Fire Fighting in Canada

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Comment By Haley: May 2005

From time to time we hear of fire officers or chiefs resigning their positions because of conflict within their department or with municipal administrators. Many times these decisions, often rash, are the result of change management and municipal restructuring instigated by the desire to operate a more efficient municipality.

December 17, 2007
By Jim Haley

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Penning a resignation letter in anger or frustration is never a good idea. It rarely may be taken back once delivered and may be the wrong response to a frustrating situation. From time to time we hear of fire officers or chiefs haleymugnew_5131resigning their positions because of conflict within their department or with municipal administrators. Many times these decisions, often rash, are the result of change management and municipal restructuring instigated by the desire to operate a more efficient municipality. The difficulty may come when the departments affected are not consulted, not given a chance to understand the reasoning behind the decisions.

Before one takes such a drastic step such as resigning, consider the consequences first. Talk over the issues with your peers, with people whose opinions you respect before making ultimatums. By all means, stand on your principles, but make an informed decision first. There are no “do-overs.”

Municipal administrators must also pay attention to the advice and experience of their department heads and work to earn their respect. If everyone is privy to the same information, chances are good that all will come to similar conclusions and it may avoid resentment, regretful resignations and, ultimately, the loss of experience. Communities cannot afford to lose such experience.

We are all individuals and cannot be expected to agree with each other on everything. But by listening and working to understand each other’s point of view, we may be able to avoid drastic measures and continue to serve our communities in the best, most efficient way possible.

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We mourn the deaths of two Yellowknife fire fighters, lost in the line of duty in March. Lieut. Cecil Fyfe and Firefighter Kevin Olson will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, brothers.

Yours in fire service safety and education,

Jim Haley


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