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Comment: May 2012

Magazine editors have a word we use a lot when we talk about content: voices.

April 20, 2012 
By Laura King

Magazine editors have a word we use a lot when we talk about content: voices.

Voices in a magazine are just like voices you hear at a community town hall or a weeknight training session at your fire hall. They are voices you listen to for a reason. At Fire Fighting in Canada, we try to amplify voices worth hearing. Our many voices – columnists, writers, and instructors – are here because they have perspectives we think are worth our readers’ time.

This month we have added three important new voices to Fire Fighting in Canada, and all three bring considerable horsepower to our existing roster.

Kevin Foster is the fire chief in Midland, Ont., first vice-president of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (he may be OAFC president by the time you read this!), and an astute observer of politics, policies and processes.


Tom Bremner is the fire chief in Salt Spring Island, B.C., and one of the most passionate advocates for change I have encountered.

And Richard Boyes is the former fire chief in my home town, Oakville, Ont., (and Sarnia, Ont., before that), a past president of the OAFC and, perhaps, the most plugged-in fire service leader in the country. (Richard is still heavily involved in the fire service through the Canadian Governmental Committee of FEMA/FEMSA).

My expectation and hope is that this trio will confront the hard realities of the fire service and provoke debate in your fire halls and among political leaders.

As Kevin takes over the leadership of the OAFC, his voice (here anyway!) will replace that of outgoing OAFC president Tim Beckett, whose Straight Talk column has been widely heralded by fire-service leaders across the country. Kevin is a long-time member of the OAFC executive and knows the challenges of funding, training, regionalization, and much more.

Tom brings an important western perspective to the magazine (although he’s a transplanted Bluenoser!). Having lived in western Canada, I know that co-operation is an important shared community value and I was not surprised that Tom kicked off his tenure with FFIC by writing about partnerships, networking and outreach.

Richard brings the point of view of a fire-service leader who was an ultimate insider and now is on the outside looking at issues from a new vantage point. Without a vested interest to protect or promote, Richard brings an unencumbered perspective to the path forward for the Canadian fire service.

It is my view that all three columns will be required reading for fire-service leaders. These three voices will tackle the complex ways that politics intersect with the jobs and goals of fire-service leaders, and offer fresh thinking about progressive leadership. Why is it important to work together? If you are municipally funded, why build federal networks?

The fire service has important issues to discuss and debate. My role is to find ways to bring balance and voice to those issues from people with experience and credibility. I am proud to welcome Kevin, Tom and Richard and I hope readers will engage with them through our website and social media forum.

After all, you have a voice, too.

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