Fire Fighting in Canada

Meet our editorial advisory board


Meet our editorial advisory board
The 13 members of our editorial advisory board include officers and industry experts who guide us on content and issues that touch the fire service.

February 25, 2009 
By Fire Fighting in Canada

eab-tremblay-fire Richard Boyes
Chief, Oakville Fire Department

Chief Boyes began his fire service career with the Alliston Fire Department in Onatrio, moving up through the ranks to become chief. When an opportunity arose he accepted a position with the Office of the Fire Marshal as a fire service advisor. In 2005, he moved to the Oakville Fire Department, which has a career staff of 211 operating from seven fire stations providing fire/rescue services to the 172,000 residents of the Town of Oakville. Boyes is a graduate of the Ontario Fire College and has attended emergency planning courses in Canada and the U.S. Boyes is president of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs.

eab-tremblay-fire Brian Cornforth
Chief, Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services

Brian Cornforth brings a variety of fire and ambulance experience gained from 24 years of emergency work in Jasper, Coaldale, Airdrie and Lethbridge, Alta. Starting as a volunteer, he moved through the ranks into the position of chief of fire and emergency services with the City of Lethbridge. His key focus is developing and supporting all members of the fire service as well as demonstrating his passion for life safety as a dedicated community spokesperson and leader. Cornforth is the firstt  vice president for the Alberta Fire Chiefs Association.

eab-tremblay-fire Tom DeSorcy
Chief, District of Hope Fire Department

Tom DeSorcy became the first paid firefighter in his hometown of Hope, B.C., when he became fire chief in 2000. Originally a radio broadcaster, Tom’s voice could be heard in the early 1990s across Canada as one of the hosts of Country Coast to Coast. DeSorcy is married with two children, aged 27 and 19, and enjoys curling and golf. He is also very active with the Fire Chiefs’ Association of B.C., and chairs the communications and conference committees.

eab-hodgins David Hodgins
Managing director, Alberta Emergency Management Agency

David Hodgins is is a former assistant deputy minister and fire commissioner for British Columbia. A 30-year veteran of the fire service, he is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s public administration program and a certified emergency and disaster manager.

 Len Garis
Chief, Surrey Fire Service

Len Garis has served as the fire chief for the City of Surrey since 2001. Dating back to 1982, Garis has completed more than 30 courses and programs through organizations including the Justice Institute of B.C., Office of the Fire Commissioner, RCMP, University of B.C. and the Canadian Emergency Preparedness College. He frequently shares his expertise through written reports and presentations, by serving in an advisory capacity and by providing expert testimony in the courts. On his own time, he volunteered for the Maple Ridge Crystal Meth Task Force, which earned a Community Safety & Crime Prevention Award from the solicitor general in September 2005.

 Cammie Laird
Regional Fire Chief, Clearwater Regional Fire Rescue services

Cammie Laird’s career in fire service began in 1982 when she took a summer job presenting fire prevention programs and washing trucks. In 1984, she moved to Mulhurst Bay with her husband, Scott. There she joined the local service and became the department’s training and prevention officer. In 2003, Laird became the regional fire chief for Clearwater Regional Rescue Services, managing five stations serving three communities. She enjoys a happy and very active lifestyle with her husband and two children, both of whom are grown and live on their own.

 Robert Simonds
Chief, St. John, New Brunswick

Rob Simonds is the fire chief in Saint John and is presently first vice president of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, president of the New Brunswick Association of Fire Chiefs and a past president of the Maritime Fire Chiefs Association. As a 29-year veteran of the fire service, Simonds earned a masters degree in leadership and training from Royal Roads University, a chief fire officers professional designation from the CAFC and has completed advanced incident command training at the United States National Fire Academy and special operations training at Texas A & M University.  

 Sean A. Tracey
Regional manager, NFPA

In 2000, Sean Tracey became the first regional manager in Canada for the National Fire Protection Association. He is a past director of the Canadian Council of Fire Marshals and Fire Commissioners. In November 2005 he was appointed the chair of the Canadian Centre for Emergency Preparedness. Tracey is a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada with a civil engineering degree. He is a certified professional engineer in Ontario.

 Serge Tremblay
Director, Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal

In 1978 Serge Tremblay began his fire fighting career working for the municipality of James Bay. A year later, he was hired as a professional firefighter by ville St-Laurent, where he remained until 1985. He then joined le Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal, where he worked for nine years as a professional firefighter while attending university and upgrading his fire fighting skills. From 1994 to 2004, he was director for the Pierrefonds and Laval fire departments and assistant director for Montreal. In 2004, he was promoted to director of the service des incendies de Montréal.

 Bernard Turpin

Bernard Turpin is an administrative chief with Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency. He started his career as a volunteer with Blandford fire in 1972. In 1986 he became the fire service research and development officer for Halifax County Municipality and later took on emergency measures duties. Turpin is a graduate of the fire service administration program at Dalhousie University and a former instructor in the fire service leadership program. He was elected president of the Maritime Fire Chiefs Association in 2008.

 Neville Wheaton
Chief, Corner Brook Fire Department

Neville Wheaton began his career in fire service in 1983 when he joined the Bedford Fire Department in Nova Scotia. He advanced quickly through the ranks, accepting the position of chief in 1991. In 1996, he became chief of the Iqaluit Fire Department, where he remained until accepting the position of chief of the Corner Brook department in 2001.

 Randy Vilneff
Training officer, Marmora & Lakes Fire Department

Randy Vilneff has dedicated more than 30 years as a volunteer firefighter with the Marmora & Lake Fire Department, 15 of them as the department’s training officer. Vilneff is also a part- time fire fighting equipment sales representative, and Fit tester. He is married with two children.

 Bruce Whitehouse
President, WHITING Canada

While not born into the fire service, it has been my pleasure and privilege to work with various members of the Canadian fire services. As president of Burlington, Ont., based WHITING Group of Canada, which includes AMDOR – the Canadian manufacturer of roll-up doors and specialty lighting systems for fire apparatus – I have had an opportunity to better understand some of the technologies available. Continuing participation in the FAMA/FEMSA Canadian governmental committee has given me a chance to help raise awareness of the need for significantly increased funding from all levels of government. I believe that we must work together – the fire service, industry and all levels of government – to ensure that apparatus, equipment and training meet current standards. 



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