Fire Fighting in Canada

Watch now: The EDI Celebration Series – Episode 2 with special guests Chief Susan Henry and Chief Sherry Colford
April 21, 2021 at 1:00pm

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The second installment of the EDI Celebration Series was broadcast live on April 21 at 1:00 pm EST. For April’s event, Susan Henry, Chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) and Sherry Colford, Fire Chief for St. John’s Regional Fire Department, shared their career experiences and recommendations for increasing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the fire service.

The EDI Celebration Series is a program of the CAFC in collaboration with Fire Fighting in Canada through a generous grant from the Motorola Solutions Foundation.

Episode 2


Susan Henry, Chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA)

Susan Henry was appointed Chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) in 2020 and has been with the City since 2001.

Prior to this role, Susan was the Deputy Chief of CEMA since 2015, where she was second-in-command. She was responsible for disaster risk reduction, community education and outreach and business continuity. She also provided leadership to Canada Task Force 2, an all-hazards disaster response team, in turning it into one of the leading six heavy urban search and rescue teams in Canada. In addition to creating national and international relationships, Susan was also responsible for the management, training, development and deployment of over 150 highly skilled volunteers.

Susan has played key leadership roles in the 2013 Southern Alberta floods, wildfires in Chuckegg Creek, Fort McMurray and Slave Lake, the flooding in St. John, and supporting the City’s response to COVID-19.

Prior to her tenure in CEMA, Susan was a firefighter with the Calgary Fire Department, rising to the rank of Assistant Deputy Chief.

Susan holds a Master’s of Science in Emergency Management from Jacksonville State University, is a certified emergency manager with the International Association of Emergency Management, received the Medal of Honour for her role in the 2011 Slave Lake wildfires, and is a past winner of the Emergency Management Exemplary Service Award from Public Safety Canada.

Susan was born and raised in Calgary, has a passion for long-distance running and is an adventure traveler.


Fire Chief Sherry L. Colford, St. John’s Regional Fire Department

With over 21 years’ experience in fire and emergency services and the private industry, Sherry carries extensive experience in conducting financial, organizational and operational reviews of a company’s structure. As Fire Chief & Director of Regional Fire and Emergency Services, she is responsible for managing the overall operations of the St. John’s Regional Fire Department, which consists of six Divisions, eight fire stations, approx. 200 firefighters and 30 support staff.

As part of her previous roles as manager, 911 & Fire Prevention and Management Analyst, she also provided management advisory services regarding how to effectively and efficiently use financial and physical resources in order to assist the department in the attainment of goals and objectives.

From August 2013 to February 2015, she held a position as the director of the 911 Project for Fire and Emergency Services (FES-NL), through a secondment with the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.  This position was for an 18-month period and she was responsible in leading a 911 team on such core components as the implementation of province-wide 911 services and the establishment of a NL 911 Bureau Inc.

Sherry’s education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Russian Language from Memorial University, and certification in NFPA Firefighter Level II.


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