Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Lessons from a five-year-old

Laura King   

Features Blogs Editor’s blog

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tim Vandenbrink lived up to his billing yesterday at the Maritime Fire Chiefs Association conference here in Yarmouth, N.S. Tim, the assistant fire marshal in fire protection for Edmonton Fire Rescue, does for fire/life safety and public education what Billy Goldfeder does for firefighter safety and Alan Brunacini did for incident command.

Tim’s presentation
– during which he often jumps up and down on stage and can make a bunch of fire
chiefs belly laugh like little kids – is a must see with a wake-up call to make
public education a hands-on experience instead of a we-talk-you-listen affair.
The best line, asked to a five-year old during stop, drop and roll lessons:
What would you do if your clothes were on fire? I wouldn’t put them on!

to the new executive members of the MFCA, who were acclaimed during business
sessions yesterday. Corner Brook Chief Neville Wheaton returns for a second
term as president (after two years as past president), with first vice
president Allan Duchesne of Halifax Regional Fire, second vice president Chief Vince
MacKenzie of Grand Falls-Windsor, N.L., and sergeant at arms Charles Kavanaugh
from Grand Falls, N.B.

executive has some challenges ahead – the MFCA floundered after its executive
director resigned in 2008 and it has struggled with its finances. Outgoing
president Bernie Turpin has done an admirable job navigating some fairly rough
waters (sorry, we’re in Nova Scotia – can’t resist the ocean clichés) with the
support of a strong executive and regional directors including the unflappable
Rob Simonds, the chief in Saint John, N.B. and the first vice president of the Canadian
Association of Fire Chiefs. The combined experience and involvement of the new
executive at the national level, and their
commitment to bolstering the MFCA and refreshing its mandate to become a strong
voice for the eastern Canadian fire services and the need for better funding
from all levels of government, promises better days ahead.


With a break in the MFCA schedule today in advance of tonight's closing banquet, I'm heading to
Museum of Nova Scotia – a landmark here on
in Yarmouth. I’ll post photos later in the week when the technical issues on my laptop are resolved!

On an
entirely different note, every member of the Oliver, B.C., fire department has
agreed to accept a two week suspension as punishment for the removal of six
beer kegs from a burning hotel – even those who didn’t respond to that
incident. The suspensions will be served in rotation to make sure there are
enough volunteer firefighters to respond to incidents. You can read the full
story here.

Oops, one last thing. The Acadian group Grand Derangement played last night at the Mariners Centre in Yarmouth. This part of Nova Scotia is rich in Acadian history and culture and it's a pet peeve of mine that so many Canadians are not aware (because they weren't taught in school) of the expulsion of the Acadians, or Le Grand Derangement, from Nova Scotia in 1755. Take a minute to read about it here on Wikipedia and if you ever get an opportunity to hear this band of young, unbelievably talented musicians and dancers, bring your best Acadian accent and be prepared for a foot-stompin' good time.








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