Fire Fighting in Canada

Features Blogs Editor's Blog
Of black boxes and other things

Nov. 19, 2008

As we speak we’re putting together the December issue of Fire Fighting in Canada, in which writer James Careless pulls together everything we need to know about changes to NFPA standards and what those changes mean for departments for 2009. You’ll see the story in the magazine and on the website in a few weeks.

November 19, 2008 
By Laura King

I found the results of our most recent online poll about the installation of “black-box”-like
data recorders in fire apparatus pretty enlightening. Almost 82 per cent of
those who responded to the poll said they agreed with the move; 14.3 per cent
said they disagreed and 3.9 per cent were undecided. The data recorders can
tell if all firefighters in the apparatus have fastened their seatbelts, how
fast the truck was going while it responded to a call, among other things.

I first
heard about the data recorders in July at the Maritime Association of Fire
Chiefs conference, in a sweltering theatre in beautiful Lunenburg, N.S., from guest speaker and apparatus
guru Mike Wilbur. From the reaction in the room, it was the first most of the attending
chiefs and officers had heard about the data recorders too. Some were surprised
but many thought it a good idea, even though it’s likely to be a long time
coming for most rural departments that can’t afford new apparatus, or even

You can
check out Wilbur’s website:


– –

morning, I search Google and a dozen or so other places for news to post on the
home page of our website and there’s always plenty of it: fires; rescues;
line-of-duty deaths; and stupid things people do. I know that sounds harsh but
a short story about a fire in Mississauga, Ont., yesterday made me shake my
head in disbelief. Here’s the top of the story from the website:

It was just nuts. A pot of cashew
nuts, to be exact. Mississauga fire crews suspect a pot full of cooking oil and
cashew nuts left unattended on a stove started a blaze that destroyed an
east-end home this afternoon. More than 20 Mississauga firefighters responded.

I know
that as firefighters you spend a lot of time righting the wrongs that people do
every day but losing your house after leaving a pot of nuts boiling on a burner
is rather beyond comprehension. Nuts to that.

Print this page


Stories continue below