News

Feb. 19, 2019, Mitchell, Ont. - Firefighters from three Perth County stations were called to a barn fire near Mitchell Monday morning. CTV News reports. | READ MORE
Feb. 19, 2019, Halifax - A house fire in the Halifax community of Spryfield on Monday morning has left multiple people dead. CBC News reports. | READ MORE
Feb. 19, 2019, Winnipeg - A 30-year-old Winnipeg woman faces drunk driving and other charges after a firefighter was struck at an accident scene Friday night. The Winnipeg Sun reports. | READ MORE
Feb. 19, 2019, Calgary - Sources have confirmed a body has been recovered from a burned out home after an explosion sparked a two-alarm blaze on Sunday morning. The Calgary Herald reports. | READ MORE
Feb. 19, 2019, Laval, Que. - Laval firefighters are fighting a fire in a greenhouse complex that destroyed a substantial portion of a family-owned company. CBC News reports. | READ MORE
Feb 18, 2019, Collingwood, Ont. - Firefighters in Collingwood, Ont., have been testing a new device that uses a magnetic field to optimize the cells in their bodies. | READ MORE
Feb. 15, 2019, Haldimand County, Ont. - A business in Haldimand County was destroyed in a fire on Wednesday. Provincial police were called to the address just after 9 a.m. along with fire and paramedic services. CTV News reports. | READ MORE
Feb. 15, 2019, Hamilton, Ont. - A fire that broke out inside a building on the Juravinski Hospital campus Thursday evening has been extinguished. Firefighters from across the city responded to the multiple-alarm fire around 5:40 p.m. and found flames in the roof of a maintenance building near the exhaust for a boiler, according to fire chief Dave Cunliffe. CBC News reports. | READ MORE
Feb. 15, 2019, Wabush, N.L. - Fire crews in western Labrador rushed to the scene of a house fire early Thursday morning that lit up the mining town's sky with flames. Fire Chief Marv Butler says crews were called to a Wabush home around 6:30 a.m. By mid-afternoon, it was under control and handed over to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. CBC News reports. | READ MORE
Feb. 14, 2019, Grimsby, Ont. - Damage is being estimated at around $300,000 after a fire ripped through a family home in Grimsby. Fire crews were dispatched to the single-storey house just after 12:30 a.m. The first firefighters arrived about three minutes later to find the south end of the home "fully engulfed in fire," according to chief Michael Cain. CBC News reports. | READ MORE
Vaughan Fire & Rescue Service (VFRS) recently received a $10,000 grant from TransCanada for its firefighter camp for young women ages 15 to 18 years. 
The Brantford Fire Department is honouring those who served in the First World War in a unique way, The Brantford Expositor reports  | READ MORE
Gayanne Pacholzuk, a fire prevention officer with the Kelowna Fire Department in British Columbia, will be bringing the message of fire safety to elementary school children in Ethiopia in November. Pacholzuk is joining a medical team from RESTOR International that is going to the African country to provide free, life-altering surgeries to children and young adults with disabling and disfiguring contractures as a result of burns. “I look forward to being a part of the RESTOR team this year and being able to share my knowledge with Ethiopian people in hopes that some of the burn injuries can be prevented in the future,” she said. Pacholzuk, who has more than 21 years in the fire service, will work with the fire department in Bahir Dar and oversee the translation of fire prevention educational materials into Amharic, the official language in Ethiopia. At the Kelowna department, she oversees fire inspections, fire investigations, and public education. She is very active in the push for fire prevention and awareness across Canada and is president with the Fire Prevention Officer’s Association of B.C. Pacholzuk is on a committee for the National Building Code as well as two technical committees with the National Fire Protection Association, specializing in life safety in buildings and building construction. She is also very active with the B.C. Professional Firefighters Burn Fund and has volunteered as a camp counsellor for the past six summers at a camp for children who are burn survivors. RESTOR International said in a statement that the organization is thrilled to have Pacholzuk accompany the team to teach a sample program in elementary schools. RESTOR is a non-profit, humanitarian organization that helps disadvantaged children and adults in developing countries.
Toronto Fire Services has launched an advertising and public education campaign aimed at encouraging smokers in the Parkdale area of the city to stop tossing their cigarette butts.  Data shows that Parkdale, over a five-year period, had more fires started from careless smoking than any other area of Toronto. Many of these fires occurred on balconies as a result of tenants discarding their lit cigarette butts by throwing them from their balconies.  The campaign includes transit shelter posters, restobar (combined restaurant and bar) ads, posters on construction hoarding sites in the Parkdale neighbourhood, as well as geo-targeted social media and features two themes. The first campaign design depicts a hand holding a lit cigarette with the tagline, "Don't be a flicking idiot … tossed butts start fires." The second design shows a teddy bear on fire with the tagline, "Kill your butts, not your neighbours … tossed butts start fires."  The advertising campaign will continue through November 11. A public education campaign will be carried out in conjunction with the ad campaign that will include firefighters visiting businesses and residents to convey the message that cigarette butts need to be completely extinguished before being discarded.  "With this ad campaign, we're reminding residents that we all are responsible for keeping each other safe from fire," said Fire Chief and General Manager Matthew Pegg. "Our message is simple. Make sure your cigarettes are completely extinguished before you discard them, and discard them properly."  "Parkdale is a tight-knit community that is known for being unique, colourful and diverse," said Gord Perks, the councillor of Ward 14. "What Parkdale should not be known for is the neighbourhood with the most fires due to careless smoking. This fire services campaign aims to change that fact and I'm confident we can reduce the number of fires started by improperly extinguished cigarette butts."  To help highlight this issue, generic fire prevention messaging is being augmented with specific messaging to target residents who live in the fire-prone area of Parkdale. This campaign is the first done by Toronto Fire Services to focus on a specific area and target audience in an effort to deliver relevant, impactful and behaviour-changing communications. A public education risk assessment that included risks, geographic profiles, demographic profiles and marketing profiles aided in message targeting.  Through this targeted ad campaign, Toronto Fire Services encourages Parkdale residents to understand the true cost of careless smoking and persuades them to adopt safer smoking habits. More information is available at toronto.ca/smokingsafety.  For a video of the announcement go to https://mobile.twitter.com/i/broadcasts/1yNGaXYdOoRKj
I’m an 18-year veteran and fire chief of a small fire department in the West Kootenays of British Columbia. We average around 100 calls a year and work on a small budget.Throughout my years as a member of this hall and now as fire chief, I learned how to overcome some of the hardships and struggles that a small-budget firehall goes through. We all want to provide the best coverage and response to our community. This does not change, no matter the size of your hall.We recently realized that an area that needed improvement was how we respond to medical incidents. We started with using one of our engines. This worked, but proved difficult in winter conditions and due to the amount of long, narrow driveways we faced. So, we purchased a second hand 1984 GMC 4x4 to make it easier to respond. We soon realized that this was the way to go. The 1984 proved to be a great truck, as long as you let it warm up and had an idea of how a carburetor works. With the changing demographic in membership, this proved to be a struggle.We finally saved enough money to replace the truck. With a budget of $50,000, I started to hunt. It wasn’t long before I realized that this amount of money was not going to get us far, so I started to look at other options. Soon, I came up with the idea of building our own vehicle.I found a truck at a repossession lot. It was a 2014 Ford F350 with a contractor’s-style canopy. Perfect! We bought the truck and drove it eight hours home from Vancouver. Then we went to work. We installed a centre console to house the radio, siren, and other hard-mounted items. We bought a light bar and other emergency lights off Internet providers. We removed some of the old hardware from our existing truck and had a local decal company do the graphics.At the end of the project, we ended up with a nearly new, much safer rescue truck for less than half our original budget. Since then, we’ve had truck manufacturers look at this rig and ask who built it. It looks that good.We were able to do this as a result of something I learned a long time ago, and that was to use your resources. One of my captains is a 12-volt technician, another a mechanic, and still another is a welder-fabricator. I gave these members free reign of the work on the truck and soon we had a fully functional rescue truck.I learned to let members use their natural ability, and instead of holding them back with rules and regulations, enable them with support and give them the tools they need to do the job.We weren’t done yet. We had this 1984 GMC that we knew we were going to get nothing for if we tried to sell it. So, we came up with the idea to transform it into a wildland truck.So again, I started looking around and found a used skid unit in Kansas. Through grant money I sourced out, we were able to purchase and have the unit shipped to Canada. When the unit arrived, it was in a state of disrepair. My members stepped up and took over. The skid unit was fully disassembled and rebuilt. The pump engine and everything was gone through or rebuilt. This again proved to me that using your resources and the natural ability or skills of your members pays huge dividends. Soon, we had a fully functional wildland truck for a fraction of the price of new equipment.So, not only were we able to build a fully functional rescue truck, we also built a fully functional wildland truck – both in a year and for under $25,000.This is something we are very proud of. Not only is there a level of pride involved with responding with something you built, but we know exactly how it was put together.Using the natural ability of your members can be a huge benefit to a small volunteer hall. As almost everyone knows, there is not enough time in the day to tackle all we want to as a volunteer hall. With families and full-time jobs to hold down this is proving to be more of a struggle as the years go on. I feel very fortunate to have accomplished what we have and look forward to the next challenge.Jeff Grant is fire chief of the Robson Volunteer Fire Department in Robson, B.C. Contact Jeff at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
The New Victoria Fire Department in Nova Scotia has been named one of the winners of the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway program. The program is a partnership of Globe by MSA, DuPont Protection Solutions and the National Volunteer Fire Council. The department will get four new sets of state-of-the-art turnout gear. “Our members are dedicated and take much pride in our department,” said deputy chief Andrew Petrie. “Receiving this gear will be a great morale boost for our members. Thank you to Globe, DuPont, and the NVFC for this opportunity to help make our responders safe.” The New Victoria Fire Department is on the mouth of Sydney Harbour in the most northeastern part of Nova Scotia. The department responds to an average of 120 calls a year, serving about 5,000 residents over 100 square miles. Department personnel train hard to ensure they are ready to respond. However, about half of its 22 volunteers must wear gear that is more than 10 years old and not up to recommended standards. This year, Globe by MSA, DuPont Protection Solutions and the National Volunteer Fire Council are giving away 52 sets of turnout gear to 13 North American fire departments that serve populations of 25,000 or less. Now in its seventh year, the program works to enhance the safety and capabilities of small-town fire departments across the U.S. and Canada. Recipients are being announced monthly throughout the year.
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
Vector Solutions, a leader in industry-focused eLearning and performance support solutions, announced Feb. 6, 2019 that it has acquired Halligan, the innovative developers of a leading mobile application for public safety agencies that streamlines routine maintenance inspections of trucks, tools, medical supplies, drugs, and other items logged in inventory records. The addition of Halligan comes on the heels of Vector’s recent acquisition of CrewSense, reaffirming the company’s commitment to providing a single operational hub for clients and expanding its eLearning and training platform into a complete performance optimization solution. Halligan’s workforce management app is embedded in the everyday workflows of more than 450 fire and EMS customers, with features including mobile truck checks, communication tools for overdue checks and open work orders, asset barcode scanning, and cost and quantity tracking. Halligan’s fleet, inventory and asset solutions will be offered under Vector’s Public Sector business unit with whom Halligan has previously partnered to bring TargetSolutions Check It app released earlier in 2018. “This exciting acquisition benefits Halligan clients by providing the opportunity to integrate with the public sector’s leading learning and performance platform, TargetSolutions, and thousands of online courses from the Vector Solutions library,” said Marc Scheipe, Vector chief operating officer. “And, with Halligan’s continued commitment to quality, innovation and world-class support, this acquisition serves to increase modules for optimized performance, expand access to advanced technology, and maintain a singular focus on increasing productivity, reducing risk and driving smart decisions.” “We saw Vector Solutions’ vision for a single platform where public safety agencies can come to manage what is most important to their operations: their talented first responders and their life-saving equipment.” said Alex Montgomery, founder and CEO of Halligan. “Through the acquisition the Halligan team looks forward to providing more product solutions to our customers."The company said clients of Vector Solutions and Halligan can expect to receive the same customer service to which they have been accustomed. The company is working to determine integration plans and more information will be available in the future. Vector Solutions provides award-winning SaaS solutions for the architecture, engineering, construction (AEC), industrial, facilities management, public safety, IT and education industries. Its brands, RedVector-Convergence Training, TargetSolutions, and SafeSchools, deliver continuing education (CE), training, technology and performance management solutions using the latest innovations in learning and technology to create safer, more capable, more compliant organizations. Its extensive online and mobile learning library offers approximately 8,000 courses written by over 250 subject matter experts and reaches over seven million professionals worldwide. The company was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Tampa, Florida. For more information about the company go to www.vectorsolutions.com. Halligan is an easy and secure solution paid and volunteer fire departments across the nation trust for truck checks. With features ranging from apparatus checks, work orders, equipment management and budgeting, Halligan saves money while saving time. Complete mobile first truck checks from iOS, Android devices or web browsers. For more information about the company go to www.halligan.io.
The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition Canada (HFSC) is awarding stipends to 20 qualifying fire departments that demonstrate a plan to conduct a community event featuring a side-by-side fire and sprinkler burn demonstration.The stipend can be used to purchase materials to build a new display, rehab an existing display, produce educational materials distributed at the demonstration or to build an NFPA 13D display to be used at the event. Click here for more information about building an NFPA 13D display.The deadline to apply for the stipend is March 1, 2019.To qualify, applicants must be signed up for HFSC’s free Built for Life Fire Department program. To apply for the stipend, Built For Life Fire Department representatives must agree to implement their department’s event and fulfill the event implementation requirements by the end of 2019. They must ensure the event contains home fire sprinkler educational outreach; endeavour to extend the educational benefits beyond the actual event (such as through local media or placement of photos or video on the fire department’s website and social media outlets, if any); evaluate the educational effectiveness of the event; and report event summary and evaluation findings to the HFSC.Click here for more information and to enrol.The HFSC is a charitable organiztion that was formed in 1996 to inform the public about the life-saving value of home fire sprinkler protection in Canada. HFSC members include The Co-operators, the Canadian Automatic Sprinkler Association and regional representation for the National Fire Protection Association.
The concept of regionalization in the fire service has been around for a number of years now, but recent factors have accelerated the concept further.
Jeremy Inglis, deputy fire chief at the Fort Erie Fire Department in Ontario, is a man on a very specific mission.
Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece has re-introduced the Rea and Walter Act (Truss and Lightweight Construction Identification) at Queen’s Park in an effort to improve firefighter safety. The Act, known as Bill 33, will require commercial and industrial buildings, as well as certain multi-family dwellings using truss and lightweight construction (TLC), to be marked by an identification emblem. Buildings containing TLC will be required to post 1 of 3 emblems: “F” decals if only the floor of the building uses TLC. “R” decals if only the roof of the building uses TLC. “FR” decals if both the floor and the roof of the building use TLC. The Act is in honour of two North Perth fire service members. Ken Rea and Ray Walter died in 2011 when the roof of a store constructed with TLC collapsed while fighting a fire. “Firefighters need to know which buildings contain truss and lightweight construction,” Pettapiece said. “When a fire breaks out they need to know how to attack it safely.” The Rea and Walter Act was wiped off the legislative agenda when the previous Liberal government prorogued the legislature in March 2018. Pettapiece noted that a fire at Tim Horton’s in Arthur, Ont., on July 21 demonstrated once again the need for truss and lightweight construction identification. In response to the incident Wellington North Fire Service Chief Dave Guilbault said, “We were not aware that the roof trusses were lightweight. There was no way of knowing. There could have been serious injuries or loss of life.” Pettapiece said the Rea and Walter Act will restore trust and accountability between fire departments, municipalities and small business owners. “I am hopeful this bill will again receive all-party support,” he said after tabling it in the Legislature. “I am looking forward to working with all of my colleagues and stakeholder groups across the province. It is the minimum standard our firefighters should expect.”
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."
If you’ve been following my column, you may know we like top 10 lists. This list is about the 10 messages the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) said during 18 hours that representatives spent on Parliament Hill for government relations week Nov. 26 and 27, 2018.
Fire service leaders from across Ontario gathered at the Hilton Niagara Falls hotel Nov. 20 to 22 for the 2018 annual general meeting of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC).
The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) is thrilled to be working in partnership with Jenny's Heroes Canada once again to support volunteer firefighters across Ontario.  Jenny's Heroes Canada has decided to offer three Fire Service Equipment Grant opportunities in 2019. The majority of fire departments in Ontario rely on the services of volunteer firefighters to provide fire protection, education and emergency first response in their communities. Due to smaller populations, with a smaller tax base, many of these departments are challenged to purchase new equipment, gear and technology to protect these firefighters so they can provide the skilled, competent and caring services to the residents they are committed to protect. Through Jenny’s Heroes Canada, the Jenny Jones Foundation is offering grants of up to $25,000 to provide safety equipment to Ontario’s volunteer fire departments.  “I have a profound respect for anyone who chooses a life of service to the community,” says Jenny, “even more so when the risks are great.” Jones grew up in London, Ont. and wishes to give back to her home province. In May 2018, the Jenny Jones Foundation reached out to the OAFC with a vision to give back to those who serve in their communities, and where a financial contribution would make a significant impact. The OAFC immediately recognized the potential to work with Jenny by providing a medium to reach those departments in Ontario where this opportunity would make a significant difference. In addition, the opportunity aligned well with the OAFC’s mandate to provide access to resources that help support its members’ role as fire and emergency service leaders in their communities.  In July 2018, the OAFC and Jenny Jones launched Jenny’s Heroes Canada Fire Service Equipment Grant to support volunteer fire services in Ontario. There was an overwhelming response from departments across Ontario with more than 100 applications received. Both the OAFC and Jenny were amazed at the incredible response and participation in such an exciting opportunity. After a final review and based on the significant need identified through the application process, Jenny decided to increase the amount of her Jenny’s Heroes Canada grant to $50,000 from the original amount of $25,000, offering grants to six departments that purchased an array of equipment to assist in their public safety efforts.  “Wow. We received more applications than anyone expected,” says Jenny. “It’s clear the need is great, so I remain committed to continue providing safety equipment to Ontario’s volunteer firefighters. Let’s keep it going!”    Jenny’s Heroes Canada has decided to offer three Ontario Fire Service Equipment Grant Opportunities in 2019, for up to $25,000 for each opportunity. Click here for more information about the grants, criteria and the application process.
With the end of 2018 near, top 10 lists become irresistible. This top 10 list is a view from my office here in Ottawa at the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs.
The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) is applauding the provincial government for introducing legislation that will allow full-time firefighters to volunteer as firefighters in their communities. The legislation, known as Bill 57, the Restoring Trust, Transparency and Accountability Act, 2018, was introduced in the Legislature earlier this week. Presently, the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 (FPPA) prohibits full-time firefighters from serving as volunteer firefighters. Firefighting full time and volunteering on the side is known as “two-hatting” or “double hatting.” If passed, Schedule 18 of Bill 57 will amend the FPPA to, among other things, enhance protections for volunteer firefighters engaged in double-hatting and address collective bargaining and interest arbitration in the sector. The OAFC maintains that the legislation, if passed, will protect firefighters who are employed full time and chose to volunteer as a firefighter in the community where they live.  The OAFC said in a statement that it is also pleased to see proposed changes to reform the interest arbitration process, which will help municipalities' evidence “local economic realities to be fully considered” by the arbitrator. “We commend the Ford government for acting on these long-standing issues, and look forward to continuing to work together, protecting our firefighters, and ultimately keeping Ontario's residents safe," OAFC president Stephen Hernen, who is fire chief for the Town of Huntsville, said in a statement. Finance Minister Vic Fedeli introduced the proposed move as part of the province’s 2018 economic outlook and fiscal review. The changes would prevent firefighters from being disciplined, fined or suspended if they want to volunteer on the side. Specifically, the legislation would amend the FPPA to prohibit employers and employers’ organizations from refusing to employ a person as a firefighter, refusing to assign a person to fire protection services or discharging a firefighter because the person has worked, is working, or intends to work as a volunteer firefighter. The legislation’s enhanced protections for two-hatters are expected to provide all workplace parties – both associations and employers alike – with much needed clarity on their rights and responsibilities towards volunteer firefighters in relation to the longstanding issue. If passed in its current form, Schedule 18 clarifies that working as a volunteer firefighter will not constitute “unlawful activity.” Accordingly, associations will not be permitted to require employers to discharge firefighters because they have, are or intend to work as a volunteer firefighter. The legislation also proposes the FPPA be amended so that the present three-member arbitration boards be replaced with single arbitrators for dispute resolution. The amendments also include new criteria to be taken into consideration in an arbitrator’s decision and a requirement that an arbitrator provide written reasons for a decision at the request of either party. The OAFC represents more than 700 chief fire officers in Ontario, from across 442 municipalities, who are responsible for the management and delivery of fire, rescue and emergency response to 13 million residents.
The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) held its Fire-Rescue Canada 2018 conference Sept. 16 to 19 in Ottawa, with a series of speakers, sessions and lightning talks to educate fire service leaders.
The B.C. Professional Fire Fighters' Burn Fund celebrated its 40th anniversary Oct. 18 by hosting more than 40 local firefighters at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in Vancouver. The Burn Fund is a registered charity established in April 1978 by the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters and provides life-saving, life-supporting, and life-enriching services to the people in B.C. Throughout its history, the Burn Fund has played a big part in enhancing the quality of care a burn and trauma patient receives from bedside through to recovery. The Burn Fund and Capilano Suspension Bridge Park are linked by events that took place in 2007. That year, severe winter storms caused major damage to Bright Nights Christmas lights display in Stanley Park, severely impacting donations to the Burn Fund. At the same time, a 46-ton tree fell onto Capilano Suspension Bridge, closing the park for five months. To celebrate the bridge re-opening, Nancy Stibbard, owner and CEO of Capilano Group, decided to hold a fundraiser for the Burn Fund to help replenish lost donations from its annual holiday event. That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, as partial proceeds from Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park have been donated to the Burn Fund ever since. Through the generosity of donors such as the Capilano Group, the Burn Fund has achieved many significant accomplishments. This includes the notable achievement of completing a $13.1-million capital campaign to raise funds to build the new Burn Fund Centre in 2015 – a home away from home for burn and trauma survivors. Stibbard's donations have exceeded $425,000 and her continued financial support through Canyon Lights has played a significant role in bringing awareness to the Burn Fund. She will be recognized at this year's Responder Dinner Gala on April 27, 2019. The B.C. Professional Fire Fighters' Burn Fund has been providing prevention and survivor support programs and funding medical care and training for the people of B.C. and the Yukon for almost four decades. The Burn Fund is built by more than 3,800 professional firefighters from 53 communities in B.C. and the Yukon who dedicate their funds and time to the cause.Click here to watch a video of the event. Click here to learn more about the Burn Fund.
The Maritime Fire Chiefs Association (MFCA) held its 104th annual conference July 13 to 16 in Moncton, N.B. and it was deemed a success by organizers.“It’s gone really well,” Tory Rushton, newly elected president of the association, said on the final day of the conference. “We have a great trade show here and we have great speakers here every year.”Rushton, chief of the Oxford Fire Department in Nova Scotia, was elected as president of the association to succeed Charles Kavanaugh, retired chief of the Grand Falls Fire Department in N.B.Rushton has been in the fire service for 20 years and has served as chief of the Oxford Fire Department in Nova Scotia for the last 12. Prior to that, he spent five years as deputy chief of the department.The four-day conference was held at Hotel Casino New Brunswick. About 160 delegates, many with their spouses, attended the event, up slightly from the previous year. The event featured information sessions and a slate of keynote speakers who dealt with myriad subjects. Outside, a number of manufacturers and suppliers set up more than a dozen fire trucks.Robert Krause, director of Emergency Services Consultants in Toledo, Ohio, led a talk called Leadership in Dangerous Situations and spoke about why it’s important for commanders to remain calm and make sound decisions at fire scenes because firefighters will feed off leaders’ actions.Dave Wiklanski, owner of Alpha Omega Training Solutions in New Jersey, led a session on active shooters, noting most have an agenda and the shootings are likely to happen at a school, church or mall. He said such incidents can occur anywhere, but shooters do leave clues they might kill people.Tanya Bettridge, director of communications at the Ontario Fire & Life Safety Education, talked about social media and how tools like Facebook and Twitter can be used by fire departments to promote safety messages. She urged fire departments to get on the bandwagon and adopt digital tools.“If you don’t have social media in your fire department, get it,” she said in remarks to an audience of 120 people at a session.In today’s world, social media is one of the best ways for fire departments to draw attention to the safety cause, she said.Bettridge, who is public educator/administrative assistant at Perth East and West Perth fire departments in Ontario, was a driving force behind a farm fire safety program at the departments. The program has since been adopted by fire departments and agencies across North America.Bettridge said social media has become a must-have tool for fire departments that want to get the public thinking more seriously about safety.“It is the most inexpensive public education tool that you can use,” she said, noting a post on social media can be shared instantaneously around the world.Bettridge said fire departments shouldn’t ignore online resources because three quarters of Canadians use at least one type of social media and nine billion videos are watched around the world each day.“That’s where your audience is,” she said.A trade show at the event featured vendors from across Canada and the U.S. They had specialized products and equipment on display, along with exhibits of new processes and techniques for fighting fires.   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.firefightingincanada.com/index.php?option=com_k2&Itemid=8&lang=en&layout=latest&view=latest#sigProGalleriad8be82c51a Stephan Rytz, a firefighter and director of training at Scene Safety Company in Saint John, N.B. which specializes in high-risk rescue operations, was a vendor. While he leads a busy life doing two jobs, he’s passionate about health and safety and said he feels good at being able to help save lives.Jean-Michel Boisvert, of Pierreville, Que., Canadian sales manager at CET Manufacturing which makes portable pumps, was also one of the vendors. He travels regularly across Canada and the U.S.There was also business to take care of at the conference. Meetings of the MFCA were held each morning. One item discussed was whether or not the association should open its doors to all firefighters. Presently, only those who have the word ‘chief’ in their title are allowed to be active or voting members of the MFCA. Fire marshals, deputy fire marshals and fire commissioners are also allowed to cast ballots. Firefighters can attend the event but aren’t allowed to join the MFCA or vote.A resolution to allow all ranks of fire service in the Atlantic provinces to become full-fledged voting members of the association – and run for executive positions – was put forward as a resolution. The idea behind it was to make the association more inclusive of all ranks of the fire service.While there was no vehement opposition to the idea, in the end members decided it would be better to wait another year before making a final decision. The executive will work on a bylaw over the next year and come up with one that will be presented to the conference in 2019.MFCA president Rushton said the idea of the proposal is to provide future leaders of the fire service an opportunity to gain more leadership experience through lectures, training and networking.“We’re trying to open the doors for them to come in to this association and sit on the executive and start to grow with the executive as they grow,” he said.Such a move, he said, would allow basic firefighters, lieutenants and captains to get more involved in the MFCA. Rushton said the proposal comes at an exciting time for the association and, as president, he hopes to rejuvenate the organization, define where it’s going and bring more members into the fold.“I want to grow the membership and maintain the relationships that we have with the other organizations, each provincial association and also the Canadian Fire Chiefs Association.”
The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFCs) has released its written pre-budget submission to the federal finance committee. The submission, titled Ensuring Canada’s Competitiveness by Mastering Public Safety Risks, calls for, among other things, enhanced use of federal funds earmarked for first responder mental health. The CAFC wants the federal government to adjust how it uses $30 million in funds that are set aside for first responder mental health. The recommendation is one of five in the six-page submission. Specifically, the CAFC is asking the government to adapt and implement Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (ICBT) so that it’s nationally available to first responders rather than just develop a pilot. Budget 2018 proposed to invest $10 million over five years, starting this year for Public Safety Canada and the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) to develop an ICBT pilot as a means of providing greater access to care and treatment for public safety officers. The CAFC supports the research levers and states that at least 13 ICBT models have been developed and evaluated, but notes pilots are known to be shelved at the end of the funding period. “We ask that the project specifications be revised from developing and pilot testing, to adapting, evaluating and implementing, in order to ensure that the $10 million reaches as many first responders as possible,” the CAFC states. According to the CAFC, the government also proposed to provide $20 million over five years to support a new national research consortium between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment to address the incidence of post-traumatic stress injuries among public safety officers. The CAFC also commends such an initiative. However, the association is asking that the intention be revised from studying the incidence to studying the implementation of innovations that could help first responders nationally. “We respectfully disagree that more research to identify the problem is necessary,” the CAFC submission states, noting that many interventions have already been developed for first responders. “We need to use the funding for implementation (of) science projects that make these interventions accessible in new, innovative, cost effective and appropriate ways to a larger number of responders.” The CAFC submission asks that the CIPSRT, CIHR, Department of National Defence and Mental Health Commission of Canada work together to implement and evaluate the Road to Mental Health Readiness (R2MR) Program or an equivalent resilience training for all fire departments in the country. “The federal government has the people, funding, mechanisms and levers. We are asking for the political will to make it happen,” the submission states. In the brief, the CAFC also recommends that: The government provide funding in the amount of $50 million per year for a fire sector research and innovation program to develop and test hazard responses to social and building code innovations. The CAFC states that Canada needs a more reliable and regular mechanism to respond to innovation. The government implement continued ongoing funding for all Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) program teams and ensure national deployment strategies are in place. The federal government is providing $3.1 million annually and ongoing to establish the HUSAR program, but the CAFC wants to see stable and predictable funding moving forward. That the government reinstate its Joint Emergency Preparedness Program (JEPP) to enhance regional capacity for all types of emergencies. The JEEP, which offered matching funding for equipment, training and other infrastructure needed by the country’s fire departments, was terminated for reasons unclear to the CAFC. The federal government implement a national fire advisor secretariat to provide substantive expertise in linking federal fire-related initiatives. The CAFC states it would be willing to help provide such a role with the appropriate funding. The CAFC is asking its members to forward the submission to their federal MP and perhaps include a cover letter describing the importance of one or more of the recommendations to their communities. Click here for the CAFC submission.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) has announced winners of the 2018 IAFC Fire Chief of the Year awards, sponsored by Pierce Manufacturing Inc. Volunteer Fire Chief Herbert Leusch of the Glen Echo Fire Department in Bethesda, Maryland, and career Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White of the San Francisco Fire Department are this year’s winners. A selection committee appointed by the IAFC reviewed nominations for active chiefs of departments that have shown exemplary contributions in the areas of leadership, innovation, professional development, service to the public and contributions to the fire service community as a whole. The award recipients will be recognized during a presentation Aug, 9 at Fire-Rescue International’s general session at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas,Texas. Pierce Manufacturing Inc. is the leading global manufacturer of custom fire apparatus. “I look forward to the captivating moment each year when we share the nominations for the two Fire Chief of the Year award honourees,” said Jim Johnson, president of Pierce Manufacturing. “Chief Leusch and Chief Hayes-White have had distinguished careers. These two leaders have shown how to lead with grace, professionalism, and devotion that inspires others. On behalf of the Pierce Manufacturing team, we’d like to share heartfelt congratulations to Chiefs Leusch and Hayes-White.” Chief Leusch has been at the helm of the Glen Echo Fire Department for 10 years. The department has 70 personnel and responds to more than 2,200 calls a year. Some of Leusch’s accomplishments include establishing a bicycle emergency response team, developing a heavy-apparatus driver-training program, building advanced life-support capabilities, and co-leading a firefighting task force in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. In his day job, he is senior principal at General Dynamics Information Systems. Chief Hayes-White has been chief of the San Francisco Fire Department since 2004. The department is the largest urban fire department in the world with a female chief. The mother of three has instituted many changes, including introducing a random on-duty alcohol and drug testing policy, the reconfiguration of emergency medical services and the restoration of promotional examinations.

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