Department news
Written by Maria Church
Sept. 14, 2015, Champlain, Ont. - Four recent recruits at L’Original Fire Department in Champlain, Ont., about 90 kilometres northeast of Ottawa on the Quebec border, are likely thanking their lucky stars – or their safety officer.

Thanks to L’Original firefighter and safety officer Dan Dupont’s application to the 2015 annual Globe Gear Giveaway earlier this year, the rookies are each being outfitted with a brand-new set of Globe’s state-of-the-art turnout gear.

The all-volunteer department with 26 active firefighters is one of the first three recipients chosen for the annual giveaway, a partnership among Globe, DuPont Protection Technologies and the National Volunteer Fire Council. A total of 13 departments in Canada and the United States will eventually be awarded four sets of turnout gear.

Dupont said in an interview that his department, like many others, is strapped for cash and usually forced to give new recruits old gear.

“It’s rare that rookies get new stuff,” he said. “They were so happy about it.”

Dupont said the department can now look at using its budget for needed ice and water equipment to respond to incidents on the Ottawa River.
Written by Maria Church
Fire Chief Paul Hurst is enormously proud of his new station – with good reason.

After a nine-year process, View Royal Fire Department in British Columbia cut the ribbon in June on a $7.49-million public safety building that not only consolidates the emergency services, building inspection and bylaw services, but will house the department’s volunteer firefighters.

The new station includes four one-bedroom rental suites on the grounds, as well as four units inside the building. Come September, the department will begin leasing the units to certified volunteer firefighters.

“It’s a game changer for response times,” Hurst said. “We will always have four to eight people in the building at all times . . . the community will see a drastic improvement in response times.”

It’s a win-win situation for the members and the department, Hurst said. Discounted rent helps out the volunteers since housing prices in the community are above average, and the rental agreements include maintenance duties associated with the station and the grounds.

The revenue generated from the rental units will go to offset the cost of utilities.

“For communities that don’t have a tax base to support a career department 24 hours a day, composite chiefs need to be creative in how we attract volunteers,” Hurst said.

The building itself, built by HCMA Architecture and Design, is also eye-catching, Hurst said, which adds to the community’s interest in the fire department.

With the bylaw and building inspection staff included – all under the umbrella of protective services – the public safety building operates with 30 volunteers, eight career staff and about 25 emergency program volunteers. It replaces a fire station that was built in 1957.
Written by Maria Church
If a cement truck collided with a passenger vehicle in your service area, would your members know what to do?

For the 80 firefighters who were at the sixth annual Big Rig Hands On Training Symposium (HOTS) in Nisku, Alta., in June, the answer is likely yes.

For three days, firefighters learned stabilization and extrication techniques for cab extrications, under-runs, overturns and dealing with cement mixers.

The event – hosted by the Alberta Vehicle Extrication Association and, this year, Leduc County Fire Services – is the largest heavy-vehicle extrication training in Canada.

Calgary firefighter and event organizer Randy Schmitz said it's important departments learn the differences between extricating passenger vehicles and big rigs.

“This course,” he said, “bring awareness to departments; they find out how underprepared they are when it comes to responding to an incident of that magnitude.”

Schmitz said most of the evolutions are designed for departments that don’t have access to heavy equipment. Firefighters are taught to use what equipment they have to execute the rescue.

Big Rig HOTS expanded three years ago to include a second training weekend in Strathmore, Alta., in September.

Learn more about Big Rig HOTS at
Written by Maria Church
Last winter, a group of visitors from Toronto drove an hour and half northwest to Roseneath, Ont., to go ice fishing on Rice Lake and became trapped on the thin ice. When the call came in to the local station, members jumped into their ice-water-rescue boat and came to the visitors’ aid.

Everyone was safe, said Alnwick/Haldimand Fire & Rescue Chief Dave Wright, but it might have been a different ending without the rescue boat.

Station 3 in Roseneath purchased the boat in 2001 with funds raised by the annual Golden Beach Car Show. Every year the show, hosted by Golden Beach Resort in Roseneath, draws thousands of community members and visitors in support of the volunteer firefighters.

This year’s show on June 21 brought in $6,300 for the Roseneath Firefighter’s Association. Over its 23 years running, the fundraiser has helped the station, through the association, purchase a search-and-rescue boat, specialty nozzles and helmet flashlights.

“It’s a huge benefit for us,” Wright said.

Bob Jenkins, a radio operator for Station 3, said it was a busy day for the 15 Roseneath members who came out. The firefighters participated by running a 50-50 raffle, a firefighter challenge for children and, new this year, a bouncy castle.

“We don’t mind doing it because we know the money is going back to our association,” Jenkins said. “I’ve been doing this for five years now and it’s a worthwhile cause.

“It’s good for the community, it’s good for the organizers and it’s good for us,” he said.
Written by CBC News
June 12, 2015, Ottawa - Ottawa firefighters are recommending opening a new station in Kanata North and consolidating two stations into a new one along the Cyrville corridor. The station location recommendations, presented by fire chief Gerry Pingitore at a technical briefing Thursday, say growth in Kanata North is spurring the need for the new station there. If approved, it would open in 2020. CBC News reports. | READ MORE
Written by
June 11, 2015, Barrie, Ont. - For the first time in more than a decade, the Barrie Professional Firefighters Association and the city have agreed to a multi-year deal. reports. | READ MORE
Written by The Guelph Mercury
June 5, 2015, Guelph, Ont. - The City of Guelph and the Guelph Professional Firefighters' Association enter into conciliation on Tuesday in the next step in their collective bargaining process. The Guelph Mercury reports. | READ MORE
Written by The Windsor Star
June 4, 2015, Amherstburg, Ont. - Amherstburg’s fire chief and two firefighters were fired Wednesday after a long-simmering dispute which culminated in a work-to-rule job action by more than half the department. CAO John Miceli said Chief Randy Sinasac and two unnamed firefighters were “relieved of their duties.” The Windsor Star reports. | READ MORE
Written by The Chronicle Herald
June 3, 2015, Halifax - Halifax Regional Fire wants to put some eyes in the skies. The department recently issued a tender for two unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred to as drones, which must be equipped with high-definition imaging, thermal imaging and Optical Flow technology to fly in places with no global positioning satellite technology. The Chronicle Herald reports. | READ MORE
Written by The Brantford Expositor
June 3, 2015, Ohsweken, Ont. - The Six Nations fire department has launched an automated external defibrillator program as part of its firefighter's emergency medical response skills. The Brantford Expositor reports. | READ MORE
Written by Maria Church
Members of the Perth East Fire Department in Ontario hope a new fire-prevention program targeting farmers will help reduce property loss in their community, and that other departments in Canada will follow their lead.

In April, Perth East unveiled a program called Building A Farm Fire Safe Community, or FFSC. The program is centred on a self-assessment form for farm owners and operators that is filled out electronically and sent to the department for review. If there are any red flags – such as open-air burning locations near buildings or electrical outlets without proper grounding – says Perth East Fire Chief Bill Hunter, the department will contact the individual and arrange a consultation.

Hunter said the program became a priority after a recent department report showed close to 70 per cent of value lost in the municipality over the past five years was on farms.

“We’re talking close to $10 million,” Hunter said.

Tanya Bettridge, an admin assistant with the department in charge of public education, was a lead on the FFSC project and said the process began with a search for sponsorship.

“Everything starts with your goals . . . and who shares those goals,” she said. The aim was to reduce property loss, so Bettridge approached insurance companies, all of which eagerly agreed to sponsorship.

The FFSC program is sent out to the community through mail outs and promoted through social media. The promotion campaign will soon be bolstered by a video series to be shot this summer by a local filmmaker.

Bettridge said another goal for Perth East was designing the farm fire-safety program in a way that allows departments across Canada to modify and use the material in their own jurisdictions. The only request, she said, is that departments continue to honour the sponsors.

Find out more about the farm fire safety program at
Written by Maria Church
The civic pride was evident the day Haldimand County fire and EMS personnel officially opened Fire Station 4 in Cayuga, Ont. – the first jointly operated station in the county.

Fire Chief Rob Grimwood beamed all day on April 18 when the department threw open the bay doors and welcomed about 100 curious community members to tour the new facility.

“The station honestly exceeds expectations,” Grimwood said in an interview during the grand opening, shortly after he conducted the official ribbon cutting ceremony – or in this case the official hose-uncoupling ceremony – with members of the local council.

The new hall – which came in just under $3 million – houses about 25 firefighters, as well as EMS personnel and administration. It has four truck bays (one of which is used for storage), two ambulance bays, a truck-bay style storage room, energy efficient sensors and lighting, a separate room for the SCBA compressor and one for gear storage, and a diesel-capture system.

“For a smaller volunteer department, with a limited budget, to be able to produce this station on time and on budget, it absolutely feels incredible,” Grimwood said.

Firefighter Melissa Baisley shared the chief’s excitement for the new station, emphasizing the amount of space the crew now enjoys. Before, she said, firefighters would squeeze around trucks just to hang up their gear.

The main reason for the extra space is the storage bay, Grimwood said. The bay houses equipment for the entire department, as well as EMS. Its large bay door, accessed from the back of the station, allows the trucks to back in and easily retrieve equipment.

The new station, which replaces a 54-year-old hall in Cayuga, is one of 12 in Haldimand and was built, in part, to centralize the county’s emergency services administration, including the chief officers.

The county also opened a new hall in Hagersville. Crews moved into that building late last year.
Written by CBC News
May 27, 2015, Yellowknife, N.W.T. - Yellowknife firefighters have invested in new equipment, designed to assist in case a wildland fire encroaches on the city and threatens homes. Darcy Hernblad, chief of the Yellowknife fire department, says his crews have also had two weeks of training on how to better protect homes from wildfires. CBC News reports. | READ MORE
Written by The Chronicle Herald
May 27, 2015, Sydney, N.S. - By the time Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s unionized firefighters get a contract, they will have been without one for at least four years. The career fire service members have been working without a new collective agreement since November 2011. An arbitration hearing into a new contract is set for the end of October. The Chronicle Herald reports. | READ MORE
Written by The Whistler Question
Whistler, B.C. - One of Whistler’s longest-serving firefighters is calling it quits. After 29 years of service to the Whistler Fire Department, Sheila Kirkwood has announced she will be retiring from her position as fire chief in November 2015. The Whistler Question reports. | READ MORE
Written by Maria Church
Kingston Fire & Rescue in Ontario has enlisted members of the community to help with its response to cardiac arrests – all thanks to a new app.

In March, Kingston became the first municipality in Canada to buy and use the application PulsePoint. The app sends out an alert to users when someone nearby is in need of CPR. It also gives users locations of any nearby public defibrillators.

The app, which is free for users, piggybacks on the fire department’s dispatch system. Users are who are within 500 metres of a cardiac-arrest incident are notified at the same time as the department.

While new technology is always cause for some apprehension, Fire Chief Rhéaume Chaput said the app was a logical step to connect CPR-trained members of the community to the department’s dispatch information.

“It provides a gap measure that allows quicker response to people who are suffering cardiac arrest,” he said. “It’s an immediate Band-Aid solution until we can get emergency responders there.”

Kingston is an ideal city for the app, Chaput said. The military base, university and major hospital means there are many CPR-trained people in the community.

“The people who are downloading the app are the people who are perhaps interested in making a difference,” he said. “I think overall it will help save lives.”

PulsePoint is a non-profit foundation based in the San Francisco Bay area. The app was developed by Richard Price, a former California fire chief, and is being used in more than 1,100 communities in the United States.

Learn more at
Written by Quinte News
Belleville, Ont. - Belleville and its firefighters have inked a new deal bringing their staggering wage contracts to the end of 2014. Quinte News reports. | READ MORE
Written by The Belleville Intelligencer
Quinte West, Ont. - City negotiators avoided going to arbitration with its professional firefighters. The city ratified a new deal Monday, signing a three-year agreement retroactive from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2017. The Belleville Intelligencer reports. | READ MORE
Written by Mark Prendergast
Ladders Up for the Foundation, an online auction for the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation, needs your help.

Bidding ends in six days!

Have a look at our auction site, there are great deals on hoses, gloves, books, gift cards, intake valves, training packages, pumps, monitors, nozzles, a signed Rush CD set, a firefighter quilt, leather boots, SCBAs, a fire-pit ring, CO-detector packages, gear cleaning, helmets, combat bunker gear, a hand-crafted bowl, a Bruins alumni Jersey, plus – during our live auction in Toronto on May 2 – airfare to Florida and accommodation for a week!

Your fire dealers have stepped up with great deals and gifts – now we need your help to raise money for the children of fallen firefighters.

Bid on as many items you like, or start a bidding war on your favourite item.
All proceeds go to the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation for its scholarship fund. Bid now!

Written by Maria Church
March 26, 2015 – Not many Canadian firefighters can say they visited the fire department in Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., a community only accessible by plane or ice road. Jasper, Alta., Fire Chief Greg Van Tighem is excited for the opportunity.

“They probably do things a little differently there,” Van Tighem joked Tuesday, a day before he set out on his third, and likely most difficult bike tour to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis research and care.

Tuktoyaktuk is the last stop on Van Tighem’s tour, during which he will bike the length of the Dempster Highway starting in Dawson City, Yukon.

The 1,000-kilometre, three-week solo bike trip is many things to Van Tighem. First and foremost, it’s a fundraiser and awareness campaign for MS – a cause he has embraced for the past seven or eight years after meeting a deputy chief in Yellowknife who had the disease.

Secondly, the trip is a way to network with fire departments across the country. Van Tighem plans to stop in and meet with firefighters in every community he comes across.

Thirdly, the bike tour is personal therapy for the chief.

“I’ve been a firefighter for over 22 or 23 years now,” he said, “and been front-line on quiet a few traumatic MVCs and things like that.”

For Van Tighem, being mental healthy and keeping physically fit are linked.

“That’s what this bike ride is about,” he said. “I’m not just doing it to help other people, I’m doing it to help myself too. It’s my therapy you might say.”

The chief’s first two bike tours, Highway 93 and Highway 16, raised a total of $146,000 for the MS Society. This time he hopes to add more than $90,000 to the cause. 

Van Tighem should be wheels down in Dawson City this weekend, and plans to hit the pavement peddling on March 31. Follow his journey on the website, on his Facebook page Endms93, and on Twitter @_gvt
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