong working relationship with the people in those agencies."