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As I mentioned in October, we’re now the proud owners of the Firehall.com website and, with that acquisition and a refined direction, come some changes here at Canadian Firefighter and EMS Quarterly – changes we think you’ll like.

January 5, 2011
By Laura King


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As I mentioned in October, we’re now the proud owners of the Firehall.com website and, with that acquisition and a refined direction, come some changes here at Canadian Firefighter and EMS Quarterly – changes we think you’ll like.

This month we introduce Ken Sheridan, captain of fire prevention in Norfolk County, Ont. Ken’s passion for fire prevention and public education, and for changing the way the fire service protects the public, is clear in his inaugural column on here.

We all know that suppression is sexy but it’s a mere fraction of what the fire service does. If the fire service improves its public education and fire prevention strategies, then, presumably, there will be fewer fires and fewer fatalities. And that’s the goal – or at least it should be.

As Chief Tim Beckett points out in his Straight Talk column in next month’s Fire Fighting in Canada, many in the fire service still believe that those in public education and fire prevention are lesser mortals than their suppression brothers and sisters. So, it’s up to those of us who can to climb on soap boxes and shred that stereotype.

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Read Sheridan’s column in this issue – and in April, July and October – then pass it around your department or tell your crews to read the digital version at www.firefightingincanada.com (those young firefighters who think suppression is so sexy tend to like to read the online version).

So, as Sheridan and Beckett aptly point out, it’s time for change. And there’s the rub: change is constant in the fire service – or should be – but, like young children and old dogs . . . you know how it goes.

With so few working so hard for so many – the CAFC pushing for tax relief for volunteers, the OAFC on the brink of convincing the Ontario government to make sprinklers mandatory in homes for vulnerable people, the AFCA breaking new ground on recruitment and retention, the FCABC restructuring the B.C. fire service and creating a model for the rest of the country – the fire service needs more proactive champions among its leaders and chief officers and fewer of those old dogs. It’s a new year. Make a resolution to get involved and shape the future of the Canadian fire service.

• • •

Bruce Farr retires next month as Toronto’s EMS chief. In an interview with CFF writer Rosie Lombardi, Farr talked about the healthy relationship between Toronto EMS and Toronto Fire Services and noted, in particular, the teamwork at a highrise fire in September (see story in Fire Fighting in Canada, December 2010).

“We work as a team, each with its own specialty,” Farr said. “For example, in a recent highrise fire, firefighters were there to put out the fire and help the residents to safety, while EMS was right there with them to treat victims and also to treat firefighters who were affected by the heat and strain of fighting the fire.”

In April, we’ll expand on that notion in a new column by Lee Sagert, a career paramedic/firefighter with the city of Lethbridge in Alberta, where fire and EMS has been combined sine 1912. Sagert will explore the challenges of a combined fire/EMS system and offer some insight for a successful fire/EMS model.

Meantime, enjoy the interview with Farr here.


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