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Comment: November 2012

Several weeks ago I put out a plea on Twitter and LinkedIn for new writers, new faces, new voices.

November 1, 2012 
By Laura King

Several weeks ago I put out a plea on Twitter and LinkedIn for new writers, new faces, new voices. Our stable of columnists and writers is full of insightful, progressive, focused and incredibly dedicated firefighters and chief officers but as with the fire service, change is good. Right?

Don’t worry, we’re keeping the writers and columnists we have – some have come on board recently and some are wily veterans who have figured out how to skirt my deadlines! – but I knew there were others out there with lots to contribute.

The goal was to better serve the almost 90,000 volunteer firefighters across Canada who make up the bulk of the fire service. How could we provide more tools for volunteer fire departments? Who was developing techniques to help volunteer departments better do their jobs with often limited resources?

Enter Neil Campbell and Ian Bolton, both, coincidentally, from British Columbia.


Campbell is the training officer for Kamloops Fire Rescue and offered up a piece on exterior fire fighting using positive-pressure attack. We’ve written about positive-pressure attack before, but not in the context that Campbell and PPA guru Kriss Garcia have recently embraced.

As Campbell writes on page 26, positive-pressure attack can be a terrific tool for volunteer departments that face manpower shortages at fire scenes. I won’t give away all the details – Campbell’s story is a great read with lots of explanation and a video that supplements the story is on our website – but after reading the piece and seeing the time and energy Campbell put into making the videos that accompany his training, I see he is dedicated to and passionate about helping the fire service help itself.

Ian Bolton is a firefighter with the District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue and the resident expert – perhaps the national expert! – on compartment fire behaviour training, or CFBT.

As with Campbell’s research on positive-pressure attack, Bolton’s incredible library of information on CFBT is aimed at volunteer departments that may not have access to burn towers.

What’s more, Bolton and others who are passionate about CFBT believe this kind of training can eliminate firefighter deaths.

“Imparting in-depth knowledge to firefighters by bringing the science to the street is the ultimate goal of any CFBT program,” Bolton explains in our story on page 54.

“Through classroom lectures, videos and studies, small-scale fire behaviour props and carefully controlled live fire training, firefighters are given the knowledge and skills needed to keep them safe on an increasingly dangerous fire ground. CFBT teaches firefighters not just how, but why.”

That’s just the tip of the editorial iceberg – we’ve got more new writers, more great training techniques and more hard-hitting insight and opinion on fire-service issues coming in the next few months.

Meantime, enjoy our new voices, their fresh perspectives and their enthusiasm for firefighter safety. While you’re at it, check out our apparatus showcase starting on page 67 – it’s a truck junkie’s heaven full of aerials, pumpers and rescues with some cool new toys thrown in. Enjoy!

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