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July 27, 2011

I’m almost a week late congratulating Dave Rossiter on his appointment as fire marshal for Prince Edward Island.

July 27, 2011 
By Laura King

July 27, 2011

I’m almost a week late congratulating Dave Rossiter on his appointment as fire marshal for Prince Edward Island.

Word of Dave’s new post got out last week during the Maritime Fire Chiefs Association (MFCA) conference in Fredericton, and the CAFC sent a congratulatory e-mail out to its 1,000 or so members, but when we tried to find an official announcement, the P.E.I. government said it would not put out a statement for a couple of weeks in order to properly recognize the outgoing fire marshal. When the news is official, we will post it on our website. Meantime, congratulations, Dave!


The folks in Fredericton know how to run a conference! Congratulations to Chief Philip Toole, Deputy Chief Paul Murray, assistant deputy chiefs Paul Fleming and Rob Flynn, and the rest of the host committee for a fabulous four days in Fredericton for the 97th annual MFCA convention.

The MFCA conference is a bit different – it’s a regional gathering rather than a provincial association meeting and is geared more toward networking and learning than politicking or strategizing. Fredericton took that to heart with great speakers – soul-bearing firefighter Jeff Mack and animated and over-the-top psychologist David Scott were stand outs – top-notch entertainment, and a fabulous day a the Fredericton Fire Department’s Two Nations Crossing, Station 2, training centre. You can see photos from all four days in our photo gallery here. (For those anxiously awaiting video, it will take a little while to get the clips from the conference edited and posted!)

Sunday evening’s memorial service in historic Christ Church Cathedral was a highlight – despite the sweltering heat – and Tuesday night’s dinner theatre, I’m told (I missed it in favour of a working supper!), was superb, with, um, enthusiastic audience participation!

The MFCA marked my third trip to the east coast in two months – FDIC Atlantic in June, the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Fire Services conference in July, and the MFCA. I’ll be back in god’s country – on vacation! – next week.

After much discussion and debate, the 2010 MFCA conference, the 98th, will be in Gander in early July. And in 2013, Summerside, P.E.I., resumes hosting duties; my first MFCA conference, in 2007, was in Summerside and still stands out for the remarkable seafood feast featuring mussels and oysters on ice!

The 100th MFCA conference, in 2014, is up for grabs. The MFCA will launch a bidding process and competition is expected to be fierce!

I missed the 15th annual Firefighter Games in New Waterford, N.S., on Saturday due to family commitments (putting in the wharf and hosting relatives from away!). The competition is sponsored by the New Waterford, Scotchtown, and New Victoria Volunteer Fire Departments and is a must-see during New Waterford and Area Coal Dust Days every summer. To the firefighters (you know who you are!) from New Waterford and Scotchtown who were at the MFCA – send photos!

Speaking of Gander, we’re working this week on our September issue of Fire Fighting in Canada, a commemorative issue recognizing the 10th anniversary of 9-11, so it was fitting yesterday to hear that the Bethpage Fire Department in New York is donating a piece of steel from the World Trade Centre to the Town of Gander, which hosted hundreds of stranded passengers after air traffic was grounded on Sept. 11, 2001.

While I was in Gander in June I interviewed Brian Hicks, manager of safety and airside operations (fire chief) at Gander International Airport. Hicks was a firefighter in 2001 and we’ll feature his story in our September issue. Meantime, here’s the story about the piece of steel.

Lastly, if you haven’t already read the cover story in our July issue of Canadian Firefighter and EMS Quarterly, grab a coffee or a Coke and take a few minutes to experience the emotional roller coaster that Jamie Coutts, chief of the Lesser Slave Regional Fire Service, endured in mid-May as wildfire consumed his town. As firefighters across Canada struggle with summer wildfires, Coutts’ story brings some unique perspective to the job of wildland fire fighting. Stay safe!

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