Fire Fighting in Canada

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Firefighter life safety: A new initiative

A new initiative

December 14, 2007 
By Aaron Feldman

34The fire service in North America is in an uproar over the continuing numbers of preventable line-of-duty deaths that occur each year. The Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation (CFFF) has partnered with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) in the United States to promote a “Firefighter Life Safety Initiative” in an effort to reduce line-of-duty deaths and injuries throughout North America.

Recognizing the need to do more to prevent line-of-duty deaths and injuries, the two foundations have launched an initiative to bring prevention to the forefront. The following constitutes the beginning of a program that we hope will assist in this endeavour.

Focus on “fire fighting fit”: This includes regular medical examinations, a physical fitness program, monitored rehab after strenuous activity and better nutrition.

Drive with care – everyone wears a seatbelt  . . .  EVERYONE:  This includes driving at a safe speed and always being under control of the vehicle, stopping at red lights . . . STOP! All passengers have to remain seated and belted while in motion. Personnel must be protected on the roadway and the scene from other traffic.

The right fire fighting strategy – offensive or defensive?: Always conduct a size-up and evaluate risks before attacking. Do not risk a firefighter’s life to save property. Closely monitor changing conditions.

Stay together so we don’t get lost: Accountability and crew integrity are essential. Stay oriented  – always know the way out. Predict and manage your air supply. Communicate with your crew and command.

Duty and responsibility – make every day a training day so that everyone goes home.

One of the objectives of the CFFF is to promote firefighter safety. This foundation belongs to the Canadian fire service and is here to assist you any way it can. Please visit our web site at for details on the foundation and how you can support it.

Public safety is our duty.

Firefighter safety is our responsibility.

Aaron Feldman is a director and western regional representative of the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation. A retired division chief with 30 years of service with Vancouver Fire & Rescue, he served as a firefighter, company officer, training officer and as Division Chief Logistics & Safety in Vancouver retiring in 2004. A graduate of Simon Fraser University’s Executive Management Development Program, he is a certified fire service instructor and continues to instruct at the annual Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis. He may be contacted at

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