Saugeen Shores Fire Chief is leaving Bruce County

Saugeen Shores Fire Chief, Phil Eagleson, is leaving to take up a new position as Fire Chief in the City of Owen Sound.

Eagleson, who has been Saugeen Shores Chief since 2009, will begin his new posting on November 22nd after being chosen by a selection committee following interviews of the four short-listed candidates.

Saugeen Times File Photo

Born and raised in Bruce County, Eagleson, who had been a volunteer with Saugeen Shores fire service for 10 years before becoming Acting Fire Chief in 2008, was officially appointed as Chief in 2009.  Under his leadership, the Fire Service has had one of the highest retention rates in Ontario and, in 2011, he was the recipient of the Canadian VFIS recruitment and retention award when the retention rate hit 100 per cent.

With only two full-time staff and more than 50 dedicated volunteer firefighters, Saugeen Shores Fire Department is committed to protecting the town of Saugeen Shores and, according to Eagleson, is one of the best services in Ontario.

At a former meeting of Saugeen Shores Men’s Probus Club, Eagleson said that, “Considering the high level of service it provides, the department is extremely cost effective.  Compared to other municipalities in the area, we have one of the lowest per capital percentages.”

In 2013,  Eagleson was awarded a Fellowship to Harvard University in Cambridge to take part in the prestigious program ‘Senior Executives in State and Local Government’.  The 19-day intensive program focused on relationships between citizens and government, analyzing policy options and examining the ethical and special responsibilities of exercising leadership.  Eagleson was one of only four recipients for the Fellowships, was the only Fire Chief from Canada to be accepted and is only the fourth Canadian to be selected for the fellowship in the awards’ 30 year history.

He also headed up the 20-year Strategic Plan for Saugeen Shores as Project Manager and was appointed Director of Protective Services and Community Emergency Management Coordinator.

Eagleson was a believer in always challenging the volunteers and initiated the water rescue training program working with the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Marine Heritage Society.

When it came to young people, Eagleson also spearheaded the Junior Firefighter Program that has a waiting list of young elementary students each year.  The students are taken through various rigorous training techniques dressed in full firefighter gear sized to fit and, at the end, receive a diploma.

So, with a career that spans more than 20 years with the Saugeen Shores Fire Service, Phil Eagleson is moving on.