Fire Fighting in Canada

Hundreds attend B.C. expo/summit

July 16, 2019
By Jayson Koblun
Frank Viscuso, an author, speaker and career deputy chief, was keynote speaker at an education summit hosted by the Fire Chiefs’ Association of British Columbia.

More than 300 fire chiefs, chief officers, emergency vehicle technicians and firefighters from across the province came to this year’s B.C. Fire Expo at the Trade and Convention Centre in Penticton.

Chiefs and other key decision-makers in the industry browsed the massive trade show floor of the Expo that was on from June 3 to 4.

Most chiefs also stayed for an education summit hosted by the Fire Chiefs’ Association of British Columbia (FCABC) from June 4 to 6.

The show floor featured more than 150 displays.


The outside parking lot was filled with dozens of the newest fire trucks, apparatus and emergency-service vehicles for potential customers to consider or simply for anybody to get a good look at the latest tech and features of new trucks.

Hope B.C. Fire Chief Tom DeSorcy was in the parking lot with the new fire-service vehicle his department received late last year and said he was thrilled with the new truck.

“This truck has everything,” he said, “lights all over the place, storage, and when the siren is turned on – man it’s loud.”

DeSorcy decided to not showcase just how loud the sirens were to save those at the event from a scare.

Most chiefs stayed behind once the Expo ended and sat in on several sessions hosted by the FCABC for the education summit portion of the show.

Keynote speaker was Frank Viscuso – an author, speaker and career deputy chief.

Viscuso spoke on stepping up to lead, sharing the secrets of effective fire-service leadership, introducing the traits and skills essential for successful fire-service leaders, and discussing the importance of customer service.

Other topics coverered at the conference were conversations on:

  • wildfires
  • body language
  • surviving the career
  • time mastery and accountability, and
  • several others

Joy and Marty Playford hosted a session titled, Leading with Time Mastery and Accountability.

They spoke on how to help firefighters make the best use of their time and they also allotted time for the chiefs in the room to talk amongst themselves in mini break-out sessions.

“We want you all to get involved now and participate,” Joy said at the session. “Take a few minutes now and talk amongst yourselves and come up with some of the biggest challenges you face when it comes to managing your department’s time.”

The groups shared their lists of concerns and challenges with others in the room and the Playfords took some additional time to address the concerns and offer some of their own advice.

Laura King, who is NFPA Canadian public-education representative, shared on community risk and why community risk is important for departments to have a handle on.

Also, just in time for the Expo, the NFPA announced the new campaign for this year’s Fire Prevention Week titled, Not every hero wears a cape: Plan and practice your escape.

King sat down with DeSorcy, who is also the host of Fire Fighting in Canada: The Podcast, and the two recorded the latest episode which launched online at on July 2.

DeSorcy and King discussed what’s new this year, some background and history on the campaign, and offered valuable resources departments can use as they prepare for Fire Prevention Week, which runs Oct. 6 to 12.

The FCABC’s annual general meeting also took place at the Expo, and there was a themed beach-party event in the ballroom.

The 2020 B.C. Fire Expo will be held in Vernon, B.C., from June 7 to 11.

For more information on next year’s show visit

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