Written by Shayne Mintz
How well do your public-education efforts protect your citizens in public-assembly buildings?
Written by Samantha Hoffmann
There are differences among public education, public information and public relations.  But the differences are often blurred, so before we can understand public education, we need to look at the definitions of all three.
Written by Phillip Shuster
Baby boomers, generation J, generation X, boomers II – these are the generations into which most of you reading this probably fit. While you all have unique habits and tendencies, sociologists have uncovered some generalized experiences of members of these generations that have helped to shape who you are today.
Written by Samantha Hoffmann
While the heat and humidity of summer seem distant during the dreary days of November, now is a great time to plan for seasonal activities that showcase your department’s staff and fire-safety initiatives.
Written by John Kobarda and Paul Voegtle
Paul Voegtle – Location Analytics Specialist, Esri Canada
Several years ago Fire Chief John Kobarda of the London Fire Department in Ontario reasoned that a fire department is really no different than a private company. After all, fire departments offer a service (public safety) to customers (the public), and regularly engage in marketing (fire-safety communications). Could firefighters, then, borrow strategies and tools from private-sector marketers?
Written by Tanya bettridge
May 2016 - Fire departments across the country rely on provincial or territorial statistics and provincial or territorial, national or international solutions. The more people a community has, the more incidents will occur. If the No. 1 problem in your province is cooking fires, it is likely more reflective of what goes on in major cities than in remote or rural communities.
Written by Phillip Shuster
May 2016 - Does your fire department’s public-education program work? If you think it does, can you prove it?
Written by Maria Church
March 2016 - Public educator Tanya Bettridge has been to several seminars for her job over the years, but the latest one was different.
Written by Tanya Bettridge
February 2016 - A shift is happening in the required skill sets of fire-service personnel: firefighters need to be more high-tech than ever, and non-suppression personnel are moving up the ranks. The fire-breathing dragon of the past is long gone, replaced by new challenges such as lightweight construction and alternative energy sources.
Written by Shayne Mintz
It’s that time of year again, when fire departments should start thinking about wildland fire awareness and Wildfire Community Preparedness Day.

I know it seems odd that a discussion about wildland fire should begin in the dead of the Canadian winter, but very quickly winter turns to spring, and spring to summer, and – if the proper conditions develop – in many places across Canada that means wildland fire season.

According to Natural Resources Canada, wildland fire consumes an average of 2.3 million hectares per year and causes millions of dollars in damage, not just to the forestry industry but also to residential and municipal properties. Wildfire responds quickly to fuels found in the forest, grasslands or backyards, and without proper mitigation and landscape management it will burn homes and any other vulnerable structures in its path.

Kelly Johnston, the executive director of Partners in Protection, said unless Canadian communities take action, the threat of wildfires will only become worse.

“Wildfires have always been a natural process in Canada’s forests,” Johnston said. “However, as we experienced in 2015, a changing climate, increasing large fire activity and increasing development trends create a serious threat throughout Canada – putting neighbourhoods, communities and firefighter safety at risk every year.”

Wildfire is a part of natural ecosystems, however, interface situations can occur in all but the most heavy urban environments. It is important that fire services and their communities recognize that wildfire isn’t just limited to municipalities with towns built within or nearby heavy or dense forests. Wildland interface exists in many more settings such as urban forests, municipal green spaces, farms and recreational areas such as cottage or camp communities. Any place where trees, tall grasses, crops or natural vegetation grow and shed annually should be considered as fuel load that when coupled with an ignition source from human or natural activity all contribute to a wildfire risk.

Wildfire management has traditionally been the purview of provincial ministries that work with Natural Resources Canada and co-ordinate with the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers. However, there is a growing expectation that municipal structural firefighters will be trained and prepared to respond to and extinguish wildland fires that may or may not impact homes and structures that belong to local taxpayers. There is a great opportunity here for local fire services to take the lead by participating in the second annual national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on May 7.

The national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day program centres around the promotion of wildfire community protection awareness activities. This day is an excellent public-education opportunity for fire services to help community members recognize the hazards of wildfire; suggest ways they can mitigate or prevent wildfire from impacting their community; and teach them ways to minimize any damage done.

Partners in Protection Association (the non-profit organization behind FireSmart Canada), in partnership and support from the NFPA, the Co-operators Insurance Group, the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction and several provincial natural resources ministries have pooled together $23,000 to award communities that organize Wildfire Community Preparedness Day activities.

Beginning Jan. 25 through to March 12, anyone 19 years or older can apply for an award to conduct wildfire-preparedness activities or events. There will be a total of 20 nationally awarded and 14 provincially awarded $500 prizes available. Acceptable projects should focus on reducing the risk of wildfire in a community through education, hazard reduction or advanced-preparedness activities. Projects may include working with neighbours to clear leaves and other combustible debris from gutters of homes and buildings, raking leaves and combustible debris from under decks, moving woodpiles away from buildings, using a chipper service to dispose of slash or winterkill, or distributing wildfire-safety information. Groups of all sorts and individuals of all ages are encouraged to participate.

For those communities that may still have snow on the ground on May 7, it is the perfect chance to engage community members in pre-planning and public-education sessions for activities to take place when the snow is gone.

To learn more about Wildlife Community Preparedness Day in Canada and how to apply for funding, please visit, or feel free to contact me.

Shayne Mintz is the Canadian Regional Director for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Contact him at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and follow him on Twitter at @ShayneMintz

Written by Margo Tennant
As public educators we teach, but we are always learning from our audiences. To get our messages across, we need to understand our audiences and determine the best ways to reach them.
Written by Maria Church
A partnership between Regina Fire & Protective Services and a family-advocacy agency has helped to reduce the number of child-caused fires in the city.
Written by Margo Tennant
My department’s philosophy for making everyone a public educator is to create partnerships within our own Brampton Fire and Emergency Services.
Written by Tanya Bettridge
You know the kid: he or she is practically a woven pattern around mom’s leg, peaking out then darting back for cover. When asked a question or prompted to (heaven forbid) touch something, the chin lowers to the chest and the body twists even closer to parental flesh, as if dad will risk his life to protect against . . . a firefighter helmet.
Written by Shayne Mintz
You’re the fire chief – what can you tell me about residential fire sprinklers? Did you know the NFPA can help?
Written by
Ontario Fire Marshal Ted Wieclawek outlined to fire chiefs on Tuesday the details of proposed changes to the Ontario Fire Code that focus on fire prevention in homes for seniors and some other vulnerable Ontarians. See story below. Photo by Laura King
Written by Len Garis, Joe Clare and Karin Mark
A strategic partnership has emerged in British Columbia with the intent to reduce fire injuries and fatalities among at-risk populations.
Written by Len Garis, Fraser MacRae and Joe Clare
The number of fires and break-ins in an at-risk neighbourhood in Surrey, B.C., dropped significantly after a one-day education and safety blitz conducted by firefighters and RCMP officers.
Written by Fire Fighting in Canada
Aug. 19, 2011 – Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Texas A&M University have devised nanofiber-filled coatings that have outperformed conventional flame retardants used in the polyurethane foam of upholstered furniture and mattresses. The Polymer journal reported test results, which suggested that coating polyurethane foam with this experimental coating seems to create a fire-resistant shield on the foam. ScienceDaily reports.
Written by Sean Tracey
Over the past decade Canadians have experienced increased costs for the deployment of firefighting services. These are due in part to the increased expenses to train, deploy and equip firefighters. Cost-conscious community leaders will begin to question these costs, seeking tangible measurements of the benefits of these services.
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