Department news
Written by CBC News
L'Isle-Verte, Que. - The fire chief of L’Isle-Verte has stepped down. Yvan Charron was at the helm of the town's volunteer service when a fire broke out at the Résidence Du Havre in January 2014. He had served as chief of the L'Isle-Verte service for nearly two decades. CBC News reports. | READ MORE
Written by The Pembroke Daily Observer
Petawawa, Ont. - The Petawawa Fire Department has named its new deputy fire chief. Chico Traclet, the current assistant deputy chief and training officer, was one of four applicants considered for the post. He will be replacing Deputy Fire Chief Jean Belec, who is retiring as of March 31 following 20 years of dedicated service. The Pembroke Daily Observer reports. | READ MORE
Written by
March 11, 2015, Thorold, Ont. - Thorold’s professional firefighters are getting higher pay and new, 24-hour shifts thanks to an provincial arbitrator’s ruling that’s left the city a little short of money to absorb. reports. | READ MORE
Written by Deputy Chief Greg Hankkio
Not talking about it isn’t working! As part of a commitment to provide recommended and current practices for health and wellness, Thunder Bay Fire Rescue (TBFR) administration recently introduced a new level of training aimed at breaking down cultural stigmas that will ultimately provide all personnel with the necessary tools to make themselves, their families and the public safer.

Administered by LivingWorks Education Inc. – a Calgary-based suicide-prevention training company ( – SafeTALK is a three-hour training program that prepares firefighters to identify people with thoughts of suicide and connect them to suicide first-aid resources. Delivered over multiple training sessions, the goal of TBFR is to have all of our 213 full-time staff trained. Going forward, SafeTALK will become a mandatory component of TBFR’s recruit firefighter training program.

TBFR personnel will be better able to move beyond very common tendencies to miss, dismiss or avoid suicide; they will also be trained to be able to better identify people who have thoughts of suicide and to connect a person with thoughts of suicide to a suicide first-aid intervention caregiver.

In a manner that cultivates a culture in which vulnerability is not seen as a weakness, TBFR is taking a proactive and leading role by training and educating staff on topics such as suicide prevention, critical-incident stress management (CISM) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We believe that SafeTalk is the first important step in this process.

TBFR takes the view that SafeTALK training is to suicide what CPR training is to heart attacks. We are taking the first steps toward preventative action. As public servants, firefighters do what it takes to save lives and make our communities safer. We are now providing our staff with additional tools to keep themselves, their families, friends and others safe.
Written by Laura King
Pat Hayter first heard about Camp Bucko when he was a student at the Toronto Fire Academy.

“It sounded like something I could be involved in, just being with the kids and that,” Hayter said during a rare quiet moment at the 2015 Toronto Fire Celtic Society bonspiel on Feb. 5.

Twenty four teams of curlers – 21 from Toronto Fire Service and three from Pickering Fire Services – curled at the Whitby Curling Club to raise money for Camp Bucko (Burn Camp for Kids in Ontario) in McKellar, Ont.

Hayter, a Toronto firefighter, organized the first bonspiel two years ago; other departments across Ontario helped by doing carwashes and breakfasts and putting all the fundraising dollars into one pot.

Hayter and others had raised more than $26,000 over a couple of years. This year’s total is $16,177.73.

“The camp is 100 per cent volunteer,” Hayter said, “The kids don’t pay a cent.”

There are camp weeks for kids older than seven, and family weeks for younger kids.

“Camp Bucko is a very special place,” Hayter said in a Facebook post on the Camp Bucko Curling page after the bonspiel. “From our total funds raised, you have just paid for roughly 10 kids to come to camp.”

Dozens of silent auction items and prizes for winners, runners up and the best- (or worst-, depending on your sartorial perspective) dressed team were donated by fire-service suppliers and supporters.

Hayter has volunteered at Camp Bucko and at other burn camps for kids. His enthusiasm and passion are widely respected among his colleagues, who clamour to get a spot in the over-sold bonspiel.

Hayter shuns the spotlight but his peers and Camp Bucko supporters know how much time and effort he puts into the event.

As one Facebook friend put it, “Patty, you’re a gem.”
Written by Maria Church
Firefighters with Barrie Fire and Emergency Service in Ontario will soon be training with live fire – at home.

The City of Barrie council approved in January a five-year lease of land owned by Innisfil Hydro to be used as a temporary training site for Barrie’s 144 firefighters, at a cost of about $7,500 a year.

That price tag, Barrie Deputy Chief Bill Boyes says, is a fraction of what the department forks out each year in overtime and rental rates to send its firefighters to training centres elsewhere.

“As soon as we train outside, there are huge costs just to organize a day of training for us,” Boyes said. “We figure it’s around $10,000 in overtime just for the staff; plus we have to rent the facility, which is $1,000 to $2,500 a day.”

Cost aside, the department’s decision to build a temporary training facility stems from a coroner’s inquest into the 2002 death of Barrie firefighter Bill Wilkins. The inquest recommended more live-fire training opportunities for firefighters across the province.

“From fire fighting to technical rescue to hazmat, we just need somewhere that’s close so that we can do it. This will make it easy to get firefighters there on a regular basis and cycle crews through,” Boyes said.

Barrie Fire plans to purchase portable training props for its temporary site, such as sea containers stacked and used for live-fire exercises, as well as trench rescue equipment; many of these will eventually complement a permanent training facility, which is planned for construction in the next five to seven years.

Firefighters from neighbouring department Innisfil Fire and Rescue Service will also have access to the temporary training site 20 days of the year.

“It’s huge for us,” said Innisfil Chief Jon Pegg on behalf of Innisfil’s 17 full-time and 96 volunteer firefighters. “Like everybody in the fire service, it’s tough to find live-fire training time so the fact that we have it in our own back yard is fantastic.”

Barrie Fire also plans to rent the facility out to neighbouring departments in Simcoe County.

While the department originally hoped to include a driving track on the temporary site, a condition of the lease was that the land be returned back to the hydro company as close as possible to its original state.

The temporary site is expected to be operational for a number of training activities by the summer.
Written by The Burnaby News Leader
Feb. 26, 2015, Burnaby, B.C. - Mediation settled nothing in contract negotiations between the City of Burnaby and its firefighters so it's on to the next step in the process, arbitration. The Burnaby News Leader reports. | READ MORE
Written by The Orangeville Banner
Feb. 25, 2015, Orangeville, Ont. - Calls for service to Orangeville’s fire department heated up in 2014, but the increase isn’t breaking records. Last year, the fire department responded to 1,377 calls for service, an increase of 87 calls compared to 2013. The Orangeville Banner reports. | READ MORE
Written by The Ottawa Citizen
Feb. 24, 2015, Ottawa - Ottawa has a new man in charge of fighting fires. On Monday, the city named Gerry Pingitore, a nearly four-decade veteran firefighter, as the new chief of Ottawa Fire Services. He replaces John de Hooge, who retired a month ago after five years in the job. The Ottawa Citizen reports. | READ MORE
Written by Maria Church
When the Orillia Fire Department in Ontario set out to build its new fire station in the city’s south end, there were two main goals in mind: to replace the aging, centrally located station, and to keep tradition alive.

In late November, the department officially moved into its new digs, which Fire Chief Ralph Dominelli proudly describes as a beautiful building that mixes the old and the new.

The centrepoint of the new building is the bell tower built in 1875 for Orillia’s first fire station. “We’re still displaying our 1875 bell,” Dominelli said. “That was very important in the whole design; making it look like a traditional fire hall and bringing a lot of history with it.”

The new hall replaces Orillia’s former downtown station, which was originally built in the 1950s as a tool and die shop. It will no longer be used by the service.

“We outgrew the old building. It wasn’t really made for a fire hall, we just made it work and it worked well for years,” Dominelli said.

The new 2,100-square-foot (195-square-metre) station complements the city’s north-end station, which was built in 2007. The new building is of post-disaster construction – meaning it is built with brick and stone – and includes four double-deep, drive-through truck bays, and an SCBA clean room.

Now with a south and north station, Dominelli said, the department’s response times have improved and are closer industry standards.

The facility, which is located in a residential section of the city, includes a safe haven – a term used to describe a vestibule area in the lobby that is open 24 hours a day and locks from the inside. The idea is to shelter anyone who is being chased and provide a phone to call for help.

Orillia Fire Department employs 40 full-time firefighters, 20 volunteer firefighters, three prevention staff, a fire chief, a deputy chief and an assistant chief of training and emergency management.
Written by Maria Church
Shooting and editing professional video is too difficult and expensive for volunteer fire departments, right? Not according to the Guelph/Eramosa Township Fire Department in Ontario.

A video project does, however, take some hard work, courage and a bit of luck, explains Bernie Liebig, a captain and fire prevention officer with the department who spearheaded a video series called Fire Prevention Corner.

“Don’t be afraid to try it. It’s an excellent way to get the community involved,” he said.

Liebig started the video project in late 2012 after he reconnected with an old friend, Colin Smith, who is a professional videographer.

“We put two and two together and decided this would be a great way to show our community how to be a bit safer,” he said. The department lucked out with Smith, who offered his videography services free of charge.

“He refuses to take any money for it,” deputy fire chief Richard Renaud said. “When we’ve offered, he’s said, “No, this is my way of giving back to the community.’”

Ryan McTaggart, a firefighter and fire prevention officer with the department and the talent in the videos, said departments considering producing a video series should make the extra effort to find a hook for the audience.

“You’ve got to do something in the video that is going to catch their attention,” he said. In a video aimed at promoting awareness of green lights used by volunteer firefighters, McTaggart said the hook was in filming a family driving distracted, but still pulling over for the volunteers. Other videos have or will be shot in unique locations, such as a haunted house or a movie theatre.

Watch the Fire Prevention Corner videos here.
Written by Maria Church
Jeff Slager has been in fire prevention for 12 years and says he has never experienced an adrenaline rush from his job – until November, that is.

Slager, a fire prevention officer for the Woodstock Fire Department in Ontario, learned that his department responded to a fire at a home in which, less than two months earlier, smoke alarms were installed thanks to his Fire Prevention Week program.

The fire, he learned, was safely put out with limited damage because of the alarms.

“You know when you’re on the trucks and the bells go off and it gets your adrenaline pumping, and you say, “Yes, we did a good job”? I had one of those moments, finally,” he said with a laugh. “I hadn’t had one of those since I came off the truck.”

Slager designed the department’s fire-prevention program around partnerships with local pizza parlours in the city. During Fire Prevention Week, firefighters tagged along with pizza delivery teams and surprised residents by paying for their pizza and checking for working smoke alarms.

Over seven days, the department hit up 11 residences. Only one of those residences was found without working smoke alarms.

“It was the only address that didn’t have working smoke alarms at the time,” Slager said. “We set them up, and our inspectors stopped by the next day to ensure they were up and to talk to people about the importance of it.”

As a result, all residents of that home were safely evacuated during the fire and damage was limited to one room.

Woodstock Fire Chief Scott Tegler said he’s happy to support his fire-prevention members and proud of their achievements.

“It’s not all the time we get a chance to associate such efforts to such a positive outcome,” he said. “We are so happy that it worked out and everybody is safe.”

The program itself was a huge hit with the community and a big part of that was social media. The department kept people updated on its surprise pizza visits using Twitter and Facebook.

Slager said he hopes the momentum from the close-call news will allow him to implement a similar program to run year round.
Written by The Calgary Herald
Dec. 15, 2014, Calgary - Calgary has a new fire chief: Steve Dongworth, a longtime member of the Calgary Fire Department whose resume includes a variety of roles in municipal fire and emergency services over 35 years. The Calgary Herald reports. | READ MORE
Written by Maria Church
Dec. 3, 2014 – A total of 21 volunteer firefighters and one deputy chief from New Tecumseth Fire Rescue in Ontario were recognized last week for their long service, eight of whom have served 20 years or more.

“This year,” New Tecumseth Fire Chief Dan Heydon said, “we were able to recognize a couple members with 30 years of service.”

Broken down, two members were recognized for 20 years, four for 25 years, and two members were applauded for 30 years of fire service in Canada.

As well this year, 14 volunteers were recognized for serving either five, 10, and 15 years within the New Tecumseth department.

New Tecumseth Fire Rescue serves approximately 34,000 residents with three fire stations and 123 volunteer firefighters.
Written by Maria Church
Nov. 12, 2014, Perth County, Ont. - A volunteer department in Ontario is using professional video as a tactic to spread public awareness of carbon monoxide safety.
Brock Township Fire Department in Ontario shows its support for the Hawkins-Gignac family and carbon monoxide awareness week – held for the first time this week in Ontario – by wearing T-shirts that read: Change 2 - Simple Steps That Save Lives.

Brock Township Fire Department, Sunderland Station 8-1
Written by The St. Catharines Standard
Oct. 24, 2014, St. Catharines, Ont. - St. Catharines has a new fire chief following the recent death of Mark Mehlenbacher. City council officially appointed Dave Wood as the city’s new fire chief at a special council meeting Wednesday evening. The St. Catharines Standard reports.
Written by Maria Church
Oct. 20, 2014 - The women’s auxiliary in Langford, B.C., wants to know if it’s the longest-running women-only firefighters’ support group in Canada.
Written by Maria Church
It’s almost that time of year again when firefighters are asked to put down their razors and grow wonderful or wacky whiskers for The Great Canadian Fire Challenge! All money raised goes to the Movember Foundation, which funds men’s health programs and promotes awareness of prostate and testicular cancer and mental health.
Written by Maria Church
Oct. 10, 2014, Simcoe, Ont. – Firefighters in Ontario’s Norfolk County are teaching residents in retirement homes how to better prevent fires. First, though, they’re serving the seniors lunch.
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