A veteran firefighter with the Kingston ire department for more than 30 years is moving into the top position with South Frontenac Fire and Rescue to start off the new year.
South Frontenac Township announced on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024, that Del Blakney, familiar to Kingstonians as the lead Fire Prevention Officer with Kingston Fire and Rescue, will assume the position as the Fire Chief with South Frontenac Fire and Rescue beginning on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024. The move will also see Blakney take on the role of Director of Emergency Services for the Township.
Blakney has accrued more than three decades of experience with the Kingston fire department and has been a volunteer firefighter with South Frontenac Fire and Rescue for the past five years, South Frontenac Township shared in a press release. While those two roles alone speak to his proficiency, Blakney has a long list of qualifications and past firefighting operations and experiences. According to South Frontenac Township, Blakney holds a Fire Prevention Officer diploma from the Ontario Fire College and is a certified Company Officer, Training Officer, firefighter, Public Information Officer, public educator, and Fire Investigator. Further, the new South Frontenac Fire Chief holds certifications and/or first-hand knowledge of:
- The Ontario Building Code
- Fire prevention
- Suppression techniques
- Hazardous material response
- Rescue operations
South Frontenac Township also pointed to Blakney’s “extensive management experience” in both the private and public sectors, as well as his involvement in provincial organizations, from serving as Director of the Ontario Municipal Fire Prevention Officers Association for the past four years, to working with the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal and Emergency Management, the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, Health Canada, and “over 230 member fire departments across Ontario to evaluate and direct the delivery of fire protection services across the province.”
In a statement, South Frontenac Mayor Ron Vandewal said, “Del is a strong leader who is well-respected within the fire services community in the region and in the province. His deep knowledge, experience, and success at developing effective working relationships with multiple stakeholders will continue to make South Frontenac Fire and Rescue a leader in fire services.”
Blakney takes over the leadership of the 110 volunteer firefighters who cover more than 900 kilometres of South Frontenac Township from Alex Bennett, who was appointed interim Fire Chief in May 2023 after Darcy Knott, the former fire chief and director of emergency services, resigned the same month after five years in the position.
“We had several excellent internal and external candidates but were very lucky to have someone like Del with his vast expertise and knowledge within our own organization to become our new Fire Chief,” South Frontenac Chief Administrative Officer Louise Fragnito reflected.
“I think it speaks to the talent of the people we have here in South Frontenac.”
More information on South Frontenac Fire and Rescue can be found on the Township website.