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April 11, 2012
By Laura King


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April 11, 2012 – A week from today is the official opening of FDIC 2012 and, for the first time, a Canadian fire officer will give the keynote address.

Steve Kraft (@chiefkraft),
the chief in Richmond Hill, Ont., has the honours, and his presentation
on leadership is widely anticipated and highly touted (I've seen it –
it's worth it, so be sure to be there for the 8:30 a.m. start!).

I will be in Indy Tuesday to Saturday – along with FFIC sales manager Catherine Connolly – and will blog, tweet, Facebook and shoot video,
so those of you unable to attend can see and hear what's going on. (Our
fearless assistant editor and social media guru, Olivia D'Orazio, will
hold the fort and make sure everything is properly posted, filed, sent,
tweeted and shared! If you're not yet on twitter – get with the program
and follow us at @fireincanada!).

There's
a big contingent from western Canada heading to Indy with Firefighters
1st/The Fire Within; I've heard from friends in eastern Canada who are
going (some for the first time); a group of 10 firefighters and officers
from Burlington, Ont., is driving down; and speakers Mark van der Feyst
from Woodstock Fire in Ontario, Peter McBride from Ottawa Fire, Cynthia
Ross Tustin from the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal, Chad Sartison
with The Fire Within, Randy Schmitz from Calgary Fire, and Chief Kraft,
promise to represent Canada (and Fire Fighting in
Canada
!) well!

Let me know if you're going. I'm told that Canada night is Wednesday at the Slippery Noodle – see you there!

Also next week, the coroner's inquest into the fire deaths at the Muskoka Heights Retirement Home in Orillia, Ont., begins.

The inquest is scheduled for six weeks and is expected to hear from 20 witnesses.

We'll bring you as much news as we can from the inquest, which is being
held in Midhurst, Ont. Follow the Midland Mirror on
Twitter – @midlandmirror – it does a great job covering local issues.

Later this month, on April 30, the trial resumes on the single remaining
charge against the Municipality of Meaford and its fire department over
injuries to two firefighters back in 2010.

You can catch up on details here . We'll be at provincial offences court in Owen Sound for part of the week to report on the trial.

Finally, a trial begins May 8 for the ice-water rescue trainer who was
on hand when Point Edward firefighter Gary Kendall died in 2010. You can
read details here , and, again, we'll bring you as much detail from the trial as we can.

In between all these news events and, of course, our Fire
Fighting in Canada
Open golf tournament on May 4, our Ladders Up for the Foundation fundraising
auction in support of the CFFF on May 5, the Ontario Association of
Fire Chiefs conference May 5-9 and several other provincial chiefs'
conferences and training weekends across the country between now and
September, we manage to put out a magazine (although sometimes it's a
challenge!).

I'm often asked how we find writers and stories. The answer is above –
being out and about at news events and conferences and meeting people
who know the fire service and have knowledge and wisdom to share.

Our recent cover stories have all been a result of networking with great people – our March story about the challenges of fighting cancer couldn't have been written without strong connections with all the fire officers involved. The April cover story about what to do when you have a fatal fire is the result of conversations with Chief Brad Bigrigg in Caledon, Ont., about what our readers want/need and how experienced chiefs can help us meet our mandate; the May cover story (in production now), on the Via derailment in Burlington, Ont., came about because of the credibility and trust developed with that municipality's chief officers. Remember the story about the Highway 401 bus crash involving firefighters from Napanee, Ont.? That incident was fresh and emotions were still raw when we published the piece, but we worked with contacts to develop a relationship with that fire department and its leaders, and provided a service to firefighters across the country through the story about lessons learned from that incident.

Yes, I'm blowing our own horn, but the point is that as conference season (as it's known in my house!) approaches, so does the opportunity to meet hundreds of fire-service personnel from across the country and find out what's going on outside of southwestern Ontario.

So, e-mail or text or tweet if you're at any of the events/conferences/activities that we'll attend over the next few months, and tell us your stories, so we can tell everyone else.

Lastly, speaking of Burlington, Ont., congratulations to Burlington Fire Chief Shayne Mintz, who becomes assistant deputy fire marshal with the OFM on May 28. There have been lots of positive comments – at least from those I've talked to – about Mintz's appointment and the decision by Fire Marshal Ted Wieclawek to bring in Mintz, who has an extensive fire-service and leadership background, to compliment the OFM team.

One final shameless plug (Is it shameless if it's for a good cause? Don't think so!) for two upcoming Fire Fighting in Canada events: our Ladders Up for the Foundation fundraiser for the CFFF on May 5, and our 2012 Career Expo on May 12. Click on the links, bid on auction items, share the expo info with colleges and high schools in your community.

OK, going to work on the magazine now . . . just six days until Indy!


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