Nov. 23, 2017, Oxford House First Nation, Man. - Three teens are facing a series of charges including attempted murder in connection with a house fire last month in Oxford House First Nation, Manitoba RCMP say. CBC News reports. | READ MORE
Nov. 23, 2017, Ailsa Craig, Ont. - Middlesex County OPP say one person has died after a house fire north of the Village of Ailsa Craig. Police and fire crews responded to the blaze on Wednesday at 4:30 a.m. CTV News reports. | READ MORE
Nov. 22, 2017, Toronto - Ontario's Ministry of Labour plans to amend its fair workplaces legislation after municipalities argued it would bankrupt their volunteer fire departments. As it is now written, Bill 148 — the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act — would require municipalities to pay volunteer firefighters the same as their full-time counterparts. CBC News reports. | READ MORE
Nov. 22, 2017, Sydney, N.S. - A former Cape Breton volunteer firefighter has pleaded guilty to 14 counts of arson and will be sentenced in February. James Clayton MacDonald, 25, of Point Aconi, committed the offences between May and August 2016. The Cape Breton Post reports. | READ MORE
Nov. 22, 2017, Kelowna, B.C. - An investigation is underway after a body was found inside a Kelowna, B.C., home following a house fire on Monday night. CBC News reports. | READ MORE
Nov. 22, 2017, Montreal - A three-storey apartment building was evacuated after a fire broke out in the early hours of Wednesday in Montreal's Laval-des-Rapides neighbourhood.
Nov. 21, 2017, Toronto - Toronto Fire Services confirm a body was located inside a vehicle near the Woodbine Racetrack in west-end Toronto early Tuesday morning. Global News reports. | READ MORE
Nov. 21, 2017, Hespeler, Ont. - Firefighters battled a blaze at a vacant industrial building in Hespeler Monday afternoon. The fire began at about 2:00 p.m. with Cambridge firefighters arriving to smoke billowing from the empty factory, said Deputy Chief Damond Jamieson. The Kitchener-Waterloo Record reports. | READ MORE
Nov. 21, 2017, Vancouver - Investigators say a fire that engulfed a party bus in downtown Vancouver on Saturday night was accidental but that the cause remains unclear. CBC News reports. | READ MORE
Nov. 21, 2017, Edmonton - A fire last week that caused about $3 million in damage in southwest Edmonton, destroying a house under construction and damaging several others, was deliberately set, Edmonton Fire Rescue said Monday. CBC News reports. | READ MORE
Feb. 3, 2017, Barrie, Ont. - Barrie and Springwater fire services are warning businesses and home owners to be on alert for a fake fire inspector known to frequent the area. The fire department in Springwater was recently made aware of an unlicensed person claiming to be a fire inspector. The fire department said his license to inspect fire equipment has not been verified. CTV News reports. | READ MORE
July 27, 2016 - Public education at the Calgary Fire Department has gone to the dogs – and it's helping draw attention to fire-safety messages. Paul Aziz, a community safety officer with the Calgary Fire Department, shared with us a fire-safety video that stars Flint, a retired search and rescue dog. The video has already been viewed almost 1,500 times on YouTube.". . . we are finding it is getting the message across to kids as well as adults," Aziz said in an email, adding that he is more than happy to share the video with fire services across Canada.
June 24, 2016, Vancouver - Many fire departments have a diversity agenda, but few have an outreach team to help encourage diverse communities to join fire services. What can those who are not decision makers do to further diversity in our departments? How about getting a group of your fire pals together, and creating a firefighting camp for teenage girls?That is exactly what a group of female firefighters from the Metro Vancouver area did in 2011. Modeled after a similar program in New York state, Camp Ignite is an annual four-day/three-night camp in the Metro Vancouver area for teenage girls of all cultures. Now in its sixth year, Camp Ignite is organized by a volunteer committee of female firefighters and delivered in partnership with several fire departments as a co-operative instruction venture between volunteer mentors and fire department duty crews.Up to 20 teenage girls complete the program annually. Participants develop new skills such as CPR and fire-extinguisher training, and, through participating in challenging fire-training scenarios, surpass their personal expectations, explore where they thought their boundaries were, and have the opportunity to surpass them. The young women climb a 100-foot aerial ladder, rappel down the outside of a building, ride a fire truck and take a hydrant, don a full hazmat suit, use auto-extrication tools on a wrecked car, as well search a smoke house, locate and rescue a victim. Completing those tasks can help boost a young woman's self esteem, and it's something they will never forget.For the fire-department mentors, the opportunity to influence and support these young women is beyond fulfilling. To hear a young woman say that she can do anything she wants to do in this world fills a mentor with pride and helps keep the flame of passion for community service flowing. Many of these young women complete camp and want to be firefighters – how could they not!Camp Ignite not only provides young women with opportunities to empower themselves, but they have fun, make new friends, and learn from strong female role models."Over the years I have had the privilege of receiving the guidance and mentorship from many men and women across the fire service," said former peer mentor Ashley Lewis. "Programs such as the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services Youth Academy and Camp Ignite have allowed me to meet and learn from the men and women that have been my inspiration while pursuing a career in the fire service. I will be forever grateful for all the guidance I have received and aspire to be as great as the men and women who have inspired me."Fire departments involved with Camp Ignite can participate by sponsoring a camper, hosting the event, and promoting their department to young women who may be interested in pursuing a career in fire fighting. A hosting department may have up to 30 young women and female firefighters on site participating in firefighting activities.To date Camp Ignite has been hosted by 10 different municipalities in the Vancouver area with two new fire departments hosting in 2016 – Mission Fire/Rescue Service and Langley Township Fire Department. A live-fire training day is offered in conjunction with the Justice Institute of BC Fire & Safety Division at the Maple Ridge campus. The camp offers no shortage of opportunities to cultivate cultural growth in the fire service and showcase men and women working together successfully.Each year the number of firefighting camps for young women taking place throughout North America grows. In 2013, Camp Ignite hosted a firefighter from Cal Fire – California's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection – who was interested in organizing a program in her state. Camp Cinder is now in its third year in California. In 2015, a team from Spokane, Wash., visited Camp Ignite to look into starting a camp in the region. More and more people in the fire service recognize camps as an effective way to give back and be proactive in a diversity initiative.Camp Ignite provides a venue that encourages more women to explore the fire service as a career choice, whether it is directly through participation, through conversations about the camp with family, friends and relatives, or as a result of raising the profile of women and men successfully working together in the fire service.Will this grassroots initiative result in an organic increase in recruitment? Time will tell, but the young women who participate in Camp Ignite are moving into the fire services. Camp Ignite's first campers are getting serious about careers and a number of them are now volunteer firefighters, or are following a path to become first responders. Some former campers are exploring other male-dominated careers. A 2011 peer mentor, who is currently working as a volunteer firefighter, is in the final stages of the hiring process with a large career department – she will be the first participant of Camp Ignite to realize a position as a full-time firefighter.Twenty campers may not sound like a large number, but it is significant, especially in a province that currently has about 80 female full-time firefighters. Camp Ignite is successful, and the results are making a difference, yet it is just one solution in a path to a diverse fire service. More importantly, Camp Ignite is a solution brought to you by the members of the fire service who are on the front lines supporting communities each and every day.For more information about Camp Ignite, please visit www.campignite.com or follow on Facebook at CAMP IGNITE.Haida Siegmann is captain of the fire prevention office for North Vancouver City Fire Department. Jennifer Dawkins is a firefighter for Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services.
April 22, 2016 - Camaraderie, brotherhood and the passing on of knowledge were themes discussed at the second annual Honour Guard Convention held in Niagara Falls, Ont., in February.Close to 60 firefighters from 14 departments took part in the convention – more than double the number of participants in the inaugural year.Organizer Jan-Michael Reyner, a member of the Kitchener Fire Honour Guard in Ontario, said the event aims to celebrate the tradition of honour guards and to lend a hand to new departments."There are a lot of departments that are just getting involved in honour guard and they're just trying to get one established and there is no where to go to do that, whether it be learning about your uniform set up, your marching, the tools required," Reyner said.Guest speakers included Tim Bohr, a 10-year firefighter with the Westbury Fire Department in New York, as well as Jordan Paris, a 14-year firefighter with Brampton Fire and Emergency Services, and John Clare, Brampton district chief and a director with the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation.The speakers emphasized the role of comradeship, passed on tips and lessons learned from years of service, and discussed the annual CFFF memorial service.The convention included a uniform display and attendees were encouraged to bring a complete honour guard uniform and other items from their departments."I had all these tables set up to display things, and when I left the room at about 3 p.m. – the venue started at five – there were only two tunics hanging there," Reyner recalled. "When I came back down at 4:55, the whole room was full and they had actually used the tables that were supposed to have our food on for more display. It was a proud moment for me to see that there were so many more people who were that enthusiastic about bringing their stuff and showing it off."Kitchener Fire Department Deputy Rob Martin said the only component missing at this year's convention was sponsorship from vendors."There's a lot of honour and tradition that goes into the fire service and the honour guard is really the tip of that spear representing us," Martin said. "When a vendor shows up and supports something like that, it's supporting the entire fire service."Reyner hopes to grow the convention to include honour guards from departments across North America and is working on forming an organizing committee. The next convention will be held in February 2017.Learn more about the honour guard convention at www.hgconvention.com
April 5, 2016 - A partnership among Globe, DuPont Protection Technologies and the United-States-based National Volunteer Fire Council is once again giving away gear to 13 North American departments. Canadian Firefighter reports. | READ MORE
April 5, 2016 - The Surrey Fire Service in British Columbia has created a brochure to teach firefighters what they can do to reduce their risks for cancer. Canadian Firefighter reports. | READ MORE
Feb. 24, 2016 - An assistance-based program that offers low-income families and homeowners with physical barriers free combination smoke and carbon-monoxide alarms is helping a northern Ontario department keep its community and firefighters safe.Thunder Bay Fire Rescue partnered with Union Gas and the Fire Marshal's Public Fire Safety Council though Project Zero to launch the SAFE (Smoke/CO alarms for everyone) program late last year.Union Gas donated $3,000 towards combination smoke/CO alarms that will be installed in about 100 homes in the community. Residents qualify for the program based on demonstrated financial or accessibility needs.Ontario passed legislation in 2014 that requires all homes to have a working carbon monoxide alarm on every level.Fire Chief John Hay said compliance in the community is growing, but increasing awareness of the dangers of CO is an ongoing challenge for the department."Any medical call we go to now, all our firefighters on their medical bags carry CO detectors; it's turned on before they go into the building," Hay said. "There have been firefighters and paramedics who have been hurt and hospitalized after going to a call for an unconscious [person] and finding extremely high levels of CO."Hay said the SAFE program is also another method for fire prevention and public-education staff to engage with the community and encourage compliance."It does bring a little bit more awareness," he said, "but our prevention activities with our fire trucks with our suppression staff is getting the most value."The SAFE program runs until the department hands out all its combination alarms, but Hay said he hopes to create a similar program in the future with other sponsors.
Feb. 24, 2016 - Roomy is a good way to describe the new fire station that is now home to members of Belleville Fire & Emergency Services in Ontario.Firefighters moved into the new 22,500 square-foot hall in June last year, and Chief Mark MacDonald said, they brought more than 60 years worth of equipment that was previously stored in a 5,000 square-foot station."It was an adjustment," MacDonald said. "Over the years you adapt to shoehorn in to fit what you can. You get used to being crammed in."The new six-bay, two-storey station – one of four operated by the department – is now the operational hub and houses suppression, prevention, public education, administration and training staff all under one roof.The building is the city's first post-disaster construction, is fully wheelchair accessible, and includes a storefront."We're finding people are really enjoying that they can come in the front door," MacDonald said. "There's a waiting area, there are meeting rooms, there are offices and everything is fully accessible with a full-size elevator."Another addition is a hose tower that doubles as a five-storey training tower for high-angle rescues and high-rise ladder scenarios. The tower can also duplicate the Scott FireFit challenge. Belleville has an active FireFit team that has placed internationally in firefighter combat challenges.The station is centrally located in the city, which has significantly decreased response times, MacDonald said. Most notably, crews are now closer to the 600-acre industrial park."Belleville is very active with economic development for industry," MacDonald said. "Quite often industry looks at emergency response capabilities for their insurance companies and they look to what services cities can offer . . . we were able to improve our response time and that's a big bonus for encouraging businesses to come to town."The two-year project cost about $7.5 million, and stayed within budget, MacDonald said. The department is also building two more stations and both are expected to open within the year.
Feb. 18, 2016 - Canada's Office of the Secretary to the Governor General is reminding fire chiefs to nominate members of their departments who have served 20 years or more for the Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal.According to the Governor General's office, more than 31,000 medals have been awarded since its creation in 1985. The medals are given to full-time and volunteer firefighters, as well as wildfire firefighters, who have served 20 years or more, to recognize their outstanding service to their communities and to the country."An important component of the Canadian Honours System, the Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal is a tangible and lasting way to honour you, the men and women of our fire services, who dedicate yourselves to preserving Canada's public safety, thus improving the quality of your fellow citizens' lives and sense of security," the office states. "Not only is the medal intended to recognize your dedicated service, but it also pays tribute to your good conduct, industry and efficiency."For more information on the program, and to access the new electronic nomination form, visit www.gg.ca/esm
Feb. 8, 2016, Chester, N.S. - Chester's Fire Chief Dave Richardson says he fears for the future of his department if a fire services contract between the District of Chester and the Village of Chester isn't renewed by March 31. Chief Richardson says the Chester Volunteer Fire Department could be significantly reduced with higher costs to residents if the municipality has to use other departments to respond to fires outside the village. The Chronicle Herald reports. | READ MORE
Aug. 1, 2017 – Fire-service equipment provider MSA has completed its $215-million acquisition of gear maker Globe.MSA chairman and CEO William Lambert said Monday the transaction boosts the company's position as a leader in the North American market for firefighter personal protective equipment ."Globe is a highly recognized and respected brand of firefighter turnout gear, which very nicely complements our own line of firefighter protective equipment," Lambert said in a press release."With virtually no product overlap, the acquisition aligns well with our corporate strategy in that it expands our core product portfolio in a key customer segment."Lambert said MSA can now help to protect firefighters from head to toe, with Cairns Helmets, the G1 self-contained breathing apparatus, and Globe turnout gear and boots.MSA said Globe Manufacturing's management team, including previous owners Don Welch, Rob Freese and Gef Freese, will continue to work for the company over the short term to ensure an effective transition.Pittsfield, N.H.-based Globe is North America's oldest and largest maker of firefighter protective clothing, having been founded in 1887. Globe launched its Athletix line of bunker gear in April.MSA entered the breathing apparatus market in 1917; it has focused in the last few years on the customizable G1 SCBA and integrated thermal imaging camera.MSA is based north of Cranberry Township, Pa.; it employs about 4,300 people worldwide, and has revenues of U.S. $1.15 billion in 2016.Welch said when the deal was announced June 28 that it is a good fit for both parties, and ensures a solid future for Globe.
The IAFF welcomes the federal government’s announcement of $80 million for a national Community Heroes Benefit for the families of Canada’s fallen fire fighters and other public safety officers. Ottawa's Mar. 22 announcement, is the culmination of a longstanding IAFF lobby for a public safety officer compensation (PSOC) benefit.The IAFF commends Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Liberal Government and Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, for listening to the IAFF and other first responder agencies and for following through on a commitment to address this longstanding and important issue.Goodale has been a long-time champion of the benefit. It was a key element of his private member’s motion, M-388, which was adopted in the House of Commons in 2012, and he moved the item forward swiftly after he was appointed Minister in 2015.Thanks also go to the many IAFF members who helped lobby the issue on Parliament Hill at every edition of the IAFF Canadian Legislative Conference since 1992.“The IAFF commends the Liberal Government for keeping its promise and for establishing a Community Heroes Benefit in Budget 2017,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “This benefit will allow a grateful nation to formally recognize the sacrifices made by fallen fire fighters and other public safety officers and will ensure once and for all that their families don’t have to worry about their immediate financial security.”The benefit, a one-time, tax-free and direct payment to the surviving family of fire fighters, police, paramedics and other public safety officers who die in the line of duty, establishes a minimum baseline of compensation that the survivors of all public safety officers across Canada are entitled to, regardless of the city or province in which they worked.Budget 2017 provides $80 million over five years beginning in 2018-2019 for the benefit and $20 million thereafter.
Sept. 9, 2016, Montreal - Investigators are trying to determine what caused Thursday afternoon's fire at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in downtown Montreal. About 60 firefighters were called to the hotel at around 1:30 p.m. CBC News reports. | READ MORE
March 7, 2016 - Nozzle maker Task Force Tips, Inc., (TFT) has acquired AMKUS Rescue Systems, both companies announced on their websites last week. Indiana-based TFT manufactures nozzles, monitors, valves and foam systems. Headquartered in Illinois, AMKUS’s line of rescue products includes cutters, spreaders, push-pull rams, power units, auxiliary pumps and rope-rescue systems. AMKUS, according to a joint news release, will maintain its identity, distribution network and field managers, however all engineering, service and manufacturing operations will eventually transition to TFT’s headquarters in Valparaiso, Ind. “Task Force Tips' passion for developing products that save lives and protect property is a perfect fit for the continued expansion of the AMKUS Rescue System's product line,” the company stated in the release. Learn more at www.tft.com and www.amkus.com
March 3, 2016 - In 1991, Kip Cosgrove moved to Canada to fill a market niche: to provide a national insurance option for firefighters.Cosgrove brought the United States-based insurance company VFIS north of the border and at the 1991 International Association of Fire Chiefs conference held in Toronto, VFIS of Canada was launched."Because the program was so successful in the United States," Cosgrove said, "they felt that, hey, the Canadian fire service is very similar. Fighting fires is no different in Canada than in the U.S."Now in its 25th year of business, VFIS of Canada insures more than 2,100 fire departments across the country.VFIS of Canada pioneered several benefits that are now market standards, Cosgrove said, including cosmetic disfigurement from burns, and heart and circulatory malfunction.Cosgrove is well known in the industry thanks to his presence at many conferences and trade shows. VFIS sponsors several associations and charities, finances educational guest speakers, and offers free educational programs to its clients."Today the volunteer firefighters needs to grab everything they can, and we really are giving them access to a lot of these great tools free of charge," Cosgrove said in an interview."If they weren't buying my program, I wouldn't be able to offer back anything, but because our program is taking off, we want to give back to the fire service."
March 3, 2016 - The Alberta government is spending $650,000 to support fire and emergency-preparedness training for first responders in 50 municipalities and four First Nations. The funding is part of a Fire Services Emergency Preparedness Program aimed at volunteer and mutual-aid fire departments. The program will provide $500,000 for fire training and $150,000 for emergency management training in 2016. The grant program, according to a government news release, will help first responders develop the skills needed to respond effectively during fire and emergency events. “Local firefighters and emergency responders provide an invaluable service to their communities,” Danielle Larivee, Minister of Muncipal Affairs, said in the release. “Our government is proud to invest in emergency preparedness training as just one of the ways we will continue to help these individuals who help others.” Municipalities and First Nations that have mutual-aid agreements were given application priority, according to the release. For more information, including a list of the recipients, go to www.ofc.alberta.ca/grant-funded-training
Feb. 16, 2016, Snyder, Neb. – Smeal Fire Apparatus Co. announced today that Patrick Patton has been appointed to the newly-created position of director of chassis sales with responsibility for sales management, dealer and technical support, and chassis business development for Smeal's entire selection of custom fire chassis. Chassis available through Smeal include Smeal's Sirius, Sirius II, S450 and S600 models; Spartan, HME and Seagrave models.Patton has more than 20 years of experience in the fire and emergency response industry. He worked for Spartan Motor Corporation since 2007 as a regional sales manager with responsibility for business development, dealer and OEM relationship management, and sales process management for a 22-state territory. Prior to joining Spartan, Patton was in direct sales and sales management roles with two fire-apparatus dealerships."Pat Patton comes to us with a wealth of experience, expertise and knowledge in custom fire chassis, and customer, dealer, and OEM relationship management," said Jeff Wegner, Smeal's senior vice president of global sales. "In addition to his exceptional technical expertise, Pat truly understands the needs of our customers and dealers, and he is an ideal choice to spearhead our chassis programs in support of overall Smeal, LTC and UST fire apparatus sales.""I couldn't be happier to become part of the Smeal team," Patton said. "Smeal is a company that's on the move. I've seen first-hand their development over the past few years, and it's a very exciting time to be a part of their growth. I'm looking forward to working with Smeal dealers, customers and team members to elevate the information and support we provide for the fire chassis integrated with our outstanding apparatus."Patton took over his new role yesterday, and reports to Michael Bowman, Smeal's vice president of sales.
Feb. 2, 2016, Surrey, B.C. - The City of Surrey, B.C., in partnerships with the University of the Fraser Valley, has published a third book in a series about evidence-based decision making for public-service professionals.The Right Decision: Evidence-based Decision Making for Government manual and companion workbook are the third installments in the Right Decision series. The book brings evidence-based decision making down to the basics, providing government professionals with an effective tool to help them validate a particular approach or choice.Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis, an Adjunct Professor at the University of the Fraser Valley, co-authored the manual and workbook with Paul Maxim, professor in the department of economics and Balsillie School of International Affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University, Darryl Plecas, professor emeritus and former head of the UFV's School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Mona Davies, a legal analyst with a background in the public and private sector."These publications have great potential to help all levels of government serve the public better through effective decision making based on critical thinking," said Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner. "This project speaks directly to Surrey's culture of innovation, excellence and in helping to advance the public service in general."Participants in the City of Surrey's Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) contributed to the development of both the manual and workbook. ELP participants provided feedback and helped developed content and case studies for the workbook."Every day, government professionals make decisions that determine if the public is getting the best value for its tax dollars," said Surrey city manager Vincent Lalonde. "Effective decision making is the key to ensuring that we are doing the right things, in the right ways."Dr. Adrienne Chan, associate vice-president of research, engagement and graduate studies at UFV, said the university is pleased to work with the city and proud of its faculty members' work to help benefit public administration."The expertise inherent in this publication will help leaders make decisions that are practical and benefit their organizations and the public sector," Chan said.All of the Right Decision manuals and companion workbooks may be downloaded for free from http://cjr.ufv.ca
Nov. 27, 2015 – Fort Garry Fire Trucks has announced new regional sales managers in Atlantic Canada and British Columbia. Adam Baldwin, the fire chief for Kinkora and Area Volunteer Fire Department in P.E.I., is the new regional manager for Atlantic Canada. Baldwin has 19 years of experience in fire. Al Anderson has been hired to manage the British Columbia sales portfolio. Anderson has 30 years of fire-trucks sales and service experience in the province. Fort Garry also hired a new contract administrator, Taylor Young, who will operate out of the company’s headquarters in Winnipeg. National sales manager Brian Nash said the company is looking to the United States for new dealers. “We’re always expanding with agents in different parts of the world and looking for U.S. dealers right now to take advantage of the exchange rate,” Nash said.
Nov. 20, 2015 – Quebec fire-truck manufacturer MAXIMETAL has partnered with Pierce Manufacturing Inc. to produce new pumpers and tankers beginning in the new year.Based in Saint-Georges de Beauce, Que., MAXIMETAL Inc. designs and manufactures trucks under the MAXI Fire Truck brand. Under the new partnership, MAXIMETAL will use the Pierce Saber custom chassis to design and build a family of apparatuses for the Canadian Market.Beginning next year, MAXIMETAL will offer pumper and tanker configurations – with new configurations to be added in the future – and will market the new trucks across Canada through the Pierce dealer network."The people at Pierce were looking for a Canadian partner to build fire trucks for them, and we wanted to expand our sales and distribution efforts across the country," Danny Dufour, president of MAXIMETAL, said in a news release. "It's a great fit and a win-win for both organizations."Dufour called the Saber chassis, which features raised roofs, low, offset stair steps, and wrap-around windshields, well adapted to their market.
Over the last several years, the recognition of the importance of psychological health and safety in the fire service and all emergency services has risen to the point at which there is consensus that it is a top priority. Many fire, police and emergency-medical services across Canada have taken steps to increase awareness of the issue and have created plans to address the risk that the nature of these professions poses to emergency responders.
In September 2016, delegates to the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) annual general meeting in Newfoundland approved a new strategic plan that sets a new direction and vision for the association.
From an organizational, strategic perspective, 2016 could well be remembered as a significant year in the history of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs. A working group consisting of the president, executive director and a director of the CAFC as well as the chair and three provincial presidents representing the national advisory council (NAC) of the CAFC gathered in Ottawa with a consultant to review, revise and ultimately draft an updated new vision and mission statement for our CAFC.
It’s hard to believe it has been almost year since I have provided a synopsis to members within the Canadian fire service through Fire Fighting in Canada. Operationally, our CAFC activities have remained consistently busy however, one of the challenges we continue to face is communicating that information. Advocacy at the federal level is extremely important.
National fire statistics have been lacking in Canada for as long as we have been a country. A program was first funded in 2011 as a year-long project to examine the development of a web-based database that would be available to fire departments and organizations across Canada.
The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs is about to launch a national volunteer firefighter recruitment program. Answer the Call will feature a variety of initiatives to help Canada’s volunteer fire departments with the challenges surrounding the process of recruiting.
May 4, 2016, Toronto – Hunstville Fire Chief Steve Hernen was elected president of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs Wednesday. Essex Chief Rick Arnel was voted executive vice president.Minto Chief Chris Harrow, Brantford Chief Jeff McCormick, Warren Brinkman with Longbow Lake, and Clarington Deputy Chief Mark Berney won vice-president positions.Changes to legislation for not-for-profit entities require elections for executive positions and, for the first time in years, there was considerable buzz around the vote.Voting for 12 members of the OAFC board closed Monday afternoon; there were 15 candidates and high voter turnout. OAFC members choose a president, executive vice president and four vice presidents from among the elected board members.After ballots were counted for board positions on Tuesday, vote results were posted publicly – a policy change instituted in 2015: Arnel (127), Hernen (125), Harrow (118), Ottawa Deputy Chief Kim Ayotte (111), Hamilton Township Chief Kelly Serson (97), Essa Chief Cynthia Ross Tustin (96), Berney (87), McCormick (81), Richmond Hill Deputy Chief Bryan Burbidge (80), Thunder Bay Chief John Hay (72), Ocean Wave Chief Les Reynolds (69).Hernen, who was previously first vice-president, had been presumed to succeed outgoing Toronto Deputy Chief Matt Pegg, who finished his third year as president this week and said months ago he would not seek a fourth term.Until Wednesday, it appeared that Hernen would run uncontested; some last-minute politicking and chatter about potential opponents turned out to be moot.The new board meets Thursday.The OAFC's awards gala this evening wraps up the five-day conference in Toronto.
Advocacy is one of the Canadian Association of Fire Chief’s (CAFC) pillars and a very important area of focus for members. With the new government in power, the coming year will demand a government-relations approach that focuses on education – about the CAFC and its key issues – and that leverages the Liberals’ campaign promises and the content of the ministers’ mandate letters. To meet the demands that the CAFC’s current government-relations success brings to the association, and to be responsive to the new political environment, the CAFC recognized the need to develop a robust, annual advocacy strategy. This strategy would enable the CAFC to use its resources more efficiently and effectively to communicate and influence the opinions and decisions of key stakeholders to advance policy priorities.The strategy would include a formal annual schedule for tactical activities such as government-awareness week and budget asks, and an outline of types of advocacy products and activities in which the CAFC can engage. Taking into consideration the CAFC’s members and the multi-level nature of fire-service issues, the CAFC will strive to engage in three types of advocacy activities: Federal advocacy – being the voice of the fire service at the national level, developing evidence-based positions, and engaging in direct government relations. Provincial/local advocacy – being the national issue co-ordinator and promoter of consensus, supporting research at members’ requests, and engaging indirectly. Members’ advocacy capacity – being a source of advocacy tools that can be used by members to improve their own government-relations work. As an initial step in the development of the strategy, the CAFC’s board of directors and the national advisory council (NAC) agreed to support an advocacy prioritization study. During November, a brief, online advocacy-priorities-and-strategies survey was open to CAFC members. The content of the questions took into consideration the national focus of the CAFC’s mission, the current areas of work of the association, and the recognition that members face different challenges based on the size, type and location of their fire services. Ninety-one members completed the survey. In addition, during the same period, nine phone interviews were conducted with NAC and board members. Members were asked which three issues the CAFC should focus on in 2016. A broad range of issues identified by the respondents were summarized in 19 categories. The top 10 (in order of relevance) were: grants and funding; building codes; training; volunteer issues; emergency preparedness; HUSAR; national fire incident database; taxation; mental health; and national fire advisor. Responders provided specific answers and gave insight into the various aspects of each issue; their responses make evident the complexity of government-relations efforts. The advocacy needs of the fire service are many, but time and resources make addressing all of them a challenge.Members were then asked to indicate the importance of each of the several advocacy issues to their organizations.The CAFC has been working on key advocacy issues for the fire service for many years. Taking into consideration previous advocacy work and emergent issues, the survey provided members a list of 10 issues and asked them to rate the level of importance to their organizations using a five-point scale.The three issues with the highest ratings were firefighter safety, residential sprinklers within Canada’s National Building Code, and mental-health research and training. The three lowest-ranked issues were HUSAR funding, wildland/urban fire interface and First Nations fire protection. To further refine the data, members were asked to rank 10 advocacy issues in order of priority. The three issues with the highest average rankings were firefighter safety and residential sprinklers within Canada’s National Building Code, mental health research and training, and volunteer firefighter recruitment and funding. The three issues with the lowest average rankings were wildland/urban fire interface, First Nations fire protection, and HUSAR funding.While the priorities identified in the survey provide immediate actionable advocacy work, it is important to recognize that some of the issues that did not rank high on the list are issues that the CAFC must continue to address, such as First Nations fire protection and funding for HUSAR teams. In fact, a few members mentioned their ratings were based on the impact that each of these issues has for the jurisdiction of the respondent. While respondents said they might recognize the importance of the issue, if an issue did not directly affect the respondent or his or her department or jurisdiction, the respondent rated it low. This means that in order to fulfill its mission, the CAFC needs to always try to identify the national implications of the issues that affect members at the local level. The CAFC will use the results of the survey to develop an overall advocacy strategy for 2016. The results of this survey are very valuable because they will guide, in the short term, the choice of issues that the CAFC brings forward during government-awareness week in March. In the medium term, the results will allow the CAFC to develop advocacy products that members identified as important to their government-relations work. Finally, in the long tern, the results will support a review of existing CAFC structures, for example, committees and working groups, to ensure they are aligned with the issue priorities. The full survey report is available at cafc.ca.Erika Adams, PhD, is the CAFC’s director of policy and research.Établir les priorités pour l’année 2016Par Erika AdamsLes activités de plaidoyer sont l’un des piliers de l’Association canadienne des chefs de pompiers (ACCP) et un domaine de concentration très important pour les membres. Compte tenu la portée au pouvoir d’un nouveau gouvernement, il nous faudra, l’année prochaine, axer notre approche envers les relations gouvernementales sur la sensibilisation et les principales aires de préoccupation de l’ACCP. Nous devrons aussi tirer parti des promesses électorales faites par les libéraux et des lettres de mandat des ministres. Pour répondre aux exigences du succès que nous apportent nos relations gouvernementales et pour être sensible au nouvel environnement politique, l’ACCP concède le bien-fondé d’élaborer une solide stratégie annuelle en matière de plaidoyer. Ainsi, nous pourrions utiliser nos ressources de manière plus efficace lorsqu’il s’agit de communiquer et d’influencer les opinions et les décisions des principales parties prenantes pour faire progresser les priorités politiques.La stratégie comprendrait un calendrier officiel annuel des activités tactiques telles que la Semaine de relations gouvernementales et les demandes d’ordre budgétaire ainsi qu’un aperçu des types de produits que l’ACCP peut offrir et des activités de plaidoyer dans lesquelles elle peut s’engager. Prenant en considération les membres de l’ACCP et la nature multi-niveau des questions ayant trait aux services d’incendie, l’ACCP cherchera à participer à trois types d’efforts de plaidoyer, à savoir : Le plaidoyer fédéral – être le porte-parole des pompiers du Canada au niveau national, élaborer des positions fondées sur des preuves et s’engager dans des relations gouvernementales directes. Le plaidoyer provincial/local – faire fonction de coordonnateur de questions nationales et de promoteur de consensus, soutenir la recherche à la demande des membres et s’engager indirectement. La capacité de plaidoyer de l’effectif – fournir des outils de sensibilisation susceptibles d’être employés par les membres pour optimiser leur propres relations gouvernementales. Comme première étape de l’élaboration de la stratégie, le Conseil d’administration de l’ACCP et le Conseil consultatif national (CCN) ont convenu d’appuyer une étude de priorisation du plaidoyer. En novembre, nous conviions les membres de l’ACCP à compléter un bref sondage électronique sur les priorités de plaidoyer et les stratégies afférentes. Les questions prenaient en considération l’intérêt national de la mission de l’ACCP, ses domaines de travail et l’acceptation que les membres doivent relever des défis différents en fonction de la taille, du genre et du lieu de leur service d’incendie. Quatre-vingt-onze membres ont répondu au sondage. En outre, dans le même laps de temps, neuf entrevues téléphoniques ont eu lieu avec les membres du CCN et du Conseil d’administration. Nous avons invité l’effectif à identifier trois enjeux sur lesquels l’ACCP devrait se concentrer en 2016. Nous avons classé en 19 catégories un large éventail de questions identifiées par les répondants. Les dix premières (par ordre de pertinence) étaient les subventions et le financement, les codes du bâtiment, la formation, les volontaires, la préparation aux situations d’urgence, l’ELSARMU, la base de données nationales sur les incendies, l’imposition, la santé mentale et un conseiller national en matière d’incendies. Les participants ont répondu précisément et ont donné un aperçu des divers aspects de chaque question. Leurs réponses mettent en évidence la complexité des efforts de relations gouvernementales. Les besoins en plaidoyer des services d’incendie sont nombreux. Mais, le temps et les ressources nous manquent pour tout traiter.Nous avons ensuite invité les membres à indiquer l’importance que chacun des enjeux de plaidoyer revêt pour leur organisation.Depuis de nombreuses années, l’ACCP se penche sur des enjeux essentiels pour les services d’incendie. En tenant compte des efforts de plaidoyer précédents et émergents, le sondage contenait une liste de dix questions. On y demandait d’évaluer le niveau d’importance pour leur organisation en utilisant une échelle de cinq points.La sécurité des pompiers, l’inclusion des gicleurs résidentiels au Code national du bâtiment du Canada ainsi que la recherche et la formation en santé mentale sont les trois enjeux ayant obtenu les notes les plus élevées. Le financement d’ELSARMU, le plan d’intervention stratégique contre les feux en zone périurbaine et les services de protection contre les incendies pour les Premières nations sont les trois questions ayant obtenu les notes les moins élevées. Pour affiner les données, les membres ont été invités à classer les dix questions de plaidoyer par ordre de priorité. La sécurité des pompiers, l’inclusion des gicleurs résidentiels au Code national du bâtiment du Canada, la recherche et la formation en santé mentale ainsi que le recrutement et le financement des pompiers volontaires sont les trois enjeux ayant obtenu les notes les plus élevées. Le plan d’intervention stratégique contre les feux en zone périurbaine, les services de protection contre les incendies pour les Premières nations et le financement d’ELSARMU sont les trois questions ayant obtenu les notes les moins élevées. Même si les priorités identifiées par le sondage font ressortir des activités de plaidoyer immédiates, il faut reconnaître que l’ACCP doit quand même aborder certaines des questions qui ne figurent pas en haut de liste, comme les services de protection contre les incendies pour les Premières nations et le financement des équipes d’ELSARMU. En fait, quelques membres ont mentionné que leurs évaluations se fondaient sur l‘impact que chacune de ces questions avait sur la compétence de l’intimé. Bien que les répondants aient déclaré bien comprendre l’importance de la question, si celle-ci ne les concernait pas directement ni eux, ni leur département, ni leur juridiction, il s’ensuivait une faible cote. Autrement dit, pour s’acquitter de sa mission, l’ACCP doit continuer de cerner les implications nationales des enjeux qui touchent les membres au niveau local. Forte des résultats du sondage, l’ACCP élaborera une stratégie d’ensemble pour l’année 2016. Ces dits résultats sont très précieux car ils guideront à court terme le choix des enjeux que l’ACCP soulèvera au cours de la Semaine des relations gouvernementales en mars. À moyen terme, ils permettront à l’ACCP de développer des produits de plaidoyer que les membres ont identifié comme étant importants pour leurs relations gouvernementales. Enfin, par exemple, à long terme, les résultats étayeront un examen des structures de l’ACCP, des comités et des groupes de travail pour les aligner aux questions prioritaires. Pour vous procurer le rapport intégral, veuillez consulter cafc.ca.Erika Adams, PhD, directrice des politiques et de la recherche de l’ACCP.
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