Flashpoint: February 2013
In my blog at www.firefightingincanada.com in January, in which I explored some issues brought up by the line-of-duty deaths in Webster, N.Y., on Christmas Eve, I noted that I wasn’t aware of any shooting incidents involving Canadian firefighters, but the murder of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, Alta., in March 2005 should serve to show that uniformed responders can be targets in this country as well as in the United States.
Flash Point - December 2012
Somewhere between 72 hours and 72,000 years, there is a lesson to be learned.
In his From the Floor blog at www.firefightingincanada.com on Nov. 5, Jay Shaw questioned whether the emphasis on 72-hour preparedness for disaster recovery is appropriate, given the protracted timelines in the response to victims of Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, and the floods in recent years in Manitoba and Quebec.
Saugeen Shores, Ont. – In 2009, the municipality of Saugeen Shores on Lake Huron was named a host municipality to the Bruce Power nuclear generating station.
Comment - December 2012
We didn’t plan to focus on emergency preparedness in this issue but a confluence of events made the topic an obvious choice.
Flashpoint: November 2012
I shuddered when I read about this, but first impressions can be deceiving:
Guest column: November 2012
City managers and chief administration officers have sounded the alarm once again to do more with less
Flashpoint: September 2012
An important legal case, perhaps even a landmark case for the Canadian fire service, was concluded in August, almost three years after two Meaford, Ont., firefighters narrowly escaped with their lives after a mayday was called at a restaurant fire in September 2009.
Industrial Outlook: September 2012
The concept of unified command within an incident-management system is often misunderstood during major emergencies or disasters
Flashpoint: June 2012
I’ll take Public Safety Canada for $3 million, Alex.”
Spontaneous Combustion: May 2012
Upsala duty officer, call dispatch.”
Fully Engaged: April 2012
I’ve been writing for this publication for more than a year now and my focus has been to get firefighters
Comment: February 2012
Sometimes, things just go wrong.
Spontaneous Combustion: January 2012
We’re lost, aren’t we Frank.” Frank peered through the trees, then studied his compass.
Fully Engaged: January 2012
Another new year is upon us. I’ve always liked this time of the year, if only for the sense of new beginning – a new page, a fresh start.
Truck Tech: November 2011
So, fall is upon us, hockey is on TV and, WAIT . . . wrong magazine.
Flashpoint: November 2011
I was giving a demonstration of the Toronto Fire Academy’s then-new propane-fuelled burn house to a group of fire buffs from Buffalo, N.Y. I placed my helmet and gloves on the ground against a wall and went inside to set the controls.
Spontaneous Combustion: October 2011
"Hi there,” I said, pressing the cell phone to my ear to drown out traffic. “I’m at the airport. Can I get a ride to the hotel?”
Fully Engaged: October 2011
Do you ever have the feeling that someone is watching you? Abnormal paranoia aside, we all probably do.
Flashpoint: September 2011
Elsewhere in this issue of Fire Fighting in Canada there are very good pieces, written by very smart people, about the changes, or lack thereof, to the fire service in Canada in the 10 years since 9-11. I want to talk about what hasn’t changed.
Well-being: September 2011
On Sept. 11, 2001, 343 FDNY firefighters gave their lives in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.
The status of preparedness
It can be said that we learn the most from past tragedies. Sept. 11, 2001, will be forever remembered as a lesson in how vulnerable we were as a society and as first responders. Did we learn anything from that tragedy and are we better prepared today than we were 10 years ago?
Spontaneous Combustion: July 2011
My pager hissed and crackled, then went silent. That was helpful, I thought, as I pulled on my boots and headed for the fire hall.
Flashpoint: June 2011
It’s been quite a few weeks for news: the new Conservative majority government; the killing of Osama bin Laden; and record flooding around the Assiniboine, Richelieu and Mississippi rivers. Time will tell if the new government comes through with the tax credit for volunteer firefighters that was in its pre-election budget. With the tenth anniversary of 9-11 coming up, time will also tell if the death of bin Laden makes the world a safer place. What time will tell us about the floods largely depends on how we view time.
Well-Being: June 2011
When you choose a career, you must be aware of potential risks associated with the profession. Firefighters are more likely than the general population to develop certain cancers – a risk we all accepted when we became firefighters.
Fully Engaged: April 2011
The fire service is extraordinarily different than it was not too long ago. Through common sense, legislation and technical advancements, fighting fires today has become more of an art than hope-for-the-best approach.
Fully Engaged: January 2011
I’ve never been more excited for the fire service than I am now. There’s no question that we face tough economic times; however, I can’t remember a time when we didn’t.
Fire safety website targets tough-to-reach age group
On Halloween night in 2008, fire destroyed an off-campus house near Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., that was home to five students. The home had working smoke detectors and all five students in the home escaped uninjured. Still, the fire was a wake up call for fire prevention experts in the region
The public education conundrum
Remember in the ’90s when our economy was just coming out of a slow period, and big corporations were starting to create huge profits again? That’s the first time I remember mission statements being part of the corporate identity of major corporations.
Minimizing risks for ourselves and others
Fire fighting has always been about doing everything in our power to help the public (our customers) deal with whatever crisis confronts them on any given day. So much so, in fact, that we often neglect our own safety in the process.
Guest Column: Disabled registry will save lives
Firefighters responding to a structure fire face many unknowns and variables. Add disabled individuals with special needs to the mix and it creates a potential recipe for disaster.
Better public education: Three P.E.I. departments deliver effective prevention message
Fire prevention education is an important priority for all fire departments. But when it comes to educational efforts, larger departments have more people and resources available to do the job than their smaller counterparts.
Pre-plan thwarts disaster: N.B. flood management focuses on local responders
Oromocto, N.B. – Finding water to use for firefighting operations can often be a challenge for fire departments. But, on occasion, firefighters find they have more than they need. Flooding along the St. John River in New Brunswick is an annual spring occurrence but rarely causes any significant damage. Such was not the case this year, when heavy rains and warm temperatures all combined with a heavier-than-normal snowfall to cause the worst flooding since 1973.
Cracking down: Software helps communities locate grow ops and reduces threat to public safety
It was a classic case of: “Be careful what you wish for.” In 2006, the City of Surrey in B. C. successfully lobbied the provincial government to provide legislation giving cities access to hydro consumption data to help them identify potential marijuana grow operations.
Flashpoint: Sprinkler misinformation hurting cause for safety
You know what bugs me? Urban myths. I hate it when inaccurate, misleading or downright wrong information is perpetuated by the media, the entertainment industry or just spread through the grapevine. Sometimes it is just a pet peeve or an annoyance but it can be a big deal when the public gets bad information about an issue that is needlessly costing the lives of dozens of Canadians each year.
Between Alarms: Risk management requires thought
Two recent events got me thinking about our occupation. The first was a letter to an editor of a local paper that caused a bit of an uproar between emergency responders, and the second event was a TV show about firefighters.
The residential fire safety problem
The recent house fire in West Lincoln, Ont., that resulted in the deaths of a mother and her seven children is an unfortunate example of the failure of our fire prevention programs in Canada. We have made great strides in public education and the installation of smoke alarms, but it has not been enough. We continue to have losses of life due to fire.
Getting the message out
Customer service backpack program ensures consistency of message by fire fighters in providing information to citizens
Sparky hits the ice
An innovative partnership for fire prevention and public education is paying off for this fire department in Ontario. The City of Kawartha Lakes Fire and Rescue Service had created a partnership with retired NHL defensive player Jeff Beukeboom and East Side Mario’s restaurant in Lindsay.
Smoke alarms: evaluating effectiveness
Do they really prevent fire deaths? Current research is challenging our beliefs.
New challenges: Responding today, planning for tomorrow
Fire suppression has always been an art rather than a science. There are so many variables to contend with at the scene, that successfully dousing the flames has always been a blend of practical knowledge, hard work, courage, and plain good luck.