Fire Fighting in Canada

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Wrapping up the week . . .

Nov. 26, 2010           

For all the work the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs is doing to promote its Give Firefighters Credit campaign (, it was interesting to see the response at a mutual-aid meeting in Cobourg, Ont., last night when I mentioned the initiative.

November 26, 2010 
By Laura King

The CAFC is looking for a $3,000 tax credit for volunteer firefighters who perform more than 200 hours of service a year. 

Most in the crowd were volunteer firefighters. Most hadn’t heard of the initiative.  

So, if you’re reading this, send the link above to a volunteer chief you know and urge him to send it to his members so more firefighters will sign the online petition supporting the tax credit. Put it on your mutual-aid association’s website; add it to your Facebook profile. Get the word out! 



Generally, when I speak at mutual-aid meetings, we set up tables and chairs in the truck bay and I shout to be heard in the acoustically challenging space. Last night in Cobourg, Chief Allen Mann held the meeting in the grand concert hall of Cobourg’s historic Victoria Hall, or town hall, where in 1860 a ball was held for the Prince of Wales. Very impressive! 


Before the meeting in Cobourg, I drove to Napanee to interview acting Chief Ian Shelter about the state of the department three months after several Napanee firefighters and their families were involved in a tragic accident on Hwy 401 near London

You’ve probably heard the story about the journey home from a FireFit competition in Windsor. Five Napanee firefighters were traveling east on the 401 when their van was hit by a vehicle that had lost control. Family members and Chief Shelton traveled by bus to London to tend to the firefighters and bring them home. Then, the bus carrying the firefighters and families back to Napanee went off the road near Woodstock; the wife of one firefighter was killed and several firefighters and family members were injured.  

We’ll give more details about the impact of the events on the department – and the lessons learned from the experience – in an upcoming issue of Fire Fighting in Canada but for now we’re relieved to hear that four of the five injured volunteer firefighters have returned to their day jobs and to the department, and that the fifth is doing well. 

Acting Chief Shelter, who stepped into the chief’s role after Chief George Hanmore died in May, was injured in the crash. He was to leave today for a well-deserved and much-needed southern vacation. 


Richard Hayes is the new fire chief in Muskoka Lakes, Ont., and no-doubt will have his hands full after a bit of turmoil in cottage country. Hayes takes over from Jim Sawkins, who was let go in July after firefighters blocked the township office in Port Carling during a protest over budget cuts. You can read the whole messy story here. Hayes has been deputy chief in Tillsonberg, Ont., since 2004. 


It’s Friday and it’s cold right across the country. Last weekend there were seven structure fires in Ontario alone, including a fatality in Timmins. Here are some photos of a fire in Oakville in an unoccupied home.

Let’s hope for a quiet and safe weekend.  

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