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Editorial: January 2009

The New Year’s editorial. Wait! Don’t run. I promise no top 10 list, no best and worst of 2008, no big, dramatic resolutions. Having said that, the start of a new year is a good time for change, reflection and looking ahead.

January 7, 2009
By Laura King


Topics

The New Year’s editorial. Wait! Don’t run. I promise no top 10 list, no best and worst of 2008, no big, dramatic resolutions. Having said that, the start of a new year is a good time for change, reflection and looking ahead.

First, the changes. Longtime CFF contributor Aaron Brouwer is finding his new gig as a full-time firefighter in Prince George, B.C., leaves little time to write his quarterly Fit for Life column. We hope he’ll still write occasionally about fitness issues for us and we wish him well in his job. We’ll introduce a new fitness and nutrition columnist shortly.

Meantime, Tim Beebe, the fire chief in Upsala, Ont., takes over the back page of CFF with his formerly online column, Spontaneous Combustion. Tim’s wry sense of humour and his ability to turn every happenstance into a thigh-slapping but enlightening story makes him a valuable addition to our magazine. You can read Tim’s inaugural CFF column on page 42 and see his earlier online stories at www.firefightingincanada.com (click on web exclusives).

Vern Elliott, who has written the Between Alarms columns for a year or so, also has many plates in the air. His final column ran in October but Vern, being the resourceful guy he is, introduced us to Jesse Challoner, an EMT who has been with Strathcona County Emergency Services in Alberta for 2.5 years and is completing the two-year paramedic program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Jesse’s first Between Alarms column, in which you’ll discover his passion for his job, is on page 36.

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Now, some reflection. The news business is cyclical, regardless what kind of news it is. There’s a rhythm to our industry, too. Fire prevention. Training. Budgets. Political awareness. The issues aren’t seasonal, but they become familiar. The themes recur in the pages of this magazine, never exactly the same, but each issue hopefully being advanced and explored more deeply, or more innovatively each time.

The big development in 2008 for us at Firefighting in Canada was our website. About a year ago we overhauled our site. Given the proliferation of digital technology, we wanted not just to keep up but to stay ahead of our readers in the way they want to consume information. The website is updated every weekday with breaking news from across the country that we think is relevant and interesting to you.

We developed a weekly digital newsletter with links to stories and news for you. You can read our content on a PC or a Blackberry or in the magazine, at home or at the station or on the road. Our site brings us more ways to reach you, faster, with more information, than ever before. We know you’re using these information pipelines and that’s good. It makes us part of your routine. It helps to make us a town hall for the industry where issues can be aired out, where hot buttons can be pushed.

One of the best things about the digital era is the ease with which readers can communicate with us – post a blog item, comment on a blog item, send an e-mail on something you saw on the site or in the magazine or in the news, suggest a topic for a story.

Looking ahead to 2009, I’d like to hear more from more readers. I’d like to see the site come alive with debate and comment. I’d like people to start the conversations that they have with me in the spring and summer at provincial and regional conferences online so others can participate.

We’re lucky to have an educated, articulate and motivated readership. The industry – all of you – would be even better served by using our website for interactive industry participation. We win because we learn instantly what’s on your minds. You win because you hear other points of view.


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