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From the Editor: April 2014

One of the perks of this job is the travel to conferences and trade shows across the country that allows me to visit towns and cities and get to know firefighters and fire officers from coast to coast to coast.

March 26, 2014
By Laura King


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One of the perks of this job is the travel to conferences and trade shows across the country that allows me to visit towns and cities and get to know firefighters and fire officers from coast to coast to coast.

Although I prepare for each conference – setting up meetings with columnists, planning fire-department visits, stalking potential writers (kidding – well, not really!) – networking is, by far, the most productive part of these trips.

Talking to as many delegates as possible and handing out business cards so people can call or e-mail to tell me about their incidents or their department’s promotions or public education ideas pays big dividends for us and for our readers.

So I was thrilled last July when I was approached at the Maritime Fire Chiefs Association conference in Summerside by North Shore Fire Chief Bob Morrison, who asked if I’d be interested in a story about the fire – and the response to it – at the Stanhope Beach Resort in April 2013. You bet I would.

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We sat down later and Chief Morrison talked for more than 50 minutes about the fire that destroyed the P.E.I. landmark and the textbook response to it – how a mutual-aid water-shuttle practice with Charlottetown a couple of months earlier paid off, how well chief officers from neighbouring departments managed their sectors.

When I listened to and transcribed the interview a while later, I knew it made far more sense to have Chief Morrison tell the story in his words than for me to try write it – I couldn’t possibly do it justice. You can read Chief Morrison’s story on page 8.

* * *

Like the fire service, our magazine must constantly evolve so that we keep up with trends and our content doesn’t become stale. Our challenge is to be current and relevant and bring great stories, issues and opinions – whether you agree with them or not – to our readers.

Which is why I’m thrilled to have Winnipeg firefighter and disaster-management guru Jay Shaw grace the back page this month. (Our usual back-page anchor, Jennifer Mabee, returns soon after a brief hiatus.)

Shaw has been writing his From the Floor blog on our websites (firefightingincanada.com and firehall.com) for a few months now, after receiving the blessing of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service to resume his musings.

Jay knows a lot about . . . a lot. And he’d be the first to tell you that, well, he likes to tell you what he knows.

You may not always agree with Jay. I don’t always agree with Jay, but I do make sure his ideas have merit. We’ve all been told countless times to think outside of the proverbial box; Jay has mastered that art.

I’ve met Jay just once (although we talk often by phone or email) – in Winnipeg years ago during the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs conference. I took some time out of the conference and took Jay for lunch. He was mildly – understatement of the year! – distracted by an industrial fire that we could see in the distance, the changing colour of the smoke, the possible location, but his passion for knowledge and learning was clear.

You will enjoy Jay’s perspective from the floor.  


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