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Scholarship established for public safety research in B.C.


December 10, 2010
By City of Surrey B.C.

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Dec. 10, 2010, Surrey, B.C. – A British Columbia fire service conference, organized by the city of Surrey and the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), raised $30,000 to support public safety research.

A British Columbia fire service conference, organized by the city of Surrey and the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), raised $30,000 to support public safety research.

The Managing High Rises: A Systems Approach for the Fire Service symposium was held on Sept. 15 at the Justice Institute of British Columbia. Approximately 175 members of the B.C. fire service and related fields attended the conference, which promoted the use of best practices and fact-based decision-making to establish systems for managing high-rise incidents.

Proceeds from the symposium will be used to provide a $5,000 research grant and to establish the City of Surrey Fire Research Endowment – the first scholarship fund in British Columbia that specifically supports public safety research.

Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis noted that the research funds are a natural fit with the conference, which shared the successful system Surrey developed for managing high-rise fires through research by the UFV’s Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at City University of New York.


“We held the conference to share best practices and to reinvest into other like initiatives in fire practices that don’t currently exist,” said Garis, an adjunct professor at UFV's School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

 endowment
(L -R) Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis, Councillor Barbara Steele, Councillor Linda Hepner and Mark Evered, President of UFV.


“Research funds are hard to come by. This funding creates a place to have independent, credible third-party work done in terms of answering questions. It will be there forever, and as the endowment grows, so will the body of research,” Garis added.

The research funds also relate to Transforming the Fire/Rescue Service, a report submitted to the Provincial Government in late 2009 with the intent of modernizing and transforming the fire service.

The report was produced by the Fire Services Liaison Group (FSLG), representing stakeholders with direct interests in British Columbia’s fire service. One of the 14 recommendations urges the creation of a fact-base of research, trends, issues and best practices to support effective decision-making by B.C. governments and the fire service.

“We’re very pleased to see some concrete action being taken to achieve the report recommendations,” said Steve Gamble, FSLG chair and president of the Fire Chiefs’ Association of British Columbia. “We congratulate the city and UFV for stepping up and taking this step towards creating a safer province.”


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