Fire Fighting in Canada

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Sparky is Smart … and he’s got the car to prove it

August 2006 - Ontario - Sparky the Fire Dog is getting around in style

December 14, 2007
By BRENDA STONEHOUSE

August 2006 – Ontario – Sparky the Fire Dog is getting around in style after the City of Kawartha Lakes (Ont.) Fire Rescue Service partnered to provide him with a brand new Daimler-Benz Smart Car. The car is the result of a partnership with Stewart Morrison Insurance Brokers and Dominion of Canada Insurance and is the first of its kind in Canada.

“It's another tool in our tool box," says Kawartha Lakes Fire Chief Dave Guilbault, “it will allow our fire prevention staff to interact with both young and old to get the message out to everyone about fire safety.”

Guilbault came up with the idea about a year ago and approached Marlene Morrison Nichols of Stewart Morrison Insurance Brokers with the concept. “I agreed to support the project right away because it helps to promote safety messages and is a good fit with our business,” said Morrison Nichols. “We support fire prevention efforts which will result in stable, lower insurance premiums for everyone.”

The three-cylinder diesel vehicle gets 24 kilometres to the litre (70 miles to the gallon) and was decorated as a Dalmatian dog by AutoTrim Design in Lindsay. The car has been outfitted with lights, sirens and even a helmet. “It will definitely get a lot of attention,” says Guilbault.

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The car will also be used as part of an ongoing "Smart" Sparky campaign. The campaign will feature various fire safety messages including, “Sparky says, be smart … test your smoke detector” and “Sparky says, be Smart … practice your home escape plan.”

The vehicle will be featured throughout the year at local events, parades, through the Risk Watch program, and when fire prevention personnel make presentations to schools and homes for the aged. It will also make the rounds to the 21 fire halls in the municipality for special events.

Guilbault stressed the importance of partnerships to the fire service. "This is another project that was made possible through our business partners. We are lucky to have such generous community minded businesses to work with.”
“This is a fun way to deliver a serious Fire Safety message,” noted Chief Guilbault.

Brenda Stonehouse is the communications officer for the City of Kawartha Lakes, Ont.