Fire Fighting in Canada

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Comment by Haley: August 2005

Part of the success of public education and fire prevention programs can be in public-private partnerships and we have two excellent examples this issue. In Kawartha Lakes, Ont., we learn of a resort operator who doesn't cringe when he sees the local fire inspector but instead welcomes them, believing fire safety is good for his business.

December 19, 2007
By Jim Haley

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jimhaleyFirst and foremost, we mourn the loss of Firefighter James Ratcliffe of the Hudson (Que.) Fire Department, who died of injuries in June, sustained while part of a water rescue training exercise. He was only 20 but a bright, dedicated volunteer fire fighter, well liked by his fellow fire fighters and one who was also attending university on scholarship. Such sadness is involved whenever we lose a brother or a sister fire fighter, but for one so young, who has such tremendous potential as James, it seems even more of a tragedy, especially for the members of his tight-knit department and community. A memorial article can be found on page 22.

Part of the success of public education and fire prevention programs can be in public-private partnerships and we have two excellent examples this issue. In Kawartha Lakes, Ont., we learn of a resort operator who doesn't cringe when he sees the local fire inspector but instead welcomes them, believing fire safety is good for his business. "My business only runs for four months a year and I can't afford to miss a season." His resort, Devil's Elbow, not only meets the requirements of section 9.2 of the Ontario Fire Code but he also went above and beyond to install a full sprinkler system and extended a line from the resort's water supply to a new hydrant for a nearby residential area. Talk about your co-operation!

Now the department is using the resort for an annual "Come Ski With Sparky" day during March Break, to promote fire and life safety issues. Well done, people!

In a follow-up to an article that ran a year ago, Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis assures us the model fire truck resource centre his fire fighters built for a local library is enhancing the spread of fire and life safety information. Staff at the library were able to quantify its importance in getting the fire safety message out by comparing circulation statistics from year to year. Not only does it appear to work, it has been proven to work. This is an example of an excellent follow-up project that other departments could adapt to prove to others that their pub-ed programs are working. It just takes a little of that "looking outside the box" thinking.

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Many small and medium-sized fire departments rely on community fundraising to keep their equipment up to date or to add new equipment to better serve their communities. But fundraising without proper homework and approvals from municipal councils can land fire fighters and their associations in legal trouble. Our legal columnist Spence Sample makes a case in this edition to "proceed with caution," and outlines why. It's an interesting perspective on this common fire department activity, and should be required reading for any fundraising committee in the planning stages.

Yours in fire service safety and education,


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