Flin Flon’s new fire chief aims to bring lessons he’s learned elsewhere in the north to his new position.
Jason Kuras was officially named chief of the Flin Flon Fire Department earlier this month.
“It’s finally starting to soak in here. I had a few days there when I had to stop and think, ‘This is real,’” he said.
Kuras grew up in Wadena, Sask., and has been working in Thompson as a firefighter-paramedic for the past nine years. Beginning his career as a volunteer firefighter in his hometown, Kuras went to the Manitoba Emergency Services College in 2006 and left the program as a fully accredited paramedic.
With the Thompson department, Kuras served as one of four captains within the ranks.
The stars aligned just right for Kuras to come to Flin Flon. It only took a day after the previous fire chief Chad Cooper left before Kuras was alerted to the vacant spot by friends. Kuras’ fiancée works at Flin Flon General Hospital, meaning the new job would bring a reunion of sorts.
“A couple friends of mine told me about it and the hospital staff,” he said.
“She’s been there for years. As soon as the rumour mill got going, I got texts from people saying, ‘You better get your ass down here.’”
Kuras has been spending much of the previous weeks moving from Thompson to Flin Flon. He had a chance to tour his new facility and speak with some of his new coworkers during a visit earlier this month.
“I’m looking forward to meeting everybody. I’ve known a bunch of people through the curling tournament for firefighters in the north.”
“I’ve met some of the guys before just from curling against them. I know they’re really good people. Everybody is really close and they’re good people to work with.”
Coming to Flin Flon from another northern locale will be an asset, said Kuras, though some things are the same with firefighting almost anywhere.
“When it comes to a fire in a northern community or any place where you get minus-40 temperatures, it’s going to affect things a whole lot differently,” he said.
“Fire is fire – it’s not going to change a whole lot there, but equipment doesn’t respond as well as it does at plus-20. For personnel, it gets cold. We get cold. Things like that are always a challenge.”
An example of northern firefighting challenges came during the fire at the Interior Inn in Thompson in January 2018.
“That was a four day event,” he said.
“It’s hard to operate equipment for that long without breaking down and having issues. It’s been a really good experience for me, to see that and to see where we could possibly avoid some of those issues and move forward as a department in a similar situation as Thompson.”
Kuras started as the department’s new chief Oct. 15.
As chief, Kuras said he plans to put in the work to help Flin Flonners when they need it most.
“I’m going to do my absolute best to serve the citizens of Flin Flon and the department. I’ll try to do as much good as I can and hope that I can maintain the excellent performance they’ve come to expect from the department.”