Fire Fighting in Canada

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Comment: Knowledge equals effectiveness

Information is knowledge; knowledge is power. It's a familiar axiom and it's true, if the information is organized and presented the right way. Management seminars and workshops teach managers how to decipher information and turn it into knowledge. 

December 6, 2007
By Laura King


Topics

Information
is knowledge; knowledge is power. It's a familiar axiom and it's true,
if the information is organized and presented the right way.

Management
seminars and workshops teach managers how to decipher information and
turn it into knowledge. And that's what Fire Fighting in Canada aims to
do monthly for chiefs, officers and firefighters from coast to coast to
coast.

Like you, we're inundated with press releases, story
pitches and e-mails from around the globe. Figuring out what you – our
readers – will find interesting, entertaining and, most importantly,
useful can be challenging. It's also extremely rewarding, especially
when we hear from you that one of our columnists' series on
extrication, forcible entry or air brakes has been turned into training
material for an entire department, or that a story on leadership
described exactly the conundrum you're experiencing and helped you find
a solution.

At FFIC, we're taking the next step to turn
information into knowledge you can use in your departments. In early
December, if all goes according to plan and the technology gods are
smiling on us, we launch an interactive, vibrant and easy-to-navigate
FFIC website at www.firefightingincanada.com.

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It will feature
a digital edition of the magazine that you can flip through online,
plus a weblog – or blog – and online chat capabilities so we can all
communicate better on hot topics. That's all in addition to the usual
array of archived material, links, resources, listings, stories and
columns. It also gives us more room for more news you can use, so look
forward to web-exclusive features, columns and some cool 21st-century
technology.

We're also beefing up the paper copy of the
magazine in response to the abundance of feedback we receive from
readers. This month, we introduce Cornerstone, a monthly column by Lyle
Quan, the deputy chief in Guelph, Ont., that highlights the nuggets of
information – and therefore the knowledge – buried in the mountains of
resource material that accumulates in managers' in boxes. This month's
entry on page 30 looks at highly respected works by former U.S. naval
commander Michael Abrashoff and how his effective management methods
translate to the fire hall.

Cornerstone is the first of
several pending new features that will encourage regular reader
feedback and participation. In the coming months, we plan to launch a
feature that offers solutions to ethical dilemmas faced by chiefs and
officers, and a mentoring series for managers. In addition, we're
expanding our training section and introducing more items on
firefighter fitness.

We've also brought in some familiar writers
(all named Peter, coincidentally!): hybrid expert Pete Methner, who on
page 36 outlines the safe handling of hybrid vehicle fires; Peter
Sells, whose back-page FlashPoint column is generating loads of
feedback; and civil defence specialist Peter Knaack, who wrote for our
September anniversary issue and will be featured in future editions.

The
conversion of information into knowledge happens best when there's an
engaged readership with a sense of ownership of the issues and a
collective commitment to service and excellence. We're proud to play
our part in that equation.


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