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May 25, 2017, Toronto - Risky ice rescue courses that send firefighters and firefighting students into treacherous, fast-moving currents should be put on hold until they can be performed safely, a coroner's inquest into the deaths of two Ontario men recommended Thursday.Jurors looking into what led to the deaths of Gary Kendall, 51, and Adam Brunt, 30, in separate ice rescue training exercises said the province should convene an expert committee to determine whether such training can be carried out in swift water without endangering participants.The committee should consider what equipment, techniques, locations and standards would be required to bring the risks down to an acceptable level, the jury suggested.The jury's 15 recommendations, which are not legally binding, were issued after the inquest heard from multiple witnesses, including fire officials, over more than two weeks.Brunt's father, Al Brunt, said the recommendations brought some hope that others would be better protected in the future. But he said the real relief will come when the government adopts the jury's suggested policies."The people that are opting to get into first responders as a career deserve to be protected, deserve safety ... Just to take a training course they shouldn't have to put their life on the line and that's hopefully what these policies, once enacted, will protect going forward,'' he said outside the inquest."The closure aspect will come in time," he added.The lawyer representing Kendall's family said they were pleased to see issues that had haunted them for years finally get attention."One of the questions that came up time and time again during this inquest is whether it's possible to do this training safely at all, and everyone who testified only gave anecdotal evidence,'' Alex Van Kralingen said after the hearing.Now, he said, experts will make that call."The only sad thing for me is that we did not have this coroner's inquest after the 2010 death of Gary Kendall,'' he added."The family, as you know, asked for an inquest at the time because they felt that there were systemic issues surrounding this sort of training, which were not being properly managed. No one listened to them and Adam died in 2015.''Kendall, a veteran volunteer firefighter, and Adam Brunt, a firefighting student, died five years apart during ice rescue courses involving the same training company.Kendall died in January 2010 after getting trapped under a fast-moving ice floe in waters near Sarnia, Ont. Brunt drowned in February 2015 while trying to float through a narrow gap in the ice on the Saugeen River near Hanover, Ont.Their deaths, which the inquest jury deemed accidents, brought scrutiny to the industry surrounding private training courses for firefighters, which is currently unregulated.The inquest jury zeroed in on that industry, urging the province to create a certification system for all firefighter safetyinstructors.The province should also build and maintain a database of firefighter training courses that includes safety records and any complaints made against the providers, the jury recommended. That database should be given to all Ontario municipalities to ensure they retain certified instructors.Brunt's mother, Christy Brunt, said that information could have saved her son's life."He looked online to see what courses were the best out there and this one was one of the ones, all the kids were taking it, so he took this one, he thought it would be the best one,'' she said. "So if the accident was on there already, if Gary's death was on there, then maybe he wouldn't have taken the course.''The inquest heard that firefighters looking to learn about ice rescue practices may have no other choice than to turn to private instruction, since the Ontario Fire College suspended its own program three years ago.Jurors heard the college, a provincial body that offers training to members of municipal fire departments, has yet to replace the program with an updated version.The jury said the province should give regular reports on its response to the inquest's recommendations over the next three years.
May 25, 2017, Prince County, P.E.I. -The P.E.I. Fire Marhal’s Office has ruled two Prince County fires that occurred on the same day last week as accidental.On the morning of Wednesday, May 17, the Wellington Fire Department responded to a fire at a 1.5- storey dwelling in the western P.E.I. community of Egmont Bay. The Fire Marshal's Office ruled this fire as accidental in nature, which was sparked by an electrical malfunction in an upstairs bedroom. On the afternoon of the same day, the Alberton Fire Department was called to a structure fire at a two-storey home in Kildare, in the northwestern part of the island. The Fire Marshal's Office ruled this fire as accidental, with the origin in the recreation room on the lower level. The cause attributed to a malfunction in a piece of electronic equipment. The Guardian reports. | READ MORE 
May 25, 2017, Vancouver, B.C. -The fire season in B.C. is off to a slow start thanks to wet spring weather that didn’t ease up until last week.There are 15 forest fires currently burning in the province, but only two of those have been upgraded to wildfires of note status, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service.“On this date a year ago, we had 303 fires to date, which had burned over 90,000 hectares,” said spokeswoman Claire Allen.High winds have made life difficult for 26 firefighters battling a 200-hectare fire near Mount Robson, east of Tete Jaune Cache, B.C. The fire has not been contained, but crews are focused on just two active spot fires.A smouldering ground fire at Cooper Creek about two kilometres northwest of Lumby, B.C., has been contained at four hectares. Helicopters and airtankers doused the fire with retardant on Tuesday.The relatively low fire count is a stark contrast to last season, when dry, hot conditions led to several large fires in the Peace region. The Vancouver Sun reports. | READ MORE 
May 25, 2017, Vernon, B.C. - Cool, wet weather is helping crews who are fighting a pair of wildfires in British Columbia.
May 25, 2017, Huntsville, Ont. - The owner of the Super 8 Hotel in Huntsville and the company's director pleaded guilty to seven counts each of fire code violations under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act on May 16. CTV News reports. | READ MORE
May 25, 2017, Laval, Que. - A used auto parts store in Laval caught fire early Thursday.
July 27, 2016 - Public education at the Calgary Fire Department has gone to the dogs – and it's helping draw attention to fire-safety messages. Paul Aziz, a community safety officer with the Calgary Fire Department, shared with us a fire-safety video that stars Flint, a retired search and rescue dog. The video has already been viewed almost 1,500 times on YouTube.". . . we are finding it is getting the message across to kids as well as adults," Aziz said in an email, adding that he is more than happy to share the video with fire services across Canada.
June 24, 2016, Vancouver - Many fire departments have a diversity agenda, but few have an outreach team to help encourage diverse communities to join fire services. What can those who are not decision makers do to further diversity in our departments? How about getting a group of your fire pals together, and creating a firefighting camp for teenage girls?That is exactly what a group of female firefighters from the Metro Vancouver area did in 2011. Modeled after a similar program in New York state, Camp Ignite is an annual four-day/three-night camp in the Metro Vancouver area for teenage girls of all cultures. Now in its sixth year, Camp Ignite is organized by a volunteer committee of female firefighters and delivered in partnership with several fire departments as a co-operative instruction venture between volunteer mentors and fire department duty crews.Up to 20 teenage girls complete the program annually. Participants develop new skills such as CPR and fire-extinguisher training, and, through participating in challenging fire-training scenarios, surpass their personal expectations, explore where they thought their boundaries were, and have the opportunity to surpass them. The young women climb a 100-foot aerial ladder, rappel down the outside of a building, ride a fire truck and take a hydrant, don a full hazmat suit, use auto-extrication tools on a wrecked car, as well search a smoke house, locate and rescue a victim. Completing those tasks can help boost a young woman's self esteem, and it's something they will never forget.For the fire-department mentors, the opportunity to influence and support these young women is beyond fulfilling. To hear a young woman say that she can do anything she wants to do in this world fills a mentor with pride and helps keep the flame of passion for community service flowing. Many of these young women complete camp and want to be firefighters – how could they not!Camp Ignite not only provides young women with opportunities to empower themselves, but they have fun, make new friends, and learn from strong female role models."Over the years I have had the privilege of receiving the guidance and mentorship from many men and women across the fire service," said former peer mentor Ashley Lewis. "Programs such as the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services Youth Academy and Camp Ignite have allowed me to meet and learn from the men and women that have been my inspiration while pursuing a career in the fire service. I will be forever grateful for all the guidance I have received and aspire to be as great as the men and women who have inspired me."Fire departments involved with Camp Ignite can participate by sponsoring a camper, hosting the event, and promoting their department to young women who may be interested in pursuing a career in fire fighting. A hosting department may have up to 30 young women and female firefighters on site participating in firefighting activities.To date Camp Ignite has been hosted by 10 different municipalities in the Vancouver area with two new fire departments hosting in 2016 – Mission Fire/Rescue Service and Langley Township Fire Department. A live-fire training day is offered in conjunction with the Justice Institute of BC Fire & Safety Division at the Maple Ridge campus. The camp offers no shortage of opportunities to cultivate cultural growth in the fire service and showcase men and women working together successfully.Each year the number of firefighting camps for young women taking place throughout North America grows. In 2013, Camp Ignite hosted a firefighter from Cal Fire – California's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection – who was interested in organizing a program in her state. Camp Cinder is now in its third year in California. In 2015, a team from Spokane, Wash., visited Camp Ignite to look into starting a camp in the region. More and more people in the fire service recognize camps as an effective way to give back and be proactive in a diversity initiative.Camp Ignite provides a venue that encourages more women to explore the fire service as a career choice, whether it is directly through participation, through conversations about the camp with family, friends and relatives, or as a result of raising the profile of women and men successfully working together in the fire service.Will this grassroots initiative result in an organic increase in recruitment? Time will tell, but the young women who participate in Camp Ignite are moving into the fire services. Camp Ignite's first campers are getting serious about careers and a number of them are now volunteer firefighters, or are following a path to become first responders. Some former campers are exploring other male-dominated careers. A 2011 peer mentor, who is currently working as a volunteer firefighter, is in the final stages of the hiring process with a large career department – she will be the first participant of Camp Ignite to realize a position as a full-time firefighter.Twenty campers may not sound like a large number, but it is significant, especially in a province that currently has about 80 female full-time firefighters. Camp Ignite is successful, and the results are making a difference, yet it is just one solution in a path to a diverse fire service. More importantly, Camp Ignite is a solution brought to you by the members of the fire service who are on the front lines supporting communities each and every day.For more information about Camp Ignite, please visit www.campignite.com or follow on Facebook at CAMP IGNITE.Haida Siegmann is captain of the fire prevention office for North Vancouver City Fire Department. Jennifer Dawkins is a firefighter for Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services.
April 5, 2016 - John Uptegrove, captain and training officer for Puslinch Fire and Rescue Services in Ontario, was named the 2015 Ontario Training Officer of the Year on Jan. 6.Not long after the Uptegrove received the recognition, he served as incident commander for a devastating barn fire in Puslinch that killed 43 racehorses. The barn’s owners and the horses were well known to members of the fire department, who trained with them on large-animal rescues in 2015.The barn was fully engulfed when crews arrived, which made rescuing the horses impossible, Uptegrove explained.“Emotionally, because we’d been in those barns and walked through them, it was hard to know they’d lost those horses,” Uptegrove said. “The guys all felt sorry for the owners and trainers. It’s such a big loss.”Uptegrove has been a firefighter for Puslinch for 29 years, and said he enjoys training new firefighters. His advice for new trainers is to get educated and informed about the challenges in the fire service and the unique needs of each department.“Training is near and dear to my heart,” he said. “I want to make sure everyone goes home at night.”Uptegrove was awarded his distinction by the Ontario Association of Fire Training Officers during the annual conference in September, and was recognized by his township in January.Puslinch Fire Chief Steven Goode said in an email Uptegrove is integral to the success and safety of his department, and surrounding departments as well.“John does not underestimate the value of training and ensures that our staff practise and maintain their basic skills,” Goode said.
April 5, 2016 - A partnership among Globe, DuPont Protection Technologies and the United-States-based National Volunteer Fire Council is once again giving away gear to 13 North American departments.For the fifth year running, a total of 52 sets of Globe turnout gear will be donated to mostly volunteer departments in Canada and the United States that serve populations of 25,000 or less.Applications are accepted until June 1. Learn more at www.nvfc.org/globe-gear-donation.Read about last year's winners, L’Original Fire Department in Champlain, Ont.
April 5, 2016 - The Surrey Fire Service in British Columbia has created a brochure to teach firefighters what they can do to reduce their risks for cancer. The brochure was developed to illustrate a report on firefighters and cancer co-authored by Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis, as well as Larry Thomas, deputy fire chief of operations for the City of Surrey, Dr. Kenneth Kunz and Martha Dow, Ph.D., for the University of the Fraser Valley.“The risks (of cancer) are higher,” Garis said, “but we also know that there are things you can do to alleviate the risks as well."The brochure lists the importance of exercise, diet, sleep, medical screening and safety procedures on the job, among other things.The department released the brochure internally in February, but Garis said the goal is for other departments to use it as well. Access the brochure online at cjr.ufv.ca/firefighters-cancer/ 
Feb. 24, 2016 - Roomy is a good way to describe the new fire station that is now home to members of Belleville Fire & Emergency Services in Ontario.Firefighters moved into the new 22,500 square-foot hall in June last year, and Chief Mark MacDonald said, they brought more than 60 years worth of equipment that was previously stored in a 5,000 square-foot station."It was an adjustment," MacDonald said. "Over the years you adapt to shoehorn in to fit what you can. You get used to being crammed in."The new six-bay, two-storey station – one of four operated by the department – is now the operational hub and houses suppression, prevention, public education, administration and training staff all under one roof.The building is the city's first post-disaster construction, is fully wheelchair accessible, and includes a storefront."We're finding people are really enjoying that they can come in the front door," MacDonald said. "There's a waiting area, there are meeting rooms, there are offices and everything is fully accessible with a full-size elevator."Another addition is a hose tower that doubles as a five-storey training tower for high-angle rescues and high-rise ladder scenarios. The tower can also duplicate the Scott FireFit challenge. Belleville has an active FireFit team that has placed internationally in firefighter combat challenges.The station is centrally located in the city, which has significantly decreased response times, MacDonald said. Most notably, crews are now closer to the 600-acre industrial park."Belleville is very active with economic development for industry," MacDonald said. "Quite often industry looks at emergency response capabilities for their insurance companies and they look to what services cities can offer . . . we were able to improve our response time and that's a big bonus for encouraging businesses to come to town."The two-year project cost about $7.5 million, and stayed within budget, MacDonald said. The department is also building two more stations and both are expected to open within the year.
The IAFF welcomes the federal government’s announcement of $80 million for a national Community Heroes Benefit for the families of Canada’s fallen fire fighters and other public safety officers. Ottawa's Mar. 22 announcement, is the culmination of a longstanding IAFF lobby for a public safety officer compensation (PSOC) benefit.The IAFF commends Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Liberal Government and Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, for listening to the IAFF and other first responder agencies and for following through on a commitment to address this longstanding and important issue.Goodale has been a long-time champion of the benefit. It was a key element of his private member’s motion, M-388, which was adopted in the House of Commons in 2012, and he moved the item forward swiftly after he was appointed Minister in 2015.Thanks also go to the many IAFF members who helped lobby the issue on Parliament Hill at every edition of the IAFF Canadian Legislative Conference since 1992.“The IAFF commends the Liberal Government for keeping its promise and for establishing a Community Heroes Benefit in Budget 2017,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “This benefit will allow a grateful nation to formally recognize the sacrifices made by fallen fire fighters and other public safety officers and will ensure once and for all that their families don’t have to worry about their immediate financial security.”The benefit, a one-time, tax-free and direct payment to the surviving family of fire fighters, police, paramedics and other public safety officers who die in the line of duty, establishes a minimum baseline of compensation that the survivors of all public safety officers across Canada are entitled to, regardless of the city or province in which they worked.Budget 2017 provides $80 million over five years beginning in 2018-2019 for the benefit and $20 million thereafter.
March 7, 2016 - Nozzle maker Task Force Tips, Inc., (TFT) has acquired AMKUS Rescue Systems, both companies announced on their websites last week. Indiana-based TFT manufactures nozzles, monitors, valves and foam systems. Headquartered in Illinois, AMKUS’s line of rescue products includes cutters, spreaders, push-pull rams, power units, auxiliary pumps and rope-rescue systems. AMKUS, according to a joint news release, will maintain its identity, distribution network and field managers, however all engineering, service and manufacturing operations will eventually transition to TFT’s headquarters in Valparaiso, Ind. “Task Force Tips' passion for developing products that save lives and protect property is a perfect fit for the continued expansion of the AMKUS Rescue System's product line,” the company stated in the release. Learn more at www.tft.com and www.amkus.com
March 3, 2016 - The Alberta government is spending $650,000 to support fire and emergency-preparedness training for first responders in 50 municipalities and four First Nations. The funding is part of a Fire Services Emergency Preparedness Program aimed at volunteer and mutual-aid fire departments. The program will provide $500,000 for fire training and $150,000 for emergency management training in 2016. The grant program, according to a government news release, will help first responders develop the skills needed to respond effectively during fire and emergency events. “Local firefighters and emergency responders provide an invaluable service to their communities,” Danielle Larivee, Minister of Muncipal Affairs, said in the release. “Our government is proud to invest in emergency preparedness training as just one of the ways we will continue to help these individuals who help others.” Municipalities and First Nations that have mutual-aid agreements were given application priority, according to the release. For more information, including a list of the recipients, go to www.ofc.alberta.ca/grant-funded-training
March 3, 2016 - In 1991, Kip Cosgrove moved to Canada to fill a market niche: to provide a national insurance option for firefighters.Cosgrove brought the United States-based insurance company VFIS north of the border and at the 1991 International Association of Fire Chiefs conference held in Toronto, VFIS of Canada was launched."Because the program was so successful in the United States," Cosgrove said, "they felt that, hey, the Canadian fire service is very similar. Fighting fires is no different in Canada than in the U.S."Now in its 25th year of business, VFIS of Canada insures more than 2,100 fire departments across the country.VFIS of Canada pioneered several benefits that are now market standards, Cosgrove said, including cosmetic disfigurement from burns, and heart and circulatory malfunction.Cosgrove is well known in the industry thanks to his presence at many conferences and trade shows. VFIS sponsors several associations and charities, finances educational guest speakers, and offers free educational programs to its clients."Today the volunteer firefighters needs to grab everything they can, and we really are giving them access to a lot of these great tools free of charge," Cosgrove said in an interview."If they weren't buying my program, I wouldn't be able to offer back anything, but because our program is taking off, we want to give back to the fire service."
July 12, 2016 - The Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association (CVFSA) has selected a new provincial director to represent Manitoba on the national stage.
The Fire Fighters' Association of Ontario is moving with the times to ensure we are an organization that remains relevant and supportive to our membership, building on a proud tradition and looking ahead to a strong future. Change is necessary.One of the most important steps has been creating a new partnership with Annex Business Media. We are proud to have a home for our communications in the pages of Canadian Firefighter, a publication our membership enjoys, and a place through which future members will learn about us too. Although this new relationship ends the FFAO's independent publication, we believe Canadian Firefighter offers relevant information, feature stories and issues around education and training that represent the values of our membership. Stay current with us here.Moving with the times with the help of a local media expert Kelly Waterhouse, we've created a new user-friendly website, complete with a mobile-friendly format. Members have instant access to timely information, direct contacts to the resources that will support their needs, and the opportunity for fire departments to promote their fundraising and education events. From buying a membership to filling out executive nominations, booking a campsite for the 2016 convention, or finding out when we're meeting again, it's all online and accessible to everyone, any time.Follow us on Twitter; get connected and stay in touch.While some things needed to change, the FFAO knows our roots are in the community of firefighters we serve. While we all work hard, we like to play hard too. But we're at our best we can do both. Thus, a highlight for the FFAO is the annual convention.The 2015 convention, hosted by the Wainfleet Fire Department, was a great success. From education and training opportunities to the meetings and trade show, we packed a lot into this week-long gathering. The social events, camping and family friendly atmosphere makes this convention an opportunity for firefighters of all ages and stages to come together as a community. The firefighter games created some friendly competition and the children's activities made the experience something everyone could enjoy.We thank the Wainfleet crew, not only for hosting us in 2015, but for doing such a fine job that we're heading back there this year on July 25 to Aug. 1. Don't miss out. We've planned a two-day bus extrication course offered by Code 4, and are working with Spartan Rescue for a full week of specialty training.-Our new FFAO executive is working hard to ensure we stay true to our roots, continue to forge ahead by staying relevant and offering our membership benefits and services that support them, and their families. We offer experience and knowledge with issues such as the section 21 committee and presumptive legislation. We can offer assistance with WSIB claims, and difficult issues such as line-of-duty deaths, and other benefits that families may not know about, to which they are entitled in the case of injury or tragedy. The FFAO executive is here to help and will advocate on your behalf.Honouring our past is an important part of the FFAO's mandate, and we actively participate in several memorial services each year, including the memorial parade and service in Ottawa, and the annual gathering at the Ontario Fire College in Gravenhurst. Please consider joining us there on Saturday, June 25, when we honour our fallen.Throughout the year, our quarterly meetings are structured to offer professional speakers from various trades within the fire service to educate our membership on issues relevant to our work, education and safety standard. We are always working to improve our programs and provide current courses that will benefit firefighters. The only way to be the best is to learn from the best.Over the next year, we will be increasing membership benefits, planning ahead for education and training, and looking for ways to keep the current membership engaged while welcoming new members.As the FFAO looks to the future, we welcome new members, be it individuals, fire departments or businesses who understand the value of continuing an organization that has proudly been a part of the fire service in this province for over 100 years. Consider being a part of our tradition.Chris KarpinchickPresident, Fire Fighters Association of Ontario
I am the communication chair for the Fire Fighters' Association of Ontario (FFAO), focused on our organization's information exchange via our quarterly publication in Canadian Firefighter and through our new website, ffao.on.caI started in the fire service in 1983 when I joined the Flamborough Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter. By 1997 I was the deputy chief. When amalgamation transformed communities, I became an area commander for Hamilton Fire Department. For the last 12-plus years I have been fortunate to be the fire chief for Centre Wellington Fire & Rescue.Somewhere along my way in the fire service I had forgotten my roots. I have been full time since 1990. I was an active member of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) for more than 15 years and also a part of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC). It was at meetings for these organizations that I heard the FFAO was still around and active. Despite being a life member, it had been years since I attended an FFAO convention or a general meeting.In 2015 the FFAO approached me to sit as its representative on the Ontario fire-service advisory committee under section 21 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. After some thought I felt I owed the fire service and the more than 20,000 volunteer firefighters in Ontario a debt for this career. The health and safety of firefighters has always been a primary concern of mine. However, a last-minute change meant I could not represent the FFAO on the committee.I thought my good deed had come to an end before it started, but I was then asked to sit on the board of directors and assist the FFAO in creating a new media strategy.Media relations is not only necessary for the fire service in public education and safety messaging, but also in terms of legal accountability, resource sharing and learning how to work with media partners.When I thought about media for the FFAO, I wanted to ensure we had a strategy that made our members feel connected – to the executive, to our partners and to one another.Well, here we are – a new publisher, new website, new Twitter feed, a Facebook page and a lot of new "friends."Since my introduction to the board, I have spent countless hours attending meetings, have worked with the executive reaching out over the phone or via email, and working as part of a dynamic team. It struck me that these people are true volunteers. The FFAO has no big expense accounts; many of my fellow executive members have full-time jobs, as well as actively volunteering as firefighters in their own communities.These people donate their time and a great deal of effort to make life better for firefighters who are active members of the FFAO. They represent firefighters on provincial committees, they work with the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management on special projects, and they work on firefighter memorial services. They partner with OAFC, the CAFC, the Ministry of Labour and the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association. If there is a group that is working for the betterment of firefighters, the FFAO is always willing to help however it can.The FFAO has proud history that dates back to Aug. 29, 1899, when the inaugural meeting of The Volunteer Firemen's Association of Ontario was held in Toronto. This was the beginning of our association.Changes came on Aug. 2, 1909, in Paris, Ont., when membership was made available to all volunteer, fully paid, partly paid, exempt and veteran firefighters. With an increased membership, we adopted the new name of The Firemen's Association of Ontario.On July 23, 1910, Letters of Patent were granted to the association. The first constitution and bylaws were adopted at a meeting in Welland on Aug. 2,1910.By 1963, to reflect the changes in the membership and the occupation itself, we adopted the name The Fire Fighters' Association of Ontario.It's a new era in fire fighting; rules, laws, and safety standards have changed. Our organization has evolved but our mandate remains clear. The FFAO executive and its members have been, and will continue to actively participate on provincial committees dealing with equipment standards, occupational health and safety, firefighter training and legislation.Please check out our website at www.ffao.on.ca. Follow us on Twitter @joinFFAO and help spread the word.But above all, I ask you to consider becoming an active member of the FFAO. Have your voice heard. Share your knowledge and experience. In the fire service, we know the power of teamwork and dedication. Help us make the fire service better and safer for all involved, so everybody gets home safely.Brad PattonDirector and communications chair
Convention UpdateThe Fire Fighters' Association of Ontario (FFAO) convention returns to Wainfleet in August and members of the Wainfleet Fire Department need our support. Come out and enjoy yourselves. It's our convention, it's our training, it's our games. It's our time to meet up with old and new friends.In 2015, we were welcomed by Wainfleet Mayor April Jeffs and Niagara Region councillor Alan Castleman, as well as Fire Chief Harry Flagg.Brock Township firefighter Jackie Mussel brought greetings from Fire Service Women of Ontario. I would like to quote Jackie on an important message: "Women are unquestionably newer and fewer to the fire service, and yet we stand ready to proudly and competently support fire departments, chiefs and firefighters to help integrate all of these capable and dedicated individuals into the frontline roles of protecting and serving our public."FFAO ambassador Tiffany Lensilink brought greetings, as did the president of the Wainfleet Firefighters' Association, Gord Davies.David Conner was the speaker for the education portion of the event. Connor, a district chief with Mississauga Fire & Emergency Services, who spearheaded the department's peer team, discussed mental-health issues among firefighters, including PTSD. The presentation was excellent, with a lot of food for thought.The Wainfleet firefighters will use the same excellent venue for the 2016 convention. We will be on the level baseball diamonds and soccer fields. Mayor Jeffs said we did an exceptional job protecting the grounds and sports fields for the kids in the community who use this space daily, and thus has welcomed us back for 2016. Everything will be on site . . . the training, education, hospitality night, trade show and the games. Come out and enjoy your convention.The 2016 convention is going to be bigger and better. Be there. Bring a friend. Enjoy.We are looking for a host department for 2017; Seaforth had to move the convention back a year due to a conflict with a local festival, so we are looking for a fire department with space to host this great event. Let us know if you can help.Tentatively the future conventions look like this:2017 – OPEN2018 – Seaforth2019 – Mount Forest2020 – OPEN2021 – OPENIf your department would like to host a convention please contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it John PayneConvention chairSpecialty training on tap Thanks to everyone for their hard work and dedication in assisting with all the training at the 2015 convention. Since then I have been trying to organize several different training opportunities for the 2016 convention. Code 4 is confirmed for a two-day bus extrication course and I’m working with Spartan Rescue to secure a full week of specialty training such as machinery rescue tech, force the door and others. Registration forms and course information will be posted on our website, ffao.on.ca, once courses are confirmed. If anyone has ideas, information regarding new training opportunities or feedback, please pass it along to me. I’m always open to suggestions from members about new ways to bring wanted training ideas to reality. Shawna WyantFire prevention and education chairMembership has its benefitsWhen you become a member of the Fire Fighters' Association of Ontario (FFAO), your voice is heard by our executive. The FFAO will put your ideas into action and if you have questions or concerns about issues related to fire fighting, we will work to help you get the answers you need. We are always working to get special discounts on products and services that benefit our members and their families. Our newsletter now comes right to your doorstep, in this magazine. You are invited to quarterly meetings to listen to professionals from various trades and businesses, and from different fire departments who may help you become a better firefighter or improve the health and safety of your entire station. We have executive members on the Ontario fire-service advisory committee under section 21 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, who work with WSIB and who have health-and-safety training. These members can offer help with difficult issues such as line-of-duty deaths. Memberships are available for fire departments, fire stations or individuals, fire-service related corporations or industries, and municipal, provincial and federal governments. An individual membership is just $50 per year. Fire departments can join for $50 per station, per year. Associate membership is just $200 a year and a website sponsor is $200 a year. If you are interested in a membership or have any questions about becoming a member, please do not hesitate to contact me. We hope you'll join us. Bevin BrooksMembership chairAssociation aims to boost membership Our association is a flourishing and vibrant organization and we will make our presence known through our new website, ffao.on.caSince the annual general meeting in August, members of the Fire Fighters’ Association of Ontario (FFAO) board have been very busy organizing and reorganizing all the old and new board positions. We have provided all board members’ contact information under the About Us tab on the site and we encourage you to contact any member if you have any questions or concerns. If you’re interested in giving back to the fire service, consider running for an office on the executive this year. You can make a difference. We are looking to expand our membership and grow our association. We’ve proudly been a part of the Ontario fire-services community for more than 100 years. Be a part of the tradition. I invite you to learn more about us at ffao.on.ca and follow us on Twitter @joinFFAO John Payne Board chairExecutive President: Chris Karpinchick (Karpy) Past president: Dave Carruthers 1st vice president: vacant 2nd vice president: Ron King Secretary: Veronda Brydges Treasurer: Gilles Boisvert Board of directors Chair: John Payne Director: William S. Burns Director: Brad Patton Director: Dennis Thain Director: Marion Kuiper-Lampman Committee chairs Credentials: Karen Brooks Convention: John Payne Fire prevention & education: Shawna Wyant Fire services society: Marion Kuiper-Lampman Games and competitions: Steve Pandur Laws and legislation: Wayne Nie Membership: Bevin Brooks Occupational health and safety: Jeri Ottley, Jonathan Karn Padre: Rev. Stephen Berryman Sergeant at arms/regalia: John Uptegrove Training: Shawna Wyant Ways and means: Linda CarruthersConsider running for office We had a very successful convention in Wainfleet in August and I am certainly looking forward to an even better performance this summer. With that in mind, it is time to start thinking of nominations for the next term of office so we can ensure that we continue to move forward with the goals of the Fire Fighters’ Association of Ontario. Nomination forms for the next term of office are available on our website, ffao.on.ca. If you or a friend are considering stepping forward to volunteer your services, now is the time. Remember it is your association and it is up to the members to keep the FFAO strong and vibrant. Dave CarruthersImmediate past presidentClarity for 2016 firefighter games I learned a lot running the games and I apologize for any problems. The 2016 games will be run by the FFAO rules and guidelines. I am in the process of putting all the rules and layouts in simple form on signs that will be posted at the games so the there is no misunderstanding about what’s expected at each event. I would like to thank everyone who helped me run the games. There are too many names to remember, but you know who you are, and I appreciate your support. Special thanks to Dave Thompson, Rob Timmson and Ted Lucas of the Niagara District Fire Fighters Association for judging the games. Congratulations to everyone who took part. We also ran a successful game day for the children, which went over really well; every child who participated won a prize. Grand Valley set up its children's water ball, which was a blast for everyone. I would also like to thank Christine Willick and Brandon and Brittany Keller from Wainfleet for all their help. Extra special thanks to co-chair Beckers Devris; without her help in setting all these events up, this would have been impossible to manage. Thank you so much! Steve PandurGames chairRemembering the fallen The memorial parade and service at the Ontario Fire College in Gravenhurst in June was a great success thanks to the support from the OFC, King Township honour guard and various chapters of the Red Knights. We hope to see you all this year, on Saturday June 25. The memorial parade and service held at the FFAO convention in Wainfleet also had a good turn out. The event was officiated by our padre, Rev. Stephen Berryman. I know most of the membership stayed the weekend, not wanting to miss the parade and service to our departed. In September, I attended the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation memorial parade in Ottawa. First, I attended the Ottawa Fire Department service and parade for its fallen members on the Friday. It was a beautiful, sunny day. Sunday was the national event, and although we all got drenched in the rain, it did not deter us from paying our respects to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and to the families they left behind. On Oct. 2 and 3, I attended the funeral of acting Capt. John Kovacs, of the Tillsonburg Fire Department. The Ontario memorial parade and service that was to be held on Oct. 4, 2015, was cancelled due to construction around the site at Queen’s Park. Due to safety reasons, the organizing committee deemed it fit to honour the names of those departed at a ceremony next year. I will post that date when it is confirmed. I would like all of you to consider attending some of these memorials as they are special time to remember and honour those with whom we have worked and those who have made the fire service what it is today. For more details contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   Dennis ThainDirector and memorial chairNavigating the health-and-safety processAs I was driving home from another funeral for a firefighter struck down by cancer, I could not get something out of my mind: it was a conversation I had while standing outside the church before the funeral service was to begin for acting Capt. John Kovacs of the Tillsonburg Fire Department. A woman approached me. She was confused as to why Captain Kovacs’ passing due to cancer was being reported as a line-of-duty death. I responded with a phrase that I had heard at another funeral: “He did not die in a fire. He died because he was at the fires.” This seemed to clear it up for her but still left a nagging sadness in my heart. The difficult thing to grasp about cancer is that the disease hits us years after we have been exposed to hazardous situations, and the accumulated effects of those exposures continue throughout a firefighter’s career. In the past we took of our packs off as soon as we could and I shudder to think what we breathed in when doing overhaul. Today, the only advice I can give my fellow firefighters is to always wear air packs or respirators when we are in contact with any possible off gases. When you think about it, that makes a lot of sense even if it is uncomfortable. Also educate yourselves about the chemicals and carcinogens to which we are being exposed and how to deal with them safely. Start with the guidance notes of the Ontario fire-service advisory committee under section 21 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and your own department’s SOPs. Learn how to minimize the dangers. One last thought: at the point of being diagnosed with a cancer a firefighter and his or her family are overwhelmed. It is devastating news. Then, the families tries to deal with Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) on top of everything else. The presumptive legislation that has been put in place makes this process a lot easier but does not make it automatic. Also, there are a number of other benefits that families may have to ask for that may not be offered up front, unless the family knows to ask for them. Anybody who has ever had to deal with WSIB knows its seems to speak a different language. This makes it difficult to understand what is needed to speed the process along. The adjudicators at WSIB are not trying to put something over on you; they just have to work within a bureaucracy that can be frustrating at best. That is where I can help. I have a working knowledge of “comp-eeze.” Please feel free to contact me with your questions. I can guide you through the process and advocate on behalf of our members. Jeri Ottley Health and safety chair

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