Fire Fighting in Canada

Comment: Innovation abounds

February 24, 2023 
By Laura Aiken

In late January, the World Health Organization said the coronavirus remained a global health emergency. But, as we know from surveying our lives and workplaces, Canada is in a markedly different phase of the pandemic than it was a year ago. Coronavirus is no longer the top billing in conversation, but that has not meant a monotonous return to the way things were; life is different in significant ways, like our newfound integration of video calling and hybrid workplaces. 

In the fire service, I’ve had more chiefs and members reaching out to share innovative ideas from their departments than in any other year I recall since joining Fire Fighting in Canada. This doesn’t mean innovation wasn’t always happening, there just seems to be a remarkable enthusiasm, perhaps a Roaring 20s effect of emerging from the pandemic, that seems to have new ways of doings things on the radar. 

In this edition, we’re featuring flipping the classroom as a technique to bring to fire instruction, and a new program at Canadore college in North Bay to train emergency vehicle technicians. In the week I write this, I’m working on a story about a one-of-a-kind in-house built community risk assessment and reduction plan. We released a podcast in February with Burlington Fire Chief Karen Roche on Multi-Mini-Interviews as part of the hiring process. Fire Fighting in Canada’s role as a conduit for this exchange of ideas is one I am very proud to be part of. 

This edition also delves into peat fire fighting courtesy of Gavin Parker, an Australian acting commander, who reached out to me wanting to share techniques with our Canadian audience. Richard Hynes, a fire captain with Conception Bay South in Newfoundland and Labrador, has shared his department’s strategies for decon and cancer prevention. And of course, February features our annual Buyers Guide. There is no shortage of great content and valuable resources for you in this first issue of 2023. 


Canada’s fire service is evolving, modernizing and most certainly changing, but not in all ways. The spirit of best practice collaboration is one of the greatest aspects to witness. Please continue to reach out to me anytime to share what your departments are doing to better this essential and amazing emergency service. 

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