Written by Sean Kingswell
Firefighters are exposed to myriad dangerous circumstances.
Written by Arjuna George
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.  
Written by Julie Fitz-Gerald
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.
Written by Jason Clark
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.  
Written by Gord Ditchburn
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.
Written by Grant Cameron
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.
Written by Jayson Koblun
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.
Written by Arjuna George
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.
Written by Jason Clark
Twenty-five sets of bunker gear hang along the back wall at our station, each with a nameplate for every member of our department. Some of our senior crewmembers have put in over 30 years of service and are still active in training, responses and community involvement. On the other end of the spectrum, the newer members with less seniority take the racks at the end of the wall furthest from the door.
Written by Arjuna George
Sometimes we all need some direction on how to act and what to do. We often find ourselves creating mission and vision statements that are long, generic, and uninspiring. To help set your compass, Mark vonAppen, a California captain and founder of the Fully Involved blog, has created four simple rules he calls the Big 4. His concepts have spread like wildfire through the service.
Written by Arjuna George
I have had the great privilege of being part of the fire service for two decades. Over the last 20 years I have grown, and cultured an understanding about people, service, leadership, management, medicine, and of course fire fighting. In this business it’s all about giving, and making the fire service better. In turn, the service provides you with rewards and life skills that are priceless.
Written by Arjuna George
For the past 20 years, I have been responding to tragic incidents and comforting those in need during their worst days. In April, my wife, Cathy, and I were literally in the eye of the storm. We were on vacation in Australia as Cyclone Debbie struck. As an emergency responder, this experience provided me with some amazing insight and confirmed some best practices that are integral to emergency management.
Written by Jason Clark
Every morning I get into my vehicle, turn the key and, due to years of engineering behind the internal combustion engine, my ride starts up and I’m on my way. I then drop in at the local coffee shop, where pleasant and observant staff start making my regular order before I reach for the change in my pocket. I never think about saying “Sue, the coffee process is running top-notch today.” Maybe I should.
Written by Jason Clark
It was probably five years into my firefighting days when I showed up to the station for a call and was one of the senior firefighters present: there were no red helmets and no whites to be found just yet, just a bunch of yellow-helmet firefighters looking to go on a call and get the job done. Someone had to ride up front with the driver. The hot seat, as it is so often referred to, was the last one to get filled. So I thought to myself, I can work a radio and I can read a map, so how hard can it be to run a truck? So I jumped in.  
Written by Jason Clark
I remember, from when I was young, the deafening sound of the fire-station siren piercing the quiet town’s ambiance. You couldn’t mistake this siren for a train; you knew the firefighters were responding to an emergency. I would watch the green lights from the vehicles from across the creek that ran behind our house; it was so quiet I could hear the car doors slam as one by one the responders would show up to the station and get on the trucks. A few moments later the diesel engines rumbled out to the ramp and I could see the flashing red lights of the trucks making their way onto the street. While watching the convoy of fire trucks I remember saying to myself as a 10-year-old boy, “I’m going to do that.”

So the ball was set in motion from a young age. Fresh from college and pretty much thinking I had the world by the tail, the department was recruiting so I thought I would throw in my application and give back a few years of community service. It was February 2007 when I started as a probationary firefighter at my hometown volunteer station. If you told me as a rookie that I was to be promoted to acting captain and then captain in seven years, I would have laughed and said “I’m not going near the front hot seat.”

My station has 25 personnel assigned to it; I think most of us seem to forget that we were all the newest members of the department at one point or another. Even if you have academy training, or come from another department or station within the municipality, you still are tasked with learning names, truck numbers and where everything is.          

I’m here to tell you when you promote up and take a new helmet colour, chances are you are the newest member again but in a whole different world. I promoted up after my wife constantly wanted to know when I was going to apply to become a captain. There were many excuses and many reasons (no good ones, just ask her!) and I talked myself out of the application process. I was comfortable riding in the back, facing backwards and being a worker bee. But deep down I was tempted to take a look at what the front seat had in store.

It was 2014 when the chief notified me that I was officially taking over a vacant posting as an acting captain that I had applied for previously. Many different feelings came over me when I saw this. I knew I was ready for the position, but it felt like stepping into the batter’s box. I needed to put some numbers on the board, so to speak. I wondered how the other firefighters would react to me switching helmets, especially the ones who had more years on the fire department than I had on this Earth (literally).  

I honestly can’t say that everyone was shaking my hand and helping me move my gear down to my new locker with the other officers, but I felt that I had earned the respect of most of the firefighters on my
department and to this day I think that’s true. I know I can sit down and shoot the breeze with our oldest member and walk away with something from the conversation. The department you work for has a buffet of knowledge to offer from your various members; try to fill your plate with as much of that as you can. I have members on my department who have been fighting fires for more than 40 years and some for just a few months, but there is a valuable perspective that can be taken from each member.  

To the newly promoted officers or even the ones who are thinking about the process of promoting in a volunteer department: your role in the fire service will change. You will probably be judged on your past experience, years of service or even age by your peers. Be prepared for more paperwork. Be prepared to read more and educate yourself on your own time. And if you get the nod to step up to a new, higher rank,
tighten up your batter’s gloves, step in the box and get ready to swing away. That front officer’s seat looked like the next step to me from the back of the truck and it wasn’t going to fill itself.

Jason Clark has been a volunteer firefighter in southwestern Ontario since 2007. Having recently made the transition to captain from firefighter, Jason has had a new perspective on roles in the fire service and riding in the front seat. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   or twitter@jacejclark

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