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New recruit switches fire chief helmet from Sooke to Central Saanich come September

Kenn Mount has 16 years’ experience in the fire service, including four as chief in Sooke
Kenn Mount will be taking over as fire chief of Central Saanich beginning in September. (Photo by Tyler Cave Productions)

Central Saanich has announced the appointment of a new fire chief.

Kenn Mount, who currently heads the Sooke Fire Department, will be hopping a few municipalities over starting in September to take on the new role.

“It’s a nice transition,” Mount told Black Press Media. “I’m coming from an excellent department with a lot of the same dynamics.”

Mount has been serving as fire chief at the Sooke department since 2017, but he has more than 16 years of experience in the fire service, including as a volunteer firefighter, training officer and regional chief. In 2018, one of Mount’s department members, Cam Norris-Jones, was awarded B.C. Fire Training Officer of the Year.

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Mount said his approach to running a fire hall stems from his background as a ski professional and athlete.

“It’s about having that focus, drive and determination,” he said. “I treat my firefighters as occupational athletes.”

Though it’s about more than preparing them physically, Mount added. “There’s a mental component to performing well. It’s about staying calm under pressure and putting on your gear properly and quickly without panicking.”

Heading into the new role, Mount said it will be all about establishing relationships and clear communication between all levels of the department, from firefighters to mayor and council.

“It’s about working as a team and understanding that everyone is in it together,” he said.

Mayor Ryan Windsor said they’re looking forward to Mount starting. “The service has a good person coming in. He’s highly regarded across the firefighting community.”

Mount will be filling the shoes of former Fire Chief Chris Vrabel, who retired in the spring, according to the district. Recently retired Deputy Fire Chief John Robertson has been temporarily filling in during the transition.

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