Ottawa names new fire chief

The City of Ottawa has named Kim Ayotte its new fire chief.

The official announcement was made Wednesday.

Ayotte had been filling the position in an interim role since former chief Gerry Pingitore retired in April.

In a tweet Pingitore described his successor as “the perfect choice and fit for a world class, innovative, inclusive Fire Service.”

Ayotte, who is bilingual, has 29 years of fire service experience including 15 years with Ottawa Fire Services, according to a new release from the city.

During his 15 years in Ottawa he has held every major deputy chief position, and is also designated an executive chief fire officer by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs.

Chief priorities

Ayotte plans to make research to better improve working conditions for firefighters one of his top priorities, he told CBC News.

Ottawa Fire Services is currently partnering with the local universities to study the health issues firefighters face, he said.

“As the fire chief I’m hoping to see a lot of those research projects go through so we can use evidence based decision making for the future of the service.”

One key issue he wants to focus on is mental health.

Ayotte said the service has made strides in providing mental health support systems to firefighters, but there are still improvements to be made.

“We still have a little ways to go with regard to making sure that we have the mental health resources available to our staff to get the proper help that they need, and it’ll be part of my job to push for that.”

The city conducted a nationwide search before deciding on Ayotte, according to the release.

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