Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Editor’s Blog

Laura King   

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May 7, 2012 - Ladders Up for the Foundation rocked! Congratulations to M&L Supply’s Mark Prendergast, FFIC’s Catherine Connolly and the organizing committee members whose countless hours of prep work resulted in a rockin’ band, a room full of fire chiefs, training officers and firefighters, and $26,500 for the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation! (There will be photos – stand by as we iron out some technical difficulties!).

Honestly, we weren’t sure how the inaugural Ladders Up event would turn out, but with plenty of promos, e-blasts and a bit of arm twisting Saturday at the Oakville Fire Department’s training centre – where a few dozen firefighters were being put through their paces along with FFIC assistant editor Olivia D’Orzaio – we filled the room, raised a chunk of money through the online and silent auctions and raffle ticket sales, and, I think (I’m an objective observer – others worked hard on this labour of love – I just wrote promos!), hit it out of the park.

Ladders Up was Mark’s brainchild after bidding on, and winning, a fabulous 9-11 helmet at Stop, Drop, Rock ‘n Roll in Indianapolis in 2011 and challenging friends and colleagues to bring a similar event to Canada for the CFFF. Anyone who knows Mark knows of his passion for the fire service and his commitment to excellence. Ladders Up was no exception. Congratulations!!

Call it baptism by fire! FFIC assistant editor Olivia D’Orzaio spent the weekend putting into practice everything she has read in the columns and stories she has edited for our magazines in the last two months.


Thanks to Hamilton Fire’s Don Sherren for putting Olivia through the paces – full bunker gear and SCBA, auto ex, nozzles, ventilation, entrapment, self-rescue . . . as part of the the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs/Ontario Association of Fire Training Officers conference this week in Toronto.


In Olivia’s words, it was the best day of her professional life! And yesterday, Olivia spent the day at the Toronto Fire Academy, once again gearing up and doing auto ex, vehicle fires and the smoke house.

Don the training officer says Olivia asked more questions than a whole class of rookie firefighters. That’s why we hired her!

There was a great turnout for Toronto Fire Services Chief Bill Stewart’s retirement dinner Thursday night (it’s been a bit of a whirlwind of social and work events since then!). Division commander Lorne Buckingham, who was the emcee for the entertaining slide show of Chief Stewart’s life/career and was decked out in his mess kit including the requisite TFS plaid cummerbund, which, apparently, is less-than-favoured by some TFS members. I’m told Buckingham’s reference to the end of the plaid-wear coinciding with the end of Stewart’s career didn’t go over so well with the outgoing chief, who prefers the kilt to the mess kit for formal occasions. (Lest you think these retirement dinners are stuffy and dry!).

The  OAFC elects its executive and board members at its 60th annual conference this week. Generally, the elections are ho-hum, with few, if any, bodies offering to fill vacancies – everyone’s busy, you know how it is.  Not so this time. There are rumblings of several nominations from rural Ontario – volunteer departments staffed by full-time chiefs – where chiefs, departments and municipalities are involved in a coroner’s inquest over fire fatalities and two court cases. Ought to be an interesting business session or two!

The OAFC trade show continues this afternoon. Yesterday was browsing day; today is buying day. The conference carries on Tuesday and Wednesday with presentations from Fire Marshal Ted Wieclawek, Rick Lasky, FFIC columnist and Waterloo Chief Lyle Quan, and Vancouver Chief John McKearney on the occupy situation last summer. Slave Lake Chief Jamie Coutts presented this morning, with amazing pix from the May 2011 wildfire that consumed the town (Coutts also speaks at FDIC Atlantic in Wolfville, N.S., in a few weeks – luckily for me, his presentation doesn’t conflict with mine on social media!).

Heading to the trade show . . .

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