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Jan. 30, 2012 – Some of you have asked about the December and January issues of our magazines. We’ve switched to a new mailing system and this has caused some glitches, along with some time-of-year issues, so please bear with us. The January issue – with the amazing photo on the cover of the fire at the White Point Beach Resort in Nova Scotia – will arrive any day now!

January 30, 2012 
By Laura King

Jan. 30, 2012 – Some of you have asked about the December and January issues of our magazines. We’ve switched to a new mailing system and this has caused some glitches, along with some time-of-year issues, so please bear with us. The January issue – with the amazing photo on the cover of the fire at the White Point Beach Resort in Nova Scotia – will arrive any day now!

Interestingly, there have been some comments about December’s cover photo, of Lethbridge Platoon Chief Bill Melafont and firefighter/paramedic Randy Crow. It’s not a staged photo. It was taken – by me – at the scene of a fire in a community housing highrise in June 2009, and was used to illustrate our story on fire/EMS.

Says a lot, doesn’t it?

The cover photo of the December 2011 issue of Fire Fighting in Canada. Read the story here



It’s still January but fire-service associations across the country are prepping for spring/summer conferences.

The board of the Maritime Fire Chiefs Association met over the weekend to plan its 98th annual conference, set for July 8-12 in Gander (book your rooms now – I did so this morning and pickins’ are slim!!).

At the other end of the country, the Fire Chiefs Association of British Columbia (FCABC) has leapt feet first into the 21st century with its commitment to keep delegates up to date and informed. Promo material for the FCABC’s 2012 conference and fire expo, June 3-7 in Richmond (home of the Olympic oval), includes a link to a mobile site – – that can be updated on the fly during the conference as things change, and they always do.

“You can open up the site and add it to your home screen for easy access as a mobile app during the conference,” explains FCABC communications guru Tom DeSorcy.

The association has also created a QR code, and a promo video – which includes a lovely shot of the May 2009 issue of Fire Fighting in Canada, that was taken by Tom at the B.C. show!

“To add to all of this,” says Tom, “we are on Twitter (@bcfireexpo) and Facebook (BC Fire Expo).”

Nice work!

Speaking of trade shows, there’s a new event this year at the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs show. Wait, don’t stop reading if you're outside of Ontario!

Ladders Up for the Foundation is the brainchild of Mark Prendergast of M&L Supply. It’s a fundraiser for the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation, based on a similar event at FDIC in Indy, at which Mark was the winning bidder on a commemorative 9-11 fire helmet last year. Mark is a blue-sky, big-picture thinker who figured if they can do it in Indy, we can do it here, and, with Fire Fighting in Canada sales manager Catherine Connolly, OAFC executive director Barry Malmsten and OAFC trade-show organizer Shelley Molica, got things rolling.

A national, online auction of fire products, services and paraphernalia will proceed the May 5 event at the OAFC conference and trade show – an evening of entertainment, brotherhood/sisterhood, and fundraising.

There’ll be more info as we get closer to the date. Meantime, donations of products and services are being accepted by Mark. Contact him at or 866-445-3473.

Stark reminders in the last couple of weeks about the dire situations on some of Canada’s First Nations reserves: two people killed in a fire near Brantford, Ont. (murder charges have been laid); two children killed in a fire on a First Nation on Vancouver Island.

There’s widespread acknowledgement of problems on First Nations – do a search for Attawapiskat – and the NFPA’s Canadian manager, Sean Tracey, has written about First Nations fire issues in Fire Fighting in Canada, most recently in September 2010.

Jeremy Parkin, deputy chief with Rama Fire Rescue Service in Ontario, is among a group of First Nations fire chiefs working to improve fire fighting conditions on reserves.

As Parkin writes in a column in the February issue of Fire Fighting in Canada:

In Ontario, a 10-year average shows that the province has reduced its death rate to 8.6 per million, while First Nations are at 72.3 per million . . .

Federal funding for fire safety is severely out of date with only minimal dollars available for training, building and apparatus maintenance . . . Band councils are left to make up the difference, including firefighter wages and/or honorariums, from other sources.

Fortunately, a handful of Ontario chiefs are showing leadership on this issue and have formed the Ontario First Nations Fire Chiefs Association. The group met in November and is tackling issues including advocacy – “the need for the leaders of First Nations fire departments to have a common voice, and to be heard as a stakeholder in community safety.”

It’s a baby step, for sure. But, as Parkin says: “The goal of the Ontario First Nations fire chiefs is simple: plant the seed of safety. One day, it will provide shelter for many.”

I came across an interesting exchange on Facebook late last week.

A young man – he’s just 15 years old – in Nova Scotia operates a Facebook page on which he posts all the fire/medical calls from southwestern Nova Scotia. (Log into Facebook and search Dahl Dispatch or go to

I learned about this page after the fire at the White Point Beach Resort in Nova Scotia in November. The page, run by Evan Dahl, included dispatch details and accurate list of departments and equipment and was a great help in our reporting.

Generally, the posts include time and type of call and the departments paged or involved. Names and civic addresses are not posted, due to privacy issues, unless that information has been distributed by other media.

Over the weekend, firefighters from three departments were called to an ice-water rescue after a car plunged into a pond. A woman was killed and the male driver has been charged with impaired driving.

Correctly, and using good judgment, Evan posted only the necessary details of the calls on Facebook, but apparently got some grief from those looking for more information. In small communities in which everyone knows – or is related to – everyone else, word travels quickly enough without finding out on Facebook that a loved one has been involved in a collision or a fire, or has experienced a medical issue.

Facebook is a great communication tool for the fire service. Take a lesson from Evan Dahl – who is wise beyond his 15 years – on how to use it.

Lastly, for a Monday, not to take the wind out of my own sails, but FDNY Battalion Chief John Salka has joined the blogsphere. Welcome, John! In the spirit of fire-service sharing and safety, take some time to follow John’s blog – here’s the link:

I met John in the spring at Firefighters Speak Up in Ilderton, Ont., where he gave a lengthy and compelling talk on his experience on 9-11 that still gives me goose bumps when I think about it. You can read a transcript of his presentation in our September 2011 9-11 supplement here.

Blogs are supposed to engage readers, encourage them to think and offer their opinions. Our bloggers – Peter Sells, Jen Mabee, Tim Beebe, and me – occasionally get comments, usually nice people agreeing with what we say (well, except for Peter’s Flashpoint blog!).

My blogs about the situation in Meaford, Ont., and the trial on charges under Occupational Health and Safety legislation garnered some comments – some positive, some negative. Generally we find that readers don’t want to put their names on our website for public consumption, and comments are few and far between.

John is a popular, well-travelled, experienced fire-service leader. His inaugural blog talks about positioning a firefighter at the tip of an aerial ladder that’s being used in a defensive position. It was posted Thursday. There are already 12 comments. Sheesh!

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