Steam: What you need to know

Steam: What you need to know

A primer on the dynamics of steam. By Lance Bushie

Fit for Duty: October 2018

Fit for Duty: October 2018

How do you ensure you are balancing the strength, endurance and power requirements of your job? Cross-training is an excellent approach. By Sherry Dean

Mind over matter

Mind over matter

Michael Laughlin knows about perseverance. He overcame a horrific snowmobile accident in 2007 and is back to work as Canada's first above-knee amputee. Read his story of recovery and perseverance. By Julie Fitz-Gerald

Share it. Don’t wear it.

Share it. Don’t wear it.

B.C. campaign promotes positive mental health. By Gord Ditchburn.

Extrication tips: October 2018

Extrication tips: October 2018

Firefighter Chad Roberts shares how important it is to take a moment and think about what is laid out in front of you as firefighters begin an extrication.

Is there something right now that you know you need to do, but are putting off? What just popped into your head? Why is it that you’re avoiding doing whatever that thing is that you know you really should have done by now?
Firefighters have inherently tough and dangerous jobs. That’s a given. They put their lives on the line each and every time they don their gear and respond to a blaze or emergency.
Firefighters on the front lines battling wildfires are often away from their families for long periods of time. But now, they’ll be able to connect and read bedtime stories to their children via a new free app. Veteran U.S. firefighter Brendan McDonough has teamed up with digital storytelling app, Caribu, to create the Caribu Firefighter Family Initiative. The app connects firefighters and their families via an expansive digital library with hundreds of children’s books in six languages. Caribu is an interactive video-call app that provides a way to read books together on a shared screen to keep the tradition of bedtime stories alive no matter the distance Caribu is donating free month-long subscriptions of its digital education platform to firefighters, their families and those affected or displaced by ongoing wildfires. The subscriptions are available to firefighters across the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. McDonough used to bring a book to read to his daughter over the phone while he was traveling fighting fires. In a recent television interview, McDonough, sole survivor of the Yarnell Hill Fire tragedy of 2013 and inspiration behind the 2017 film “Only The Brave,” relayed how reading bedtime stories to his young daughter on the road gave his morale a boost. “While fighting wildfires, we would be gone from home constantly,” said McDonough. “Being able to read to my daughter at night kept me motivated. I support the Caribu Firefighter Family Initiative because I want to help bring that small, but really important experience, to firefighters and their families.” Upon hearing McDonough’s story, Caribu CEO Maxeme Tuchman was moved to act. She quickly realized that her innovative technology could solve a real and urgent need for firefighters on the frontlines and immediately wanted to do something to help. “We’re so proud to be able to show our support for the firefighters that are dedicated to our safety and keeping the wildfires at bay,” said Tuchman. “We offer free access to all active members of the military; it just made sense to do the same for wildland firefighters who are also away from home for long stretches of time. If Caribu can make just one part of keeping our heroes close to their families easier, we’ve done our job.” Caribu makes virtual story time easily accessible to parents. With only a smartphone and data plan or Wi-Fi, firefighters are instantly connected with their family back home through a shared screen interactive video-call. Anyone fighting in, or directly affected by wildfires, is eligible to participate in the Caribu Firefighter Family Initiative. Simply download Caribu from the Apple App Store and use promo code: BRAVE.Click here to register for the app. Click here for more information. 
I left my full-time job as an instructor at the Ontario Fire College in December 2017. After 18 months in what many would describe as a career highlight, I realized that the position just wasn’t “it” for me. I didn’t really know what “it” was, but I instinctively knew that wasn’t “it”.
Summer is here in all its warm and sunny glory…and floods and wildfires. And campfire caution. And lightening. Spring and summer bring their own unique weather and activity circumstances each year, and with it the ongoing dialogue on preparing for extreme climate events, drought dangers and fire safety messaging for the outdoor season.
During my stint as an instructor at the Ontario Fire College in Gravenhurst, one of the expectations that really impacted me was the awareness and importance of using gender neutral or gender-inclusive language in the classroom.
Training and preparation play a tremendous role in firefighters’ lives. These two activities foster an environment of mandated lifelong learning in the fire service. Canadian Firefighter’s annual Training Day, which has traditionally been held in September, has an exciting new partnership with the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC).
Last June, I began a journey that challenged, motivated and inspired me in ways that I never could have imagined. I started a new job as an instructor at the Ontario Fire College. It was everything I’d dreamed of and more, so much more.
May 23, 2017, Oakville, Ont. - My average day involves sitting in front of a computer, editing stories, and lots of coffee. What it doesn't involve is crawling through smoke, cutting up cars or running hoses. But the day I spent at the Oakville Fire Department was not an average day.Before I suited up in editor Laura King's gear, I was given a truck tour and shown around the training facility. The alarm went off and the firefighters had to race off to a nearby school. It seemed as if it took no more than 30 seconds for the guys to suit up and drive off.It probably took me 15 minutes to put on my turnout gear. Just as I was feeling comfortable in the gear, and feeling the weight of the SCBA on my back, Training Officer Darren Van Zandbergen slipped a smoke-simulation screen into my helmet and I was once again uncomfortable . . . and essentially blind.I never realized how little is visible through smoke. I assumed some light would peek through; crawling on the floor feeling my way around walls and fallen beams I realized how wrong I was. It was nerve-wracking to blindly feel my way through the training building, but ironically it was an eye-opening experience.I have edited Extrication Tips columns for Canadian Firefighter, but I finally got to experience what it's all about. The tools were much heavier than I expected, my previous extrication experience having been limited to on paper. It was tough, but I managed cut through the windshield and the sedan door.By the time I attended the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs conference that weekend, I felt I had a better understanding of the job. I was enrolled in the municipal officials seminar and attended a training day at the Fire & Emergency Services Training Institute (FESTI) in Mississauga.That day I spent in Oakville made me seem like a total pro at FESTI, so many thanks to everyone in Oakville!With "KING" on my back and looking like a pro, a few people at FESTI asked if I was from the King City Fire Department. Funnily enough, I was born, raised and still live in King City. What a way to represent my hometown!There's only so much you can learn in front of a computer. Getting out from behind my desk was one of the most valuable experiences to help me edit the work of fire chiefs and firefighters to the best of my abilities. I have so much more to learn about fire, but hopefully with your help, Fire Fighting in Canada and Canadian Firefighter readers, I will get there. I'll never be able to understand the ins and outs like you do, but it's worth trying.I feel really lucky to be able to report on the fire industry. Even more so, I feel lucky that I can edit knowing that I am safe because my local fire department has that under control. After each training session, I was reminded not to take emergency services for granted.So, the least I can do is bring relevant and informative stories to the fire service industry! Let me know what matters to you as a fire service professional? What do you want to read about? I am looking forward to learning more about the industry as an assistant editor, and maybe I will get to attend a few more training sessions in the process.Lauren Scott is the assistant editor of Fire Fighting in Canada and Canadian Firefighter magazines. Contact her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
May 18, 2017, Toronto - A firefighter with experience in water-ice rescue testified Wednesday at an inquest examining training deaths that he avoids exercises in icy, swift water because it is too dangerous.
Jan. 19, 2017, Toronto -  It’s complicated, this two-hatter issue. But the gist of it is this: an American-based trade union is denying its members the freedom that other Canadians have to work and do what they want in their spare time – build decks, plow snow, fix plumbing, be volunteer/part-time firefighters in their home communities.The union – the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) – on Monday tried four of its members who work full time in Mississauga, Ont., and also work part time¬ in Halton Hills, a community northwest of Toronto with a composite fire department.The IAFF constitution prohibits secondary employment – it forbids firefighters from working part time in another union shop (as firefighters, paramedics or public-safety officers), and members who do so are disciplined for violating an oath. Oddly, the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association allows, by its own count, about 1,000 of its members to work as paramedics, without reprisal. Monday’s session ¬– an internal trial board hearing ¬– was closed; Mississauga’s past union president Mark Train, who sometimes represents the union in legal matters, declined to discuss details, saying the process has not concluded and, “as such I will not comment on the matter.”The hearing started and ended Monday but the trial board has a period of time during which to mete out penalties. One of the four firefighters on trail admitted to violating the IAFF constitution and resigned Monday night from the Halton Hills Fire Department. The penalty being considered for the other firefighters is a $1,000 initial fine followed by monthly levies of $500, and another $500 for every six months during which the part-time activities continue – a fairly blunt deterrent. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the union would revoke the two-hatters’ memberships, thereby potentially affecting their full-time jobs; most collective agreements require municipalities to employ only firefighters who are associatin members, and the IAFF has pressed towns and cities to terminate firefighters who have been dismissed from the union.The Halton Hills firefighters represented themselves at Monday’s hearing – legal counsel was not provided; in fact, the municipality is eliminating two-hatters through attrition, and has declined to hire two hatters for its part-time roster since 2011 in anticipation of union action.That’s in contrast to Caledon, Ont., a large, composite department with 22 unionized career firefighters and more than 250 volunteers. Some Brampton firefighters who work part time in Caledon received letters from their locals in the fall, making it clear that there would be repercussions if they continued to respond to calls as two-hatters. Some two-hatters handed in their pagers but the issue is ongoing. Town of Caledon management is supporting the two-hatters and providing legal counsel. And that may lead to the test of Bill 109, which was introduced by the governing Liberals and passed in 2016; it amended Ontario’s Fire Protection and Prevention Act to include a non-discrimination clause meant to ensure that full-time firefighters can also work part time in their smaller, home communities. But there’s politics at play. Ontario’s IAFF members, of course, roundly backed Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals during the 2014 provincial election; if Bill 109 is, indeed, tested, and holds up to scrutiny, that sea of support could evaporate. While the IAFF is American-based, the two-hatter issue arises only if charges are laid by a member of the offending firefighter’s home local, or by someone else affected by the two-hatting activity. I’m at a bit of a loss to understand how unionized firefighters in Mississauga are affected by their colleagues’ part-time employment in Halton Hills, but maybe I’m missing something.And, in what seems to be a conflicting philosophy, the OPFFA’s fire-paramedic proposal would allow members who are both firefighters and paramedics to administer symptom relief to patients at medical calls; critics claim the plan is simply a way to ensure firefighter jobs. Read between the lines.
Jan. 4, 2017, Slave Lake, Alta. -  Run of the mill calls, or are they?It was 10 p.m. on a cold Wednesday night in November and the tones went off for a vehicle fire in the southwest part of town. Just another vehicle fire, I thought. Upon arrival our Lesser Slave Regional Fire Service duty officer (someone covers the area 24/7 with a command vehicle that goes out before crews) saw a small amount of smoke coming from the front of a vehicle that was crashed into the front of a mobile home. The calls to the hall were hurried and crews could tell that the situation was more than a typical vehicle fire. With temperatures at -23 C and the wind 30 km/h out of the northwest, this was destined to be a cold fight.On arrival, firefighters hurried to their positions and started the attack on the SUV fire that by now (seven minutes into call) was starting to spread into the corner of the mobile home it was smashed into. With the SUV and the trailer on fire, a second hose was deployed and more resources were called to the scene. This particular mobile home was located in a tight cul-de-sac and parking was at a premium – the structure was flanked on one side by a house and on the other by an open lot (which firefighters had been at the previous month for a struck gas line). The firefighters started dousing the flames in the vehicle, while the second crew set up for the mobile-home fire. Just as things were getting really exciting, a most peculiar thing happened . . . the SUV started rolling down the driveway and out into the road, slowly at first and then picking up speed as it left the driveway and went out into the cul-de-sac. This flaming vehicle headed past firefighters with flames dancing, and ended up just 10 feet from the side of our brand new, $500,000 custom-cab truck!Firefighters standing by tried to slow the roll, and firefighters moved hose lines and attacked the fire with new vigour as the very truck that brought them was threatened. At the same time, the mobile-home fire had reached the soffits (plastic no less) and moved into the attic space. On this newer style mobile home, the new, vaulted ceiling left small, cut up, awkward attic spaces and the fire was hard to follow.   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.cdnfirefighter.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleriabfaa586171 The weather made every attempt to stop us, freezing up masks, turning water to ice to get the vehicle moving backwards, freezing up nozzles and firefighters alike. Command ordered an aggressive interior attack and vented the attic space and pulled drywall ahead of the fire. Firefighters held the fire at the halfway mark despite the overwhelming weather odds, and the close call out front. Insulation froze to everything, leaving firefighters looking like half-plucked chickens. Masks were frozen, and were later removed while overhaul continued (there was great air movement and all smoke and off gassing was removed by natural ventilation). Firefighters tried seeing through iced and fogged visors and safety glasses but, in the end, two were treated for debris in their eyes. Not a great outcome and as many judge, others who know and have been there understand.As the fires were brought under control, the investigation started and as weird as this call was, the reason it started followed right along. A kid in the house (14 years old) with a learner’s driving license, had decided that a trip to the store (three blocks away) had to be by SUV on this cold night. After warming the SUV, she decided to back out of the driveway – while the SUV was in drive. After slamming into the mobile home, she ran inside and alerted the other occupants. As the others were leaving, the SUV had already caught fire. Hard decision after hard decision combined with freezing temperatures, and wind that blew right through us, made this a fire for the record books. Seventeen firefighters on four trucks spent three hours gaining an upper hand on these fires. Many rotating shifts and a crafty crew familiar with cold-weather events got us to this positive outcome. It didn’t hurt that we had spare gloves, toques, and Tim Hortons to keep us warm.To me the lesson this night was be prepared – have dry clothes, bad-weather SOGS, and firefighters who can adapt quickly and efficiently. Calls like this should remind us all of those long cold nights on which the satisfaction of a job well done, and the community of the fire service, are all that can keep us warm.Jamie Coutts is chief of the Greater Slave Lake Regional Fire Service and a regular contributor to Fire Fighting in Canada / Canadian Firefighter. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it @chiefcoutts
Firefighters are exposed to myriad dangerous circumstances.
I have often thought that the topic of firefighter training can be broken down into several distinct categories.  In my system of thinking, each category is unique from the others by the general timeframe at which the training is occurring in the firefighter’s career.  The first category is mentioned often in my Tim-bits columns – recruit school. Here, we are taught the basic fundamentals of firefighting theory and practice. The next category occurs immediately after recruit school is complete. I call it probationary training. This unofficial and undefined period is where the boots meet the road, where new firefighters use the skills taught in recruit school and apply them to real-world situations and station life. This is the period when the new folks learn there is the “book way” that they learned in school and the “real-world way” or the way it’s done at a particular firehouse.  This is often a time of great eye opening for the new folks when they realize that their pre-service education didn’t teach them everything they need to know.  With their opening-day jitters well behind them, the firefighters pass into my system’s next category – the continuing education phase. This category will encompass the remainder of their fire service career, if they choose to dedicate it to constant learning and improvement. Here, the firefighters will have an opportunity to expand and fine-tune their knowledge and skills in engine-company and truck-company functions, vehicle rescue, other technical rescue specialties, firefighter survival, RIT, driver-operator, fire instructor, fire officer, etc. One thing important to note about my system of training categorization so far is that it focuses on the individual. The individual takes courses and certification examinations to hopefully become increasingly more capable at various incidents. Fire departments, in turn, embrace the individual who has the determination to learn more and foster that education by holding regular company-level drills that build teamwork and allow individual firefighters to develop into more effective teams. The next category is company or department development. If your department is like my volunteer department, company or department development drills are often held once per week on a weekday evening. At best, we get two to three hours of training time, which includes setup and cleanup. It is during this critical time that firefighters can realize the expectations that will be demanded of them as they work in a team or department-wide setting at real incidents.But my department found that these two to three hours just weren’t enough to give our firefighters what we desired. By the time we get into things, it’s time to clean up and go home. We realized there were two things missing with our weeknight drills – more time to train and live fire. We quickly realized that the most dangerous thing we were asking our firefighters to do was something we hadn’t trained them on for a long time – fight interior structure fires. We contacted our local fire academy and enquired about running day-long training for our department using the academy’s facility and its class-A burn building. It was determined that since we only wanted to commit to a single, eight-hour day, none of the standard fire academy classes fit our needs. The academy agreed to rent its facility so we could conduct live-fire training that fell into compliance with NFPA 1403, and it agreed to provide the instructors and fuel – at a relatively low cost.  We picked a weekend day a few months out and met and worked with the instructors to develop a curriculum. Once finalized, the morning schedule included topics on basic fire control, search and rescue practice and pressurized watercan use. The afternoon schedule consisted of realistic scenarios that mimicked a few of the fires that we had faced in recent years.  During the morning schedule, we made sure everyone had an opportunity to practice the fundamentals of what we expected of them at real fires – all that they had learned in their recruit, probationary and continuing educational periods.The afternoon scenarios put it all together. The scenarios were run as “roll-in” drills, with an actual dispatch and staggered response of the apparatus – just like it happens in real life. Because we had instructors to manage the safety and instructional aspects of the drills, our company and chief officers were able to focus on their incident command and company leadership skills. We had created an opportunity to train as we actually fight fires – but in a controlled and relatively safe manner. Our firefighters did it our way, as a cohesive and familiar group. The day was a great success. If a fire academy training facility is within your reach, I encourage you to look into setting up a departmental-level training and development day.Tim Llewellyn is a firefighter for the Allegheny County Airport Authority in Pittsburgh, Pa., and an instructor for a number of fire academies and training faculties. Contact Tim at
What are the key ingredients to an effective and cohesive fire department? It cannot be left to the sole responsibility of the fire chiefs to lead the organization. It really comes down to effective leadership of every member, on every level.  
Michael Laughlin knows about perseverance. The 37-year-old overcame a horrific snowmobile accident in 2007 that resulted in 33 pins and screws holding his left side together, including a titanium forearm, femur and kneecap.
Most firefighters like myself have been around when a new apparatus or other piece of equipment comes into the hall. A lot of times when we receive a new fire apparatus, we go out on the streets of our district, drive it around and work with it in different capacities.  
If the image on the right seems familiar, you may already know about the awareness campaign aimed at first responders in British Columbia called “Share it. Don’t wear it.” These particular images and words were chosen to represent the mental health challenges firefighters face in their day-to-day work.
Are you looking for new ideas on how to best position yourself as a leader in your community and your fire department? Wondering how to effectively influence in your administrative and interpersonal endeavours? Join Fire Fighting in Canada for an exclusive free webinar on Wednesday, Aug. 22 from 2 to 3 p.m. with Lyle Quan, retired fire chief and emergency services and risk management principal at LPQ solutions for 30 years. Lyle is the co-author of Leadership Prescribed 2.0 — A Handbook for Fire Service Leaders, written alongside retired chief Les Karpluck and serving as an updated and expanded version to the original Leadership Prescribed edition published in 2013. Lyle was the commissioner of community services and fire chief for the City of Waterloo, Ont. He completed two degrees, a Bachelor of Business in Emergency Services and Bachelor of Education (adult education). He has helped many in a teaching capacity through his posts as an instructor at Dalhousie University, Lakeland College, Emergency Management Ontario, Ontario Fire College and most recently the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management. Click here to register for the webinar.
Social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube have been lovingly embraced by a large number of Canadians, nearly 23 million to be exact, young, old and every age in-between.
The Dawson City fire department, led by Fire Chief Jim Regimbal, is a great example of how an all-volunteer department can work well, be efficient and do its best to keep its community members safe.
No one likes to see an ‘out of service’ tag on broken down items that are awaiting repair, especially in the fire service. Sometimes tools or apparatus are taken off the line due to lack of maintenance, an overlooked issue or an unforeseen problem. Either way, the equipment needs to be fixed quickly and efficiently to be placed back into service ASAP.
Senior fire officials and human resources professionals gathered to discuss labour challenges, diversity and changes to legislation at the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs’ (OAFC) Labour Relations Seminar in January. The seminar was presented in partnership with labour and employment law firm Hicks Morley from Jan. 17-18 in Toronto.
Some of the world’s most successful people all have one thing in common: they are all fanatical readers. Reading provides a multitude of benefits to your personal life and your career. Before I joined the fire service, I was far from an avid reader, but once I found my calling and developed a strong passion for the trade, reading was easy. Reading became interesting and it was fun.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is not just an old adage that mom or dad would use to try to get you to eat something before running out the door first thing in the morning.
Examining firefighting as a sport and firefighters as athletes helps to assess the kind of training regime to improve performance. No two calls are exactly the same, so it’s logical to consider we aren’t required to have the same fitness demands for every incident.
Full disclaimer: This will start much like another negative article from within the PTSD bubble. But, fear not. For within the “bad” presented below there is a hope; a hope to break free, a hope to break through and perhaps a hope to avoid the bad altogether.
Simply doing a workout isn’t enough. Injury is a fact of life for firefighters. However, some injuries can be prevented with better body mechanics. There are some very important questions around how to train properly. How do we know if we are moving well? Is appropriate movement only important when we exercise? How do we adjust poor movement patterns?
Summer is an exceptional time of year to be a cook. Markets and gardens are bursting with gorgeous fruits and vegetables in their prime. Here is my comprehensive guide on how to buy, store and prepare Canadian produce.
Core is and always has been a buzzword in the fitness world. That being said there is often a lot of confusion about what the core actually is. A lot people think it’s their “abs”. In fact, the rectus abdominal muscles are one of a long list of muscles that make up the core. The core is essentially anything that stabilizes your spine. Everyone has core muscles on their front, back and side.
The Hamilton Fire Department in southern Ontario responded to a challenging fire at St. Peter’s Hospital last November.
What is fitness? It means different things to different people and can be activity-specific. For example, a fit triathlete and a fit baseball player are two very different athletes. Some would consider a “fit” person to be someone with a high level of general fitness, while others might consider sport performance and proficiency to be “fit”.
As I am sure we are all aware, fire fighting is one of the most dangerous jobs on earth. We give so much of ourselves to others in their time of need, and in consequence, we are often exposed to high levels of physical and mental stress during our shifts. Unfortunately, this leads to higher rates of illness and injury among firefighters than the general population. In a profession where culture change can take an excruciatingly long time, firefighter mental and physical wellness has not gone unnoticed. The issue is quickly moving to the forefront, and is now a major focus in many fire departments. First responders are much more likely to develop a mental disorder than the general Canadian population, a 2017 study published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry found. It is an issue that absolutely needs to be addressed and action can’t come fast enough. Education in firefighter health, behavioural wellness and self-care has been taking shape on an international level. The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) has taken huge strides in promoting overall wellness. IAFF programs such as the Peer Fitness Training Program and Peer Support Training Program are available to all members, especially ones who might be struggling with any life/work issues. All firefighters should be able to enjoy a happy and productive work/life balance and these programs provide the tools to help prepare us for the high demands of the job, and life in general. I had the privilege of sitting in on the IAFF Peer Support Training course offered in Toronto in late January, and it was amazing to see my brothers and sisters from departments  across Ontario all sharing the same concern: some of our members are struggling. Issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, substance abuse and suicide are impacting our membership across the province. During this course we learned how to help our members cope in times of need, find appropriate professional help if necessary, and how we can provide personal support. We are so used to helping the public, but what happens when one of our own needs us? We have to be ready and able to help our colleagues in an instant. If we think of optimal behavioural wellness as a puzzle, the perfect configuration of good mental and physical health, then there is one more piece to unite the two: nutrition. Not for a second do I proclaim to be a nutritionist or dietitian, but I think we can all agree on these notions: If I eat more fruits and vegetables, I will be healthier. If I eat more whole grains, balanced/whole foods, I will be healthier. If I stay away from processed, high fat/sugar foods the majority of the time, I will be healthier. If I eat in moderation, I will be healthier. If I cook my own meals, I will be healthier. These are facts, plain and simple. I have found in my public speaking engagements at fire departments that firefighters want good food and simple nutrition. They want tasty, balanced meals, no fad diets, nothing complicated, just real food that provides the energy we need to face life’s obstacles, both on the job and in life. The body of evidence linking diet and mental health is growing at a rapid rate.  Australian scientists found high-calorie diets consisting of nutrient-poor, processed foods are associated with increases in depression and other mental disorders, in a 2014 paper published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology. Studies show that those with balanced, nutrient-dense diets report lower levels of mental health issues compared those with poor diets. What we eat plays an important role in our mental and physical health.If we can put all of the pieces of the puzzle together, then I think firefighters will be on the right road to living long, happy and healthy lives. If we can utilize the physical fitness and mental resiliency tools at our disposal as firefighters, hopefully we can maintain our bodies and minds throughout our careers and into a happy and healthy retirement. I believe if we link the two components of optimal behavioural wellness with proper nutrition then the puzzle will be complete.Firefighters would do absolutely anything to help keep each other safe at a fire scene, so why would daily life be any different? As a united membership, we can make a difference. I have included three healthy recipes to ensure members in your fire hall or home are all eating well-balanced, nutritious, and of course, delicious meals. Let’s eat well and stay safe.   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.cdnfirefighter.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleria011c2c9e4c Sous-vide carne asada and grilled veggies with chimichurri sauceFor the steak: 3 bulbs roughly chopped garlic 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 8 large limes) ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice 1/4 cup clear tequila 1/4 cup soy sauce 1 bunch roughly chopped fresh cilantro, leaves and stems 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced 1 teaspoon cumin powder 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper and kosher salt 1 Ziploc sealable bag 1 1/2 to 2 flank steak 1 tablespoon butter For the veggies:  ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons grape seed oil 3 red bell peppers, seeded and halved 3 sweet potatoes (about 1 pound total), sliced lengthwise into ¼ inch-thick rounds 3 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into ½ inch-thick rectangles 12 cremini mushrooms 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed 12 green onions, roots cut off 12 small tomatoes Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 cup bocconcini cheese Chimichurri sauce for serving, recipe follows Combine the garlic, lime juice, tequila, soy sauce, cilantro, jalapeno, cumin, black pepper and salt in a re-sealable plastic bag. Add the steak and let marinate at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes.Prepare a water bath to 131 degrees Fahrenheit using a precision cooker tool.Using the water immersion method place the flank steak into the heated bath and set the timer for 90 minutes. When the 90 minutes is up, remove the steak from the bath and pat dry with paper towel. Season with salt and pepper and using a cast iron pan brushed with one tablespoon of avocado oil sear the flank steak over very high heat for about a minute or two per side. Add the butter and baste the steak in the last few seconds of cooking. Remove the steak from the pan and allow to rest while you grill your veggies.Heat your grill over high heat. Brush the vegetables with ¼ cup of the oil to coat lightly. Sprinkle the vegetables liberally with salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill the vegetables until tender and lightly charred all over, starting with the sweet potatoes for about eight to10 minutes; seven minutes for the peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms; and four minutes for the asparagus, green onions and tomatoes. The key to getting those great grill marks is to not shift the vegetables too frequently once they’ve been placed on the hot grill. To plate, place vegetables on a large platter, slice the steak across the grain and lay on top of the vegetables. Scatter bocconcini cheese around the vegetables and steak. Drizzle the entire platter with chimichurri sauce and enjoy!StationHouse Chimichurri Sauce 1 cup lightly packed parsley ½ cup lightly packed cilantro   3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves 2 tablespoons green onion, white and green part minced 3/4 cup grape seed oil 3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar 3 tablespoons lemon juice Place all chimichurri sauce ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well chopped, but not pureed. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Place in a glass screw top Mason jar and use on everything!Grilled halibut with blood orange quinoa saladFor the salad: 3 blood oranges 8 thin slices fresh ginger ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil ¾ cup quinoa 1 ½ cups vegetable stock ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 2 teaspoons honey 1 small jalapeno, minced (with seeds for maximum heat if preferred) 2 green onions (both white and green parts), minced 1 shallot, minced ½ cup black beans, rinsed 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves Freshly ground black pepper For the fish: 2 pounds skinless halibut cut into 2-inch cubes Steel skewers Peel two of the blood oranges reserving the peel and segments separately. Warm the blood orange peels, ginger, and olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the oil starts to bubble, after about two minutes, remove from heat. Set the oil aside to steep while you prepare the rest of the dish. Strain and reserve the oil.Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa in a bowl and drain. Put the quinoa in a small saucepan with the vegetable stock and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Set aside off the heat, for five minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl and fluff with a fork. Juice the third blood orange over a bowl, there should be roughly about two tablespoons. Whisk the orange juice with the vinegar, honey, and salt to taste in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in three tablespoons of the reserved blood orange oil then season with pepper to taste.  Toss quinoa with the dressing, jalapeno, green onions, shallots, black beans, and cilantro. Slice the reserved blood orange segments in half and add them to the salad.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.For the halibut, preheat a grill to high heat. Thread the halibut cubes onto the metal skewers. Season the halibut skewers with salt and pepper and brush with some of the blood orange oil. Grill the skewers, turning as each side browns, basting with the orange oil, about three minutes per side. Place halibut skewers on top of quinoa salad and enjoy!Super greens & aged cheddar soupIngredients 1 head broccoli 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 cup diced onion 1 cup diced celery Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper 2 tablespoons minced garlic 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves 1 cup Brussels sprouts, halved 1 cup packed spinach 1 cup chopped packed kale 5 cups vegetable broth 1 cup shredded old white cheddar 2 teaspoons fresh grated lemon zest Smoky pepitas for serving, recipe follows Diced avocado, for serving Smoky Pepitas 1 cup pepitas (or 2 cups sunflower seeds) 1 tablespaoon avocado oil ½ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ teaspoon cumin ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika Cut the broccoli florets from the stems and roughly chop the stems into ½ inch pieces.Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high. Add the onion, celery, and broccoli stems. Lower the heat to medium, and season with salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables slowly until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes longer.Add the thyme with the broccoli florets, Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes until all the vegetables are very tender.Purée the soup with a hand blender until smooth. Add the aged cheddar a handful at a time stirring constantly to incorporate it. Add the lemon zest and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve garnished with smoky pepitas and diced avocado. Enjoy!Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.Place the pepitas into a bowl with the oil and spices and then toss to coat. Spread the coated pepitas onto a baking sheet and then place in the oven for six to seven minutes until toasted. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container until ready to use.Patrick Mathieu is an acting captain at Waterloo Fire Rescue in Ontario. Mathieu is the author of Firehouse Chef: Favourite Recipes from Canada’s Firefighters, published in 2016. 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For firefighters, fitness and well-being is one of our top priorities. There are many reasons why a firefighter should take care of his or her well-being, including performance, survival, customer service and more. That being said, a top motivator should be injury prevention.
As I sit down to write this article, a lot of big things are happening in my life. My beautiful wife is 32 weeks pregnant and our home is under renovation. Throw in work, kids and activities and my deadline for this article has well passed (sorry to my very patient editors).
Phil Badanai is a fighter. At 44 years-old, he is a firefighter, military veteran, international athlete, a proud father and recent grandfather, overcoming a series of physical and mental health challenges along the way.
I have been looking at the mayday function of firefighter survival in the past few issues and how important it is to the survivability of each firefighter.
In previous articles, I have discussed the need for live-fire training and given readers a deeper understanding of what heat is. In this article, I will delve into the interactions of steam and how it interacts with fire extinguishment and can cause burns to a firefighter.
We’ve all heard the sayings throughout our careers in the fire service like, “Take a minute to make a minute,” and, “Work smarter, not harder,” or even, “Try before you pry.”
Registration is now open for the 2018 Firefighter Training Day being held Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018 at the GTAA Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute (FESTI) at 2025 Courtneypark Drive East in Toronto. The day-long program gives volunteer, part-time and full-time firefighters the opportunity to expand their training and enhance their skills. Active members of volunteer/career fire departments are welcome to participate (with their chief’s approval). Training is free. The event is sponsored by FESTI, Fort Garry Fire Trucks, FLIR, Canadian Firefighter and Fire Fighting in Canada.Click here for the website.Click here for the registration page.
This month I’m going to address something that is quietly making a big change in the auto manufacturing industry. While often forgotten about on most scenes, this vehicle component can cause major issues for our patients and the changes that are happening will either help or hamper us depending on how it is dealt with.
Whenever a mayday is called, it is for an emergency that requires help. The hope of the caller is that when the message is received by another person, help will be sent or given. In the fire service we use this term as a way for the firefighter to call for help.
It was a brisk morning in early spring when a conscientious jogger happened to run past a home where the smoke alarm was sounding. Through the early morning mist, he could hear the telltale beeping that signalled trouble.
Firefighters must understand what heat is and different heat phenomenon like heat flux and heat release rates to understand how to stay safe. In the past five years, new research has changed how firefighters think about fire growth, spread and extinguishment.
In looking back at Extrication Tips columns from the last year, we’ve managed to touch on a back-to-basics approach for auto extrication, a system for controlling extrication (SHADE), and a two-part patient care series.
In the January issue of Canadian Firefighter, and part 3 of this series, we looked at taking the necessary action step of orientation. Now, we are going to look at the second action step, which is communication. Communication allows the incident commander (IC) to address the rescue situation as well provide the rapid intervention team (RIT) with the information they need to successfully rescue the firefighter.
Sometimes we need to be taught a lesson or two, and sometimes the crucible of fire does just that. It’s long been said in the fire service that we should learn something from every call we attend. One memorable fire in particular taught me several valuable lessons I needed – this is what I learned from getting burned.
When  firefighters call for a mayday, they are informing everybody that they need help. Whatever the situation may be, they are in need of assistance and the first step is to call a mayday.

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