Director of Emergency Services and Fire Chief for Belleville Fire and Emergency Services, Monique Belair is a skilled and articulate Fire Service Leader with 30+ years of knowledge and experience planning, developing and implementing programs and processes in the fire service and field of emergency management.
When Monique Belair decided to apply to be a fire fighter, she didn't know that her height would be the most important attribute she could bring to the table.  In 1985 she met the height requirement of 5'8" being 5'9" and was offered a position with the Canadian Armed Forces.  She took basic training at CFB Borden at their Fire Academy and graduated in 1986 in a non-traditional career for women.  When she left the military she was one of five females who served in the CAF.  From there she became the first female Deputy Fire Chief in Oakville, followed with being the first female Deputy Fire Chief in St. Catharines.  Monique has had the privilege to represent the Office of the Fire Marshall and to serve a number of communities in Ontario.  She has taken two oaths in her career, one with the Canadian Armed Forces, a pledge to serve at 18 years of age and one when she was sworn in as Fire Chief in Belleville, a pledge to this community and she has taken both seriously.
One of Fire Chief Belair's most important projects came to life while working in Oakville.  As the Deputy Fire Chief through her initiative Camp Molly Halton.  Camp Molly provides an educational and empowering experience for young females between the ages of 15 - 18 the opportunity of a practical learning experience about a career in fire services.  Fire Chief Belair is focused on bringing the Camp Molly program to this area.
Fire Prevention Officer Brad Reynolds spoke to everyone about the importance of learning the sounds of fire safety, the difference between the sound of a smoke alarm (3 continuous beeps) and a carbon monoxide alarm (4 continuous beeps), low battery beeps.  Because Belleville has a large hearing impaired population, Brad prepared a video using sign language, vetted by the deaf community and shared on social media.  Brad recommended everyone has a carbon monoxide alarm installed in their home, tested monthly and inspected annually.  Check outside vents and chimneys to ensure they are clear and unencumbered.  Brad also spoke about emergency preparedness in the event of an abnormal situation that could threaten public safety and health and property such as snow/ice storms, fire, earthquakes, floods, power outages.  It is his job to make people aware and educate them on what they can do in the event of such a situation.  People should be prepared to sustain themselves and their families for up to 72 hours, having food and water, medication, clothing supplies, identification, etc.  The City has emergency guides available to the public to understand and be prepared.  Fire Chief Belair will be designating new staff to review emergency preparedness for the City to ensure we address and reach out to the community.  The Fire Department will continue with fire prevention in schools and address risk management and to establish an increased visible presence in 2022.
Rotarian and Past President Kristin Crowe thanked Fire Chief Belair and Fire Prevention Officer Reynolds for their presentation to the Rotary Club of Belleville.  Our community is fortunate to have Fire Chief Belair's determination and commitment.  Thank you for sparking our attention.