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June 7, 2013
By Laura King


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June 7, 2013, Toronto – I knew I shouldn’t have looked at Twitter first thing this morning to see all the buzz around FDIC Atlantic, which starts later today in beautiful Wolfville, N.S.

June 7, 2013, Toronto – I knew I shouldn’t have looked at Twitter first thing this morning to see all the buzz around FDIC Atlantic, which starts later today in beautiful Wolfville, N.S.

I hate to miss an event in my home province, but travel schedules didn’t allow this year, and I know Fire Fighting in Canada will be solidly represented, by writers/instructors Vince MacKenzie, Ed Brouwer (and his son Casey), Mark van der Feyst and Tim Llewellyn. There’s a fair bit of excitement over two new FDIC speakers – who happen to be two of our newest writers – Ryan Pennington (the Jumpseat Views guy) and Rich Gasaway (the situational awareness guru).

I trust I will be bombarded with tweets and updates from the Acadia University campus, and that the FDIC veterans will show rookies Pennington, Gasaway, Llewellyn and the junior Brouwer plenty of fine Maritime hospitality. I’ve been assured that will be the case, and good Maritimers always live up to their billing and their promises! Enjoy. And behave!

The home page of our website generally features story after story about fires, floods and other incidents to which fire departments respond. Yesterday, there was good news in the announcement by a Toronto-area builder that it will include sprinklers and garage heat detectors in its new subdivision in Vaughan, Ont.

You can read that story here (and my blog about it here); What interested me the most yesterday was a bit of overriding uneasiness about the potential reaction by other developers to the news that Townwood Homes is adding fire-safety measures to its 136  townhomes and six duplexes.

Sean Pearce, with the Canadian Automatic Sprinkler Association, acknowledged yesterday that Townwood is taking a risk by being a trail blazer and may encounter some backlash from other builders.

As our leadership columnists Les Karpluk and Lyle Quan have said, it’s not always easy doing the right thing, and sometimes doing the right thing – rather than the popular thing – can be uncomfortable and stressful.

That said, there were dozens of fire-service leaders at yesterday’s announcement, along with politicians, community representatives and a hoard of reporters and cameramen. You can’t buy publicity like that.

One more thing: As was pointed out to me a couple of times yesterday, it’s interesting that a municipal fire department and a local developer have accomplished what provincial lawmakers have been reluctant to tackle because of pushback from builders and the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association’s (OPFFA) position on sprinklers. Don’t get me wrong, the OPFFA has said repeatedly that sprinklered homes offer added protection for residents and firefighters, but that they don’t replace a swift response by firefighters, a statement that Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs president Matt Pegg reiterated yesterday.  Essentially, the OPFFA says, it supports sprinklers but is not lobbying for them.

Still, politicians have been between a rock and a hard place on this issue, hearing the fire-safety message but reluctant to rock the boat with home builders and the union, which has strongly supported the Liberal government.

Congratulations to Townwood. It’s nice to see someone do the right thing.


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