Firefighter alumnus excels in emergency management

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September 22, 2020
Jordan Newton is excited to continue protecting and serving his home city in a new capacity.
The Lakeland College alumnus, Class of 2010, assumed the role of Emergency Management Operations (EMO) manager for the City of Lloydminster earlier this year, after serving for the Lloydminster Fire Service (LFS) for 10 years – five of those as chief.
“Serving the community as fire chief for five years was the best job I’ve had; I found it extremely rewarding,” says Newton. “I chose to pursue an emergency management position because I am always looking for new challenges and opportunities to learn. This position will afford me those opportunities while protecting and making the city a more viable community.”
As the city’s manager of EMO, Newton oversees the city’s emergency operations. He builds resiliency and business continuity plans within the organization and co-ordinates numerous teams to minimize the impact disasters have on the community.
At the helm of the city’s emergency response planning for four months, Newton’s first call to action came in the form of navigating the City of Lloydminster through the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, public safety was always the city’s highest priority. While there were some challenges throughout the early stages, on behalf of the city, I am proud of the community’s openness to mitigation efforts and being able to adapt to change quickly.”
Newton was responsible for leading the city’s Incident Management Team, which activated on March 11, and was still regularly completing tasks at publication. Acting as the Incident Commander, Newton operated a team of 10. They corresponded with Alberta and Saskatchewan officials, completed multiple daily tasks and communicated to the public regarding what safeguards were being put in place to mitigate COVID-19 transmission among the community.
Throughout his COVID-19 experience, Newton says the biggest takeaway is the misconception that disasters only include fire, flood and wind events. “Rather, communities and those involved with emergency management need to look at other risks within their organization because a pandemic may expose weaknesses such as supply chain, physical infrastructure and staff resourcing.”
As fire chief, Newton says his most significant achievement was transforming the fire department from a traditional operating model into, what he considers, a professional and sophisticated model. The LFS operates with full-time and part-time staff. “We have staff who work 24-hours a day and others working eight hours a day. They provide many services, and the training has grown a lot within the department.”
Newton began his firefighting career with the LFS after graduating from Lakeland’s firefighter training program. Previously, Newton attended Lakeland’s electrical apprenticeship program. He shelved his career as an electrician when he became a deputy fire chief in 2013, and then fire chief in 2015. ­
“At Lakeland, I gained a wealth of experience from very knowledgeable instructors about the firefighting industry. Right after graduation, I was successful in joining the fire department in Lloydminster,” Newton says.
Newton maintains a close relationship with Lakeland’s Emergency Training Centre. He adds that he frequents many events, graduation ceremonies and continuing education opportunities. Newton also helped organize an aerial truck donation to the college’s Emergency Training Centre in 2017.
Building on his accomplishments within the LFS, Newton is looking forward to enhancing connections to the industry with annual conferences. He also plans to take more education in emergency management and disaster recovery to continue providing the best services to Lloydminster.
Photo: (1) Jordan Newton in front of the City of Lloydminster's municipal building.

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