Fire Fighting in Canada

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OAFC hires Richard Boyes as COO

July 20, 2012, Toronto - A former president of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) has been hired to help the organization and the executive better serve members and manage the increasing workload.

July 20, 2012
By Laura King

The OAFC
announced Friday that Richard Boyes, who was the association’s president from
2007 through 2011, has been chosen from among several applicants to be the
chief operations officer (COO). Boyes was widely touted as the frontrunner for the job.

OAFC president Kevin Foster said Boyes is familiar
with the operations and tasks of the OAFC, having served extensively on its
board.

“Richard will also be developing a set of member-support
services to be made available to OAFC members,” Foster said in a press release
Friday afternoon. Foster said the OAFC hopes to launch some of these new
services at the OAFC’s midterm meeting in November.

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Boyes was
the fire chief in Oakville, Ont., from 2005 until 2011, in Sarnia, Ont., from
1997 through 2005 and, before that, in Alliston, Ont., a volunteer department. In a surprise move in June 2011, Boyes was let go by the Town of Oakille with little explanation. Boyes
has continued to actively serve the fire service as a coach and mentor for
aspiring firefighters through R.D. Boyes Consulting Canada, as a columnist with
Fire Fighting in Canada, and as chair
of the Canadian Governmental Committee of FEMA/FEMSA. Boyes has been instrumental in linking the committee
with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC). Both organizations are
working with Ottawa to attain federal funding for the fire service.

Boyes,
who is an electrician by trade, was an adviser to the Ontario Office of the
Fire Marshal from 1991 until 1997. His LinkedIn profile notes that he is “known
as a strategic thinker with an ability to lead in a multi-stakeholder
environment.” Boyes lists among his skills and expertise fire protection,
emergency management, life safety, disaster response and code enforcement.

Foster said in an interview Friday afternoon that the OAFC has
conducted considerable research on several major issues the Ontario fire
service has faced in the last few years and has gathered information about
areas in which members could benefit from additional support.

He said fire chiefs have requested assistance with media relations,
understanding policies and determining next steps in the legal processes, for
example.

Foster said incidents that led to firefighter
injuries and fatalities, situations in which charges were laid by the Ontario Ministry of
Labour under Occupational Health and Safety legislation, and an inquest into
fatalities at a seniors home in Orillia, Ont., are examples of issues that have
consumed time and energy of OAFC staff and board members.

According to the job posting for the COO, part of the role is to “connect with OAFC members regularly on
current and emerging issues and [provide] support to members on issues.”

The
OAFC’s announcement comes the week after the CAFC posted its executive director
position. Former and longtime CAFC executive director Don Warden retired  in October. The CAFC is looking for an
Ottawa-based candidate with credentials in business or public administration.
The deadline for applications is Aug. 17.