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Good from near tragedy


May 25, 2010
By Laura King


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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Interesting couple of days last week at the Ottawa FIRE (Firefighting, Instruction, Research, Engineering) Symposium.

The impressive, week-long affair featured world-renowned speakers and incredible science-of-fire workshops put on the by National Research Council.

The symposium, pulled together mostly by union muscle and the passion that grew out of a near tragedy, is a direct result of the Workers’ Report on the Forward Avenue fire in Ottawa on Feb. 12, 2007.

To
quote the dedication at the beginning of the lengthy report: “In the early
afternoon of Feb.
12, 2007
, the members of No. 11 Station, D
Platoon, were called to 187 Forward Ave. for a report of a fire. Within nine
minutes of their arrival on scene, five members of 11 D would be fighting for
their lives in the performance of their duties. This report is dedicated to
ensuring that the injuries and suffering incurred by these five members and
that the lessons learned were not in vain.”

I
was fortunate enough to take in a couple of presentations last Tuesday and a
bit of the reception Tuesday evening at which the five
Ottawa
firefighters injured at
Forward
Avenue
were honoured. Everything
was first class and organizers (many of whom are named Peter – Peter McBride,
Peter Hunt) should be proud.

Incidentally,
Fire Engineering editor Bobby Halton,
who facilitated a forum titled Influencing Thoughts and Behaviours in the Fire
Service, and who you’ll recall spoke a couple of months ago at the Firefighters
Speak Up event in Ilderton, Ont. (and who I ran into a couple of times at FDIC in
Indianapolis in April), is convinced we’re stalking him but, frankly, I think
it’s the other way around!


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