Guiding light: fire chief recognized nationally

Jim Day
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The year the last fire-training simulator was built at the P.E.I Firefighters School in Milton, Chief Miles Boulton put in some 2,700 hours of work, give or take an hour.

All the work was done, as it has been for the past 30 plus years, for free.

“This is not a paid position,’’ noted Boulter of his time-consuming role as chief instructor of the fire school.

“It’s a volunteer position.’’

The thousands of hours of volunteer time Boulter has clocked in the research, development and implementation of firefighting and rescue training programs has directly contributed to reduced human suffering, property loss and life preservation in every area of the province, says Tim Jenkins, president of the P.E.I. Firefighters Association.

Jenkins successfully nominated Boulter for selection by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs as the 2010 Canadian Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year.

Jenkins, a volunteer firefighter who has taken many courses from Boulter, says the chief has the respect and admiration of the roughly 1,000 men and women who put themselves in harm’s way across the province in an earnest attempt to prevent injury and loss of both life and property due to fire.

“Oh, every firefighter on the Island knows he is very deserving of the award he’s getting,’’ he said.

“The recognition is long overdo for sure.’’

Jenkins says Boulton, a man he describes as having the gift of the gab, was all but speechless when he learned of the honour that will officially be bestowed upon him on Sept. 22 during the annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs in St. John, N.B.

Boulter says he is greatly humbled by the award’s implication that the chief has the strong acceptance of his peers. However, he concedes to being less flattered by recent local media attention.

“I’d be just as happy if I got the award, hung it on the wall, and I didn’t talk to guys like you,’’ he said matter-of-factly during a lengthy interview with The Guardian earlier this week.

What continues to spur the 61-year-old Boulter on today is watching the development of firefighters as they take and complete any number of the 19 programs, which range from basic ice rescue to an instructor technique course, offered through the firefighters school.

Jenkins calls Boulter, who also currently holds the volunteer position of chief of the Provincial Hazardous Materials Response Team, “the guiding light’’ for the school’s 60 instructors who provide training to every fire department in P.E.I.

“He’s extremely passionate,’’ he said.

“There’s absolutely nothing that he won’t do when asked, especially for training. What really is a point of him is he won’t bend any corners or cut any corners. Everything has to be up to spec. Something that is close won’t do.’’

Boulter, conversely, is quick to credit the skill and dedication of his instructors, which he views collectively as his greatest resource.

“I’m proud of the people,’’ he said.

Organizations: Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, P.E.I Firefighters School, O’Leary Fire Department The Guardian Provincial Hazardous Materials Response Team Maritime Electric Prince Edward Island Firefighters Association

Geographic location: Milton, Prince Edward Island, Glenwood West Point Summerside New Brunswick Maine Grand Cayman Islands Charlottetown North America Cornwall

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Recent comments

  • Manfred Kihn - Bullard Canada
    August 30, 2010 - 12:21

    Miles, Congratulations on the award! It's people like you that make the difference in firefighter lives!

  • Philip Publicover
    August 30, 2010 - 11:36

    Congratulations Chief Boulter. You are an inspiring personality with few equals in this service. While reading the article I realized that you were not paid for your time, I was unaware of this. You are an example for many to emulate.

  • Barry Stewart
    August 28, 2010 - 11:16

    I can not think of anyone more deserving of this recognition by peers. It was a pleasure to serve with him in O'Leary. The training facility that Miles has but his heart and soul into is top notch. It was his leadership that has given the PEI firefighters a place to train something we do not have in New Brunswick.. Donna should stand beside him in accepting this award as she genoursly accepted the thousands of hours Miles has volunteered to make the school a reality. Well done Miles and Donna

  • Wayne Collins
    August 28, 2010 - 10:34

    As a former MLA for Winsloe-West Royalty, home of the PEI Firefighters School, I extend my warmest congratulations to Chief Boulter. This is a richly-deserved honour! During my term of office, I had many informative and delightful discussions with Mr. Boulter about the importance of this school to all of the Island. Chief Boulter has worked so hard to make this school a resounding success.

  • MacRae
    August 28, 2010 - 07:51

    You deserve this Miles!! Congratulations!!

  • Gary Gray
    August 27, 2010 - 22:57

    Congratulations Miles I have known Chief Boulter for more than 40 years and had the honor to serve under his capable command on the O'Leary fire dept. Miles has dedicated his entire life to the service of others through his years of volunteer service. All the while being supported by his wife Donna. A very deserving recipient indeed. Congratulations my friend!

  • Belinda Peters
    August 27, 2010 - 18:18

    Way to go Miles!!!!!! You deserve it :) Whoop Whoop!!