Helping people – before, during, and after a fire
We recently interviewed one of our agents, Scott Parker, who is also a volunteer firefighter. Scott shares his experiences and thoughts about performing both his roles for NFPA Fire Prevention Week 2017 (Oct 8 – 14). Scott is always open to talking with new customers. Contact him today!
What prompted you to become a volunteer firefighter?
I’ve always wanted to be a firefighter since I was a child. I’m now at a point in my life when I can do it, now that my kids are grown up. I’m the first in my family to do it, and I find it very rewarding.
How long have you been one?
Since 2013. I underwent eight months of vigorous training from January to August, which included NFPA training, CPAT training (physical fitness), DZ training (truck driving), and HAZMAT training (hazardous materials). I’m also a Certified First Responder. I continue to go to the gym regularly because being out of shape is not an option.
Which fire department do you help with?
Puslinch Fire and Rescue Services. Puslinch is where I grew up, and where I live now, so it’s home for me. There are around 34 volunteer firefighters there. It’s great, we’re a team and we support one another.
How many fires have you been to?
Honestly, I’ve lost track. I’m on call every Wednesday and every fourth weekend. I’ve been to house fires, vehicle fires, grass fires, field fires, barn fires, emergency calls … you name it.
What’s it like going to a fire or emergency call?
You wouldn’t believe the stuff I’ve seen. It’s real life emergencies you’re dealing with. Once you’re doing it, you find out real quick if firefighting is for you or not. Fire is never a good thing. But honestly, running into a building on fire with your adrenaline pumping, maybe finding or saving someone and getting them out, or saving their property and memories, it’s awesome. You know you did what you were sent there to do.
What advice do you have for people to avoid having a fire?
Pre-plan. Look for hazards, neat and tidy is best, have a fire escape plan, and perform your due diligence to make sure your smoke and CO2 detectors are working.
Has a fire ever impacted you personally?
No, fortunately not.
What is your opinion of NFPA’s Fire Protection Week?
It’s absolutely worthwhile. Education is something you can do before a fire, but not after.
How long have you been an agent at Dumfries Mutual?
Since 2004. Prior to being an agent, I performed underwriting and loss prevention roles. But I always knew sales was for me. It fits my personality and who I am.
What’s your favourite part about being an agent?
I love people. It’s a very diverse set of clients I get to help and provide support for.
How does your passion to help people who experience a fire or other emergency carry over to your role as an agent?
I believe these two jobs go hand in hand perfectly. I’m there during and after the fire, and understand the stress involved. I know what’s coming after the fire department leaves, as far as insurance goes. In both roles, it’s very rewarding helping people when their world is upside down.
Is there anything else you want to mention?
I try to avoid my two roles over-lapping to avoid a conflict of interest. I want to be sensitive to what people are experiencing. I make it a point to know all my clients by name, even if we haven’t spoke for a long time. I pride myself on being personable and there for them. That’s not something you get from a big company or a call-centre.
Dumfries Mutual agent Scott Parker is a proud volunteer firefighter with Puslinch Fire and Rescue Services.