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Comment: First tools are public ed, prevention

First tools are public ed, prevention

December 7, 2007  By James Haley

The frontline defence for the fire service, and ultimately the public, is not a four-minute response time or a 1,500 gallon per minute flow of water and foam. It is fire prevention and public education. These are the keystones to protecting your community, even if they aren't the sexy ones. They are, however, non-debatable in their importance to your community and need to be a priority for you and your department.

It is not enough to put on a big public show during Fire Prevention Week in October and then revert to passive work in prevention and public education. Your programs need to be running all year long, for all aspects of your community – children at home and in school, seniors, industry,  residences and factories — everything that can be effected by fire and other disasters.
In many jurisdictions, particularly Ontario, these "frontline tools" are entrenched by legislation. You may not be required to have a fire service in your area, but the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997,  in Ontario requires your community to deliver public education programs and some components of fire prevention. So should all parts of this country.

This month we look at some innovation programs for you to examine and perhaps adapt for your community. As has been said very bluntly, the sound of a siren is the sound of failure. Let's get on board in protecting our community by preventing fires from happening as best we can. I know you're probably saying: well, we don't have the budget, personnel or resources to do this effectively. Then you'd better start developing a business plan that will, that you can present to your council, one that they won't be able to ignore.

With this edition comes a whole new look to Fire Fighting In Canada, which has served you, the Canadian fire service, for close to 50 years (we celebrate that golden anniversary in 2007). After many months of ideas and discussions we have come up with a new look, one we're confident you will enjoy.  The information hasn't changed. We're still bringing you your favourite columnists and sections, brimming with new ideas and different ways of doing your job, along with features on emergency responses and news from the regions. We've added more graphic elements and sidebars with quick tips to many of our departments, as we get in step with the more visually oriented society of today. Some of the information and departments may be in a slightly different place in the magazine, but it's all there, and with a revamped contents page, it should be easier for you to find what you are first looking for when the magazine arrives in the mail to you.


Please let me know what you like about the design.  Our simple goal is to offer you the best information about news and trends in our country's emergency services industry, in the most readable format, and we will continue to pursue that goal.

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