From the Editor: January 2018
By Laura Aiken
As I sit to write this letter in my new role as editor of Canadian Firefighter, I find my fingers doing more drumming than typing in considering what to say. I am not a rookie editor, but I am a rookie in your field and a happy one at that.
I am grateful for the opportunity to be of service and learning the ropes of what matters to the fire industry.
There are many issues that could be commented on; hot topics like two hatting and how the paramedics and fire service work (or don’t work) together. I am learning about these subjects and I am sure you have thoughts on them for you will always be the expert I am learning and gathering information for.
What comes to mind as I turn drumming into keystrokes is the common ground we have in being a part of industries that are changing. Suffice to say, the internet and all things multimedia have fundamentally morphed the work of a journalist into one who plays a content orchestra, rather than a single instrument (paper). It seems as though the role of the firefighter has expanded in similar ways. Your job is about much more than fire suppression. Firefighters have built new skills through auto extrication and there is a growing need for medical training when firefighters are first on the scene. In Vancouver and Surrey, B.C., firefighters learned how to give the overdose-reversing drug naloxone to incidents of opioid OD. Naloxone is now being offered to Ontario firefighters. In this edition, we learn about a new study that sees firefighters helping heart health in their communities. Firefighters do far more than just fight fires; their skills play quite the safety symphony.
Fire departments are being called on to lead natural disaster efforts beyond wildfires. Flooding and general emergency preparedness are fast becoming part of the municipal toolkit fire departments are depended upon for.
Fire prevention and public education remain of critical importance. There may be less fires these days, but they are certainly no safer.
While the role of the firefighter may be changing, its position as a role model is steadfast. Most parents’ homes (including mine) have fire truck toys. Firefighters live large in the imagination of children. The popular animated children’s series Paw Patrol features Marshall the fire fighting pup as one its major characters, which goes to show kids still identify strongly with firefighters.
Firefighters are revered for bravery, for helpfulness and for easing the way on the worst days of people’s lives. Fire fighting is a respected and essential profession, one whose members are considered heroes.
No matter how the fire service changes, the essential nature of firefighters as leaders and role models stays the same. Be true to this sentiment, and you will always find it within yourself to be able to change and grow with the times.