Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I want to clarify that I have no bone to pick with the Ministry of Labour, or any other organization that honestly wants to make the fire service safer and better. If mistakes were made at Meaford, let's learn from them. I still have misgivings about the whole affair though, and you can read some of them at the CVFSA blog (if the link takes you to the home page, click "Volunteer Voice Blog" on the left side bar).

I remember when the media questioned Brunacini shortly after Brett Tarver died in a Phoenix supermarket fire in 2001. They wanted to know if something went wrong. I don't recall his exact words, but I'll never forget his tone. He said something to the effect of, "Hell yeah something went wrong. One of my firefighters died," [you idiots that had to ask such a stupid question].

Brunacini worked with Northern Virginia Community College afterwards to conduct tests as a result of the LODD, and the findings added much to our understanding of the challenges faced by RIT . . . and that knowledge is now incorporated into our training on the subject. I wonder if we will benefit from something similar as a result of Meaford and Listowel, or if we will be reduced to mere finger pointing and blame laying.

Be that as it may, the trial continues. Laura King wrote an informative piece on the proceedings, the only one that I can find out there in cyberspace so far. You can read it here. 

Leaving the topic of lawyers lining their pockets with tax dollars that could be better spent supporting the fire service, I observed once again today that a firefighter's life is full of contradictions, perhaps even more than the rest of this contrary world. A group of us took on the contract to make the hockey rink this year as a fundraiser, which means harnessing Mother Nature's help in making a large piece of smooth, level ice within the confines of the rink boards.

Here's the contradiction: cold and ice are the firefighter's enemies on the fireground, as you can read in one of my earlier posts, but we suddenly become best buds when we want a skating rink. We need that -20 weather to make a good foundation. If we let our guard down though, ice weasels it's way into our hoses and nozzles and fittings and mucks the whole process up. It only takes a  handful of slush to stop a nozzle, or a wafer thin layer of ice to freeze a fitting shut. Then we enlist the use of fire to fix the problem. Yes, that's right. Fire. Our arch enemy, harnessed in the nozzle of a propane torch, and directed carefully so as not to melt any rubber or plastic nearby. Fire, our enemy, becomes our friend against our other enemy Ice, which is also our friend when we make hockey rinks. I think I need a therapist.
You can learn more about how to operate in the winter here and here, and read a post on the Upsala (winter) Hydrant here.


  1. Perhaps it is time us some enforcement to drive Ontario departments to change. I don't believe that anything needs to be truly punitive in nature. The message has got across. Hopefully we will have time to adjust and catch up. Taxpayers are not going to like their rate increases.

  2. If enforcement is used to motivate municipalities to provide more for their departments - or to go after the Province for more resources - perhaps something good can come out of all this.

  3. Given the wide range of wealth among municipalities, I would like to see something come from the Provincial government. Even the Federal government should be providing more support than just a new memorial in Ottawa.

  4. Our mutual aid zone has been lobbying at the both the federal and provincial levels since last year. I believe a goup of municipalities in SW Ontario is lobbying Queen's Park as we speak. We are making baby steps, but it will take time to see any real progress.


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