Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Bragging rights

Laura King   

Features Blogs Editor’s blog

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

At the Maritime Association of Fire Chiefs conference a couple of years back, Fire Chief Vince MacKenzie of Grand Falls-Windsor, N.L., detailed the efforts of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Fire Services to lobby and educate provincial politicians about the need for funding for the fire service. Many in the crowd were stunned to hear about the positive relationship between the association and the province – after all, fire is a municipally funded service and, traditionally, provincial politicians have paid little attention to the fire service.  

Last summer, MacKenzie, who is now the president of the Newfoundland and Labrador association, proudly boasted about $152,000 in provincial grants for volunteer fire departments to help fund operations, prevention and training.

And this week, MacKenzie was rather jubilant when the Newfoundland and Labrador budget included $1.3 million for new fire trucks and PPE along with the continuation of travel subsidies for volunteer training and the hiring of a fire protection officer for Labrador.

Nice work!

A victory for the fire service in British Columbia too, where the provincial government has announced changes to
the fire code requiring private homes and hotel/motels built before 1979 to
have smoke alarms installed by May 1.

The Fire Chiefs Association of B.C. began lobbying for the
change last year and President Stephen Gamble says the association is pleased
that the government acted so quickly.


Previously, buildings built after
1979 were required to have smoke alarms.

Still in B.C., remarkably,
there have been 29 applications for fire chief for the
Township of Esquimalt, B.C., according to, including one from
Venezuela, several from the U.S. and a handful from Ontario. Which is interesting considering
that an auditor’s report that said the department was “toxic” and rife with

A new chief is expected
to be announced July 1.
Former fire chief Paul Nelson went on
administrative leave in December and retires effective April 1.


fatality of a 61-year old woman in a
Toronto fire
on Sunday hit a little too close to home. The family in the other side of the
duplex is a work acquaintance who told colleagues his smoke alarms alerted his young
family to the fire next door and he’s telling anyone who’ll listen to make sure
their smoke alarms are working. Mine are. I know this because I make my husband test
them regularly – all 10 of them.

my father is an insurance adjuster who was routinely called out to fires
started by pots of grease on the stove and other preventable situations. He would
come home smelling like smoke (there were no showers or decon units in his
office) and shaking his head. Those were indelible lessons. Hence the 10 smoke
alarms in our modest, two-storey home. Overkill? Maybe. But who cares.  



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