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Comment: May 2014

We try, here at Fire Fighting in Canada, to offer readers stories that reflect the diversity and expertise of fire departments from coast to coast.

April 24, 2014  By Laura King

We try, here at Fire Fighting in Canada, to offer readers stories that reflect the diversity and expertise of fire departments from coast to coast.

So when crews from Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Services responded to a call for a potential radiation leak on March 13, I immediately (after learning that the incident was, in fact, a scare and not a leak) wondered about the best way to get the details.

Having connected years ago with John Giggey, a former Canadian Press reporter and retired volunteer captain with Halifax Regional who works part-time for the department’s public affairs division, I figured there was a good chance he could help. Before I got back from the CAFC’s government relations week in Ottawa, John contacted me, keen to provide the detail that only an insider could.

Then there was the issue of photos. Canadian Press photographer Andrew Vaughan was at the scene but it was dark, he was shooting from behind barriers, and, like most news photographers, he shoots at a lower resolution than we need for the cover of Fire Fighting in Canada. (I like to think that news and freelance photographers at emergency scenes think, “I bet Laura would love this for the cover of the magazine so I should shoot vertically and at 300 dpi.” No such luck!)


Days of chasing potential photos proved fruitless, and because the call happened at night, in a restricted area, the usual citizen-journalist snapshots were not available.

Regardless, we managed to get some great photos from Halifax Regional to go with John’s story. And our cover – which makes it clear that the story is about the response to a threat rather than an actual leak – certainly grabs readers’ attention.


We’re excited to welcome a handful of new writers who, I am certain, will shake things up. Dave Balding, the fire chief in Fraser Lake, B.C., joins us with his Firelines column on page 62. It took me a while to coax Dave into writing but the promise of fame and fortune won him over.

Doug Tennant, the chief in Deep River, Ont., launches his LeaderBoard column on page 46. Doug had written for the magazine years ago and slyly sent me a note at the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs mid-term meeting in Niagara Falls in November offering up his insight on mentoring which was, given Doug’s background and his generous and pleasant manner, impossible to pass up.

Shayne Mintz, the new Canadian regional director for the NFPA, offers up his first NFPA Impact column on page 52. Lastly, we re-launch our Well Being column on health and wellness – which will be guest written by many authors – on page 78, with an entertaining tale by Cobourg, Ont., Chief Mike Vilneff who has learned never to say anything out loud at a chiefs conference that he doesn’t want in the pages of Fire Fighting in Canada!

Our regular columnists return next month.

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