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Publications Agreement No: 41203011

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FIRE WATCH (ISSN 1715-5134) is published quarterly by the TORONTO PROFESSIONAL FIRE FIGHTERS’ ASSOCIATION 39 Commissioners Street, Toronto, ON Canada M5A 1A6 Tel: 416.466.1167 E-mail:

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CHIEF EDITOR Ed Kennedy MANAGING EDITORS Frank Ramagnano & James Coones Tel.: 416.466.1167 Fax: 416.466.6632 E-mail:




6002 Yonge Street, Toronto Phone: (416) 225-7716 or (416) 225-3293 Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 4.00 pm

President’s Message


Secretary-Treasurer’s Message


Vice President’s Message


Chaplain’s Corner


Letters to the Editor


Fire Fighter Survival & Rescue


Remembering PTE. Terry Street


Never Shall We Forget


The IAFF: Working on Your Behalf


Children’s Christmas Party


Member Profile on Paul Mogavero


Hall Showcase on Station 426


Behind the Mask


Toronto Fire Baseball


I’m Sorry to Have to Tell You This...


3888 Recent Happenings


In Memoriam


Fit to Survive


2014 Upcoming Events


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On The Cover


Local 3888 celebrated the 15th anniversary of the always popular and successful Annual Children’s Christmas Party at Variety Village on Saturday November 30, 2013. See page 22 for details

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his past January, your Association was, once again, campaigning against proposed budget cuts, which would reduce Toronto’s Fire Service. With an endorsement from the Fire Chief, Toronto City Council considered eliminating five frontline fire apparatus and the associated personnel. These recommendations were the same that were proposed for the 2013 budget, which we successfully prevented from happening last year. While utilizing every resource at our disposal, Local 3888 engaged in another fierce battle to stop these unnecessary cuts. We reminded the public and City Council that fewer fire fighters lead to a greater risk to people and property. Whether it was online, through social medial, traditional media or hand delivered to homes across the city, our message was loud and clear: Seconds Count. Despite our best efforts, City Council voted in favour of removing four of the five targeted trucks and corresponding staff. Although the communities and Councillors in the areas affected by the cuts endorsed our campaign, their support was not enough. It is disappointing that City Council is concerned more about the bottom line than public safety. Understandably, City Staff continue to search for cost-efficient ways to operate, however, these efforts should not come at the expense of protecting the public by reducing vital public services. As you already know, a reduction in service means our average response time will increase by 63 seconds in the affected areas. This figure is based on information provided by Toronto Fire Services to City Council during the 2013 budget process. Response times will continue to rise with the growth of citywide construction and growing traffic congestion. As former Ontario Fire Marshall Pat Burke pointed out, the City already does not meet the Commission on Fire Accreditation International’s guidelines for adequate resources and response times. Let’s not forget, we also do not meet the standards set out by the 2007 TFS Master Plan, which sets a goal of four minute road response times for first arriving apparatus. It concerns me when Chief Sales makes

unsubstantiated claims against members of this Association. He questioned your dedication and work ethic, stating in the National Post on January 22nd, “Before Christmas, fire fighters failed to show up for work in droves.” This was a complete turnaround from the Chief’s final FCC of 2013 where he praised members for their handling of the ice storm. In the same National Post story, Chief Sales also said, “A stricter building code and newer infrastructure” means the City needs fewer trucks. It makes me wonder if the Chief has forgotten about Toronto’s rising population and the unpredictable nature of fire. For some reason, several City Councillors based their votes on the Chief’s accusations and misinformation; not the factual data we provided. We reached out to them with evidence, explaining the impact of these cuts but in the end, Council chose not to listen to us. Your Association has been contacted by numerous members who are disappointed and disillusioned that our Chief resorted to personal attacks against our member’s integrity rather than stand up for the dedicated men and women of Toronto’s Fire Service. We will be holding him accountable for his statements about our members. We expressed our concerns to Chief Sales, that these cuts would put people at risk, but watching him repeatedly state they were acceptable and wouldn’t affect operations was incredibly frustrating. Now that the cuts have been approved, you are likely asking what will happen from this point on. Unfortunately, I do not have a clear answer for you. However, over the next few months, Local 3888 will work with Toronto Fire Services to ensure that these changes will be implemented in a way to minimize disruption and maintain service as best as possible. For those who work on the trucks that have been eliminated, I understand your concern. The Executive Board and I will do everything in our power to keep you all informed. We must now work to come up with a viable solution to a bad situation. While the Executive Board and I are upset with the result of our campaign, I want to acknowledge those who helped us. First, I want to thank the Executive Board and the Budget Cuts Committee for their work during the campaign, as well as our

Ed Kennedy

office staff who worked tirelessly to ensure the material we presented to Council was accurate, available and supported our cause. I also want to thank former Ontario Fire Marshall, Pat Burke, Toronto District School Board Trustee, Irene Atkinson and all the community members who spoke on our behalf and got involved with our cause. I would like to thank the 16 members of Toronto Council who voted to maintain fire service levels and make safety a priority over saving a few dollars. Finally, I want to thank all of the members who went door-to-door delivering literature, wore red shirts and watched Council proceedings from the City Hall viewing gallery, and simply passed on the ‘Seconds Count’ message. Although we didn’t succeed, we were still able to educate the public and inform City Council that we will continue to fight for public safety and for our members. There are those who will applaud City Council for supporting the cuts. Some have and will likely continue to label us as “alarmists” and “fear-mongers.” Do not allow yourself to be provoked by these false statements. I know that our members will continue to demonstrate the highest level of professionalism while serving the citizens of Toronto. Make every effort to go above and beyond, despite the new obstacles we now face. This is a setback to Toronto’s Fire Service. However, it will not deter our efforts to ensure the decision makers at City Hall place an emphasis on safety - yours and the people of Toronto. As I said after the budget was passed, with every setback, an opportunity presents itself. As your President, please know the Executive Board and I will not stop fighting for appropriate fire service levels.

Ed Kennedy President, Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association, I.A.F.F. Local 3888 WI NTER 2 0 1 3 | FIRE WATCH




hen an organization such as ours achieves a failure, as we recently have, there will always be self-reflection and organizational review. This is healthy and is a means to analyze not the outcome, but what went into the planning; what was done right, wrong and what was missed.

“Planning is a key to success. The old adage is true; failing to plan is planning to fail.”

Writing a plan does not guarantee success. Plans fail because sometimes people only focus on strategy; they ignore the other six elements of their organization, which will be needed to implement the plan.



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Approach you take to reach and accomplish your goals. Your strategy involves the key performance areas that will enable the organization to reach its goal. This will be the most important thing we will need to evaluate. If the strategy was the wrong one to begin with then the outcome was predetermined. If the strategy was correct then failure in the implementation must be looked at.

Systems: Policies & procedures required to fulfill the operations and organizational strategies. Systems also include the necessary checks and balances to ensure that the policies and procedures are being followed. As an organization, do we have the proper policies? Are we flexible and nimble enough that we can change, as the circumstances dictate? Do the people making decisions have the authority to make them? Structure: Individuals assigned to carry out the processes; how people are teamed and how their work is organized. Is work going to be completed by the executive or outsourced to a contractor? Are consultants going to be used to assist? We have been criticised in the past for not using experts in the field and now some are questioning the amount of outside experts we use. An evaluation of the best approach must be undertaken. Is it better to strictly do the work in-house or would a balance of the two be the best answer? Skills: Capabilities of the groups of people in the organization, both internal and external. We have tried to upgrade the skill set

within our organization. Have we focused on the skills and education needed? Have we hired the appropriate outside skills that were required?

Culture: Norms, values, beliefs and assumptions that shape the organization. This is the area where I believe as an organization that we need to focus a lot of attention on. As fire fighters, we are given problems such as fires, entrapment and other emergencies that 99% of time have one goal: save the patient, as safely and quickly as possible. There is no compromise with a fire. Either you put it out or wait for it to put itself out. Hence, it has become part of our DNA; we move forward and try to eliminate the problem. I have heard many times recently that perhaps we should have come to a compromise with the city on our budget. I agree that should always be a determination but I wonder if these same people would have been supportive of a compromise before the decision was made? It is easy to say after the fact, but how many would have supported a compromise before the outcome was known? As I said, our DNA as fire fighters is not programmed that way. It is an item on which we all need to better educate ourselves. We must make decisions that are best both short-term and long-term. Compromise should not be viewed as weakness or failure, and I suspect that many of us view it that way currently. I can provide many examples over our history of my theory on this - perhaps for another column devoted to just that. Budget-Resources: An itemized allotment of funds for a given time period. The inventory of resources that are within

Frank Ramagnano

an organization to achieve the strategic plan. Did we have enough budget and resources to implement our plan? We do not have a bottomless pit of financial or human resource. We need to determine what is responsible and how to ensure we have the necessary resources always available. All six elements need to be aligned for the organization to succeed. You may have a great strategy, but lack the appropriate structure; people assigned to do the job. If you don’t have someone assigned to do the job, it will never get done. Many times, the strategy and systems are not aligned. Reasons may include a strategy but no written policies and procedures to follow; policies and procedures but no checks and balances to ensure that they are carried out; or policies and procedures that are old and outdated and not aligned with the new strategy. People in the organization may not have the right skills to perform the objectives. You need to be very honest as an organization to ensure that you and your team have the personality to implement the plan. After a strategy is developed, you must make sure that all the other elements are aligned. A strategy that cannot or will not be implemented is nothing more than a list of really good ideas. Successful organizations need to identify when the elements are out of alignment and quickly put everything back into alignment. As you can see, we have a lot of work to do as an organization to ensure, “What does not kill us, makes us stronger.”

Frank Ramagnano Secretary - Treasurer, Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association I.A.F.F. Local 3888 WI NTER 2 0 1 3 | FIRE WATCH








ters, Dear Toronto Fire Figh bers for our 2014 season. is looking for new mem team to meet The Dragonboat team, so it is a great way largest and most diverse We are Toronto Fire’s s. sion er commands and divi fellow fire fighters in oth community. that competes in the team Toronto Fire has only the lvement is great public invo We are also our and nts eve huge community ons we need Dragonboat festivals are closures, and staff reducti es of budget cuts, hall relations for us. In tim community. enhance our ties to the ple want to Toronto Fire. Some peo ltiple teams representing mu e want to come only ple peo e Our goal is to hav som and ls pete at the highest leve ryone and notake it serious and com try to accommodate eve ile and have fun. We will t to put in. wan you t men mit out every once in a wh com ch y. It is up to you how mu awa ed turn be will y Virginia in bod ce/Fire Games in Fairfax, e teams to the World Poli e medals. som e hom g brin We plan to send multipl and us h ing for a sport come wit try it out June 2015. If you are look e you are welcome to com 12 months a year so We are now training anytime. ons in south gym on Sunday afterno at an indoor paddling kouts. wor t grea are We are winter training they and us l Team coach is training nday and Etobicoke. The Nationa Mo Our practices will be er from May-October. Parklawn. ore/ esh Lak at ilion We are back on the wat Pav ide 6pm-7pm at the Sunnys location at Wednesday nights from 9:30am-11am at a new morning practice from We also added a Saturday et. the bottom of Cherry stre

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014 c ompe titions June will b 14th i e: Sept 2 n St. C 0 a t t h herine in Str July 1 ’s a Oct 18 9th in Toro tford n t 1 o 9 t h Augus t 9th i in Florida n Woo dstoc k


ave goodbye to 2013! I can’t say I will look back on it fondly. It was the Year of the Snake in the Chinese zodiac, for those who keep track. We welcome 2014, a new year, with many new beginnings upon us. It’s the year of the Horse, thought to be a year to work hard to secure the future. So let’s get to work! Our municipal and provincial landscapes will see a dramatic shift with a multitude of consequences for our city, our profession and our Association. In order to play a part in the determination of our own destiny, we must be actively engaged in the major events that are coming this year. Your Association has moved forward with some major new initiatives this past year, engaging a number of new members with valuable skills to maintain our position in the media and public eye. While the important work of our standing committees goes on, many members have also stepped up to contribute their time and talents to these new initiatives to ensure that we stay ahead of the curve in our changing world. If you have been out to any of your Association events recently, you will have seen members of our media team, documenting with photos and video, the actions of our members. This media can then be uploaded to our Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts and broadcast widely to the public and our members - keeping you informed. I recently weighed into a discussion on our forum regarding the merits of social media. There is considerable opinion in mainstream media about the effectiveness and value of the many new social media platforms that are in existence today. It’s a fascinating new medium that is still in its infancy and will continue to evolve and change the way we communicate. Our own IAFF General President, Harold Schaitberger, opines in the latest Firefighter Quarterly magazine that while he once thought that social media was “a fad”; he now concedes, “there is a social media revolution taking place.” Mr. Schaitberger further states, that in order for us to not only survive but to thrive in today’s world, we must embrace these new tools. The IAFF has embarked on an aggressive plan to move our parent Association into the digital age, with significant investments in

media technology. The IAFF now has its own media studio that will ensure our members are kept informed using the most modern and up-todate technology. I strongly agree with the GP’s sentiments and have been a firm believer in the power of these new methods of communication. Facebook now boasts over a billion users around the world. It has not only been used to connect friends and family to each other but has been used to start and sustain significant social justice movements and spread information in a new way. Every significant public figure or group now has their own Facebook page for a reason it works! YouTube has now surpassed Google as the world’s most utilized search engine. I have to admit, I was a little doubtful of Twitter when it first arrived on the scene. I thought, how effective can this be when you are restricted to 140 characters to promote your message? I discovered during the evening of the last federal election what a powerful tool Twitter could be while at the Jack Layton campaign headquarters. As the polls closed, results began to trickle in through mainstream media, as polling stations began to submit their results. It was a long, slow wait for official results to come in, poll by poll, to be posted on mainstream coverage. There was a large crowd waiting and some began to get messages on their smart phones from co-workers across the country. Many began to get results just as counting was completed, through Twitter. Depending on whom you were following, results from right across the country were instantly posted on Twitter. Short, fact-based results rippled throughout the crowd. People suggested whom to follow and began hashtagging results. This new social media tool wasn’t just reporting news that had happened, we were experiencing what was happening instantly, at every moment. It was an eye-opening experience for many in the room and this same experience has occurred in many elections since. On a global scale, we have seen many significant, tragic, global events “tweeted live” by people actively involved in these events. There is an ad for a radio station that states,

Damien Walsh

“If you’re reading it, its history. If you’re hearing it, its news.” Twitter goes even further. It can tell us what is happening RIGHT NOW, as it happens, from anywhere in the world! But as we know, it is not without its pitfalls. Tweets are public, for the entire world anyone with a Twitter account - to view at any time. A user can delete his or her original tweet but if someone else has re-tweeted you, it is out there forever! There appears to be no end to the many public figures that have found themselves in hot water over some ill-timed or ill-advised tweets - just Google, U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner! There are also screen grabs and Internet databases which warehouse and store billions of tweets that are easily searchable by anyone at anytime. Check out, or We are into a brave new world of digital technology, so, we can either embrace it and use it or let others use it against us. I encourage each of our members to learn about all of the new social media applications out there and use them wisely to promote our profession, our Association and the many aspects of our city that Toronto Fire Fighters are involved in every day. As other social media applications become popular, we will engage in those as well. Follow your Association on Twitter at “@tpffa” and check out our Facebook page. If you have something relevant to post, please send it to us. Feel free to contact me or send me a tweet to “@veep314”. Stay safe and I look forward to communicating with our members across the many social media platforms in 2014, this Year of the Horse!

Damien Walsh, Vice President, Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association I.A.F.F. Local 3888 WI NTER 2 0 1 3 | FIRE WATCH



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he amazing Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia have just ended. As a nation, we were riveted as we watched amazing athletic events unfold and draw us in and together as Canadians. It all culminated on the Sunday morning of the Gold Medal Men’s Hockey Game between Sweden and Canada. We were ready - to cheer, to will them to win, to believe, to have faith that we would take this final gold medal for world hockey supremacy. As I came to work at the Church I serve at in the heart of downtown Toronto, I was greeted with a sight I have never seen at seven o’clock on a Sunday morning. As I came down Bloor Street, there were clusters of twenty-somethings walking together, wide-awake and happy. They were looking for the closest pub around St. Paul’s in order to watch the game together. They were not appearing like the normal early Sunday morning crowd - hung-over, feeling pretty rough and perhaps only seeking a pastor with what must feel like was needed - Last Rites. No, they were energetic, cheering and bellowing “We Believe!” and “We Have Faith!” Our faith was justified that day. The team played on and three goals later, the gold! We watched as six men poured themselves out onto the ice and 15 million of us watched from our couches, smartphones and barstools - always believing.

Makes you wonder, what would happen if we lost? Would our world end? Would we be crushed beyond despair, our nation’s identity trampled? If we lost the game or didn’t get as many medals, was our belief unwarranted and our faith unjustified? Lots of theories perhaps but what intrigues me is that this is just another example of the human condition - we operate and run much of our lives by faith. An early Christian writer defines faith as, “The confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Whether we realize it or not, we spend a lot, if not most of our lives, living by faith. We live with confidence that good things will happen to us; bad things will avoid us; and assurances that even our Leafs will finally win the Stanley Cup. We have faith in our crew, our skills and our abilities to be good fire fighters. We believe that we can be good parents, friends or lovers. We have faith and we believe in all sorts of things. Yet, we also know that so much is fleeting and transient. Life is very fragile. What happens when our confidence in our crew is challenged, our skills are diminished with time or our abilities are overtaken by younger colleagues? What happens when our children, or even our own parenting, falls short of our

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expectations? When a friendship goes south or our families and relationships are strained beyond endurance - was our faith justified? Faith isn’t the issue. The object of our faith, or the thing we believe in, that is really what is at stake. Consider that. What DO you believe in - yourself, someone else, something? Is there a danger that the person or thing cannot hold the weight of your expectations? This is important, as all of us live by faith, but we need to be careful about overloading an object, a thing or a person with a faith or belief that cannot sustain the weight of our expectations. Living is more than a gold medal. Having faith is more than winning a great game. Having faith means that you are alive, believing with confidence, even what you cannot see or understand. Whatever you name your higher power - have faith. As a Christian, let alone a Pastor, I have the opportunity to have a robust, relevant and practical faith in all good things - friends, family and crew - but ultimately in the One, Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I learned a long time ago to name that higher power and to have faith. When life hits, I need a faith that can bear that life and death pressure. What do you need to believe in? Have faith. What a game.

WI NTER 2 0 1 3 | FIRE WATCH 11

forget that moment. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I could not have gotten through it without Michael and his committee’s help. Lynn Pocock


CHRISTMAS AT RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE I wanted to share this really touching quote from a family who stayed at the House over the holidays. This was just shared on our House facebook page and I thought it would be a nice reminder for you and your colleagues on what a positive impact your Christmas day visit has on the children and families at the House. “We were there for Christmas with our daughter and 3 year old granddaughter, while our son-in-law stayed in hospital with our very sick grandson. We were overwhelmed with the kindness of the volunteers who served us breakfast, the Toronto firefighters for their presence and gifts in the morning, and for the volunteers again for preparing, serving, and cleaning up a wonderful Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. The tears were many when we were kindly looked after by the different groups, one after another. We can never thank you enough for our experience at RMH Toronto. It was the most difficult time of our life, but also the most enlightening! The goodness, compassion, generosity and kindness of the people of Toronto shone through our darkness of worrying over our sick grandson. Thank you RMH Toronto!” Thank you so much Paul for your continued support – RMH Toronto is


so fortunate to have a friend in you and the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association. Kind regards, Jennifer Jarvis

HONOURING DARRELL ELLEMENT I am writing this letter with deep gratitude to Michael Ogle, his committee and the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association. On the occasion of my husband, Darrell Ellement’s, death, Michael Ogle became my contact with the Association and all the preparations that were carried out to honour Darrell. In my grief, I was able to relinquish the details of the service to the organization whose mandate is to take care of its own, and that includes their family. The service was beyond anything I was prepared for. The contingent of firefighters was astounding. The service was sombre, meaningful and a fitting tribute to my husband and his years of service to the Toronto Fire Services. The bagpipes inside and the pipe and drum band with the fire truck from Darrell’s hall was so special to me and his children. I was moved to tears many times as I fully recognized the importance of the whole day. Watching his final ride was the most moving thing I have ever witnessed. I will never

I would like to send a message of thanks to one of the Toronto Fire Fighters. Yesterday my 81 year Grandfather slipped and fell outside his house shoveling the driveway in the Keele & 401 area. The neighbour called 911 and my Nonno was taken to the hospital in the ambulance, he has been there overnight for observations. One of the Toronto Fire Fighters who was dispatched finished shoveling the driveway and laid salt for my grandparents and I would just like to say Thank You to whomever that fire fighter is. It is very refreshing to know that our city still has good people with good hearts. Thank you for your concern Mr Firefighter, thank you for taking the time and for your consideration. Our families are the most important in this life and I am so grateful to know that there are people that still worry and care for others well being. Wishing you and your family all the best this holiday season. Merry Christmas. Kind regards, Nina Petronaci

CHARLIE CROFT Charlie was a life-long supporter of Toronto area firefighters for many decades. He was one of the first volunteers to provide service to

Scarborough firefighters in 1976 with the organization of the Support Unit canteen. He volunteered hundreds of hours of service, day and night, to our firefighters over 37 years, ending his service with the Greater Toronto Multiple Alarm Association (G.T.M.A.A.). A life-long resident of the Beaches, Charlie had a successful career in the insurance industry, retiring from Confederation Life as purchasing manager. After retirement, Charlie and his wife, Pat, kept active with yoga, tai chi and

the local bridge club. After nearly 60 years of marriage, Pat passed away earlier in 2013, after which Charlie was welcomed into a local retirement villa on Kingston Rd. Well known in the fire buffing community, Charlie travelled throughout North America, attending the annual International Fire Buff Associates conferences no matter where in Canada or the U.S. that they were hosted. To honour his many years of service, Charlie was made a member of the Scarborough Firefighters Retirees’ Club.

THANKFUL FOR SCHOLARSHIP AWARD I would like for you to know that the scholarship awarded to me for $100 is greatly appreciated. This scholarship will help alleviate some of the stresses related to financing my post secondary education, and for that I am very thankful. I wish you all the best in the New Year. Thank you again, sincerely, Nathan Yacynuk

CUTTING FIRE SERVICES Two days ago, my next-door neighbor’s house went up in flames. They lost everything they owned. They were fortunate to escape with their lives. It was the scariest thing I have experienced in my entire life, watching it all take place. My family and myself were lucky enough to escape with minor smoke/ soot damage to our home. Although we have a firehall at the end of our street, I hate to think what may have happened had there been a delay in response time due to Toronto City Council’s reckless plan to cut millions from fire services. The firefighters prevented my home and the neighbour on the other side of the house on fire from also being destroyed. If there are cuts made and there are fewer firefighters, they may not have been able to save our homes. I am asking that you please do not proceed with these cuts, cuts can be made elsewhere. Just think for a moment how you would you feel if you lost a friend or family member due to the fact there was a shortage of firefighters or trucks and they did not make it in time. We cannot afford these risks as it will put peoples lives in danger. Minutes do matter! Sue

WI NTER 2 0 1 3 | FIRE WATCH 13




Photo by Larry Thorne



SCBA tested, log signed Fresh flashlight on coat New battery in radio


lright, you are ready to go and it took less than ten minutes. Time for a little breakfast and see what is in store for the day. Captain Davis is in today. Wonder how his holidays were, you think. It’s a warm-up for his retirement; his clock is ticking, a great career winding down. You are riding behind him today. You had a good run in charge but nice to see him back. Great guy - great mentor. Hope you remember half of what he taught you - only 413 more promotions until you get made. Grabbing a bite to eat, you top up your water bottle and shoot the breeze with the crew coming off shift. They had a good night, only four after midnight. The driver tells everyone the Rescue is in good shape but will need some fuel. You see Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu come into the kitchen. You think you are the only 14

one that knows his real name is Reginald, as everyone calls him Fieldy. No idea why… but he has been called that since he started. At least you know why you have your nickname, “Munky” Shaffer. At your recruit graduation over 23 years ago, your mother said to a class-mate that you were called Munky by the family since you were very little. That secret lasted twelve seconds and well, that name stuck…..most do not know your name is James Shaffer. Okay, time to take care of business. You head off to the bathroom for your morning ‘routine’. Having a seat, you notice a copy of Fire Watch wedged in the back of the stall door. Leafing through it, you notice an article on something called ‘Dream On.’ Seems like an interesting read and you wonder if those two guys can write about anything else except for doom and gloom on the fire ground. Suddenly, the speaker cracks and you are dispatched to a reported working fire in a house. You will be first in, it is right around the corner. The dispatcher adds, “Reported people trapped.”

window and right onto the flames - come on, cool down - let us get in there. The next due will be here soon. We have to knock it down some before we enter, or when we open that door, we will be right in the flow path. Not where you want to be. Captain Davis radio’s the next crews to set a ground ladder to make entry into the second floor to search. You flow sixty seconds of water into the window and now you take the line over to the front door and mask up. You are ready to enter, awaiting the order. You see the next crew arrive; great, back up - IRIT, Captain Davis gives you the nod. That’s his go ahead. Fieldy is up and takes the door – damn he’s good. Door open, you begin advancing inside. It’s an inferno. There seems to be way more fire in the interior than what you thought from the outside. It looks like two fires of Pompeii in the rear of the house. You advance about two feet and promptly trip over a tricycle and hit the floor. You are lying in a pile of kids’ shoes – don’t think about it, keep moving. Laying on the floor you can see a stair only inches from your face. If anyone is alive in this hell, they are upstairs; you and Fieldy better get going. The back up crew enters behind you; Captain Davis tasks them with hitting the fire in the rear. Captain Davis gives you a tap on the leg – man, we

have worked together for so long we don’t even have to speak - you head upstairs with the line. Fieldy is feeding you line as you go up, Captain Davis is helping, as he orders Fieldy to control the front door. You advance up the stairs with Captain Davis. Man, conditions are changing rapidly, faster than you have ever seen. It’s getting fed oxygen from somewhere, the beast is rising, and we are going to lose this battle… Suddenly, you hear over your radio, “EVACUATE, EVACUATE, EVACUATE,” from Command… There is a large crash. You turn around and look – no one is behind you. You just have time to see that the whole FLOOR where Captain Davis was just seconds ago is gone and then visibility hits zero. You are driven to the floor by the intense heat - you call to Captain Davis – no answer. Hell, there is no floor – it’s as if your brain won’t (or can’t) process what your eyes saw. He can’t be gone. Focus, you tell yourself. I need to get help for him…help now. You reach down and press the orange emergency button on your portable radio, take a deep breath, and press the transmit button on the remote mic. You pause for a second and try your best not to sound as scared as you really are, “MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY.” To be continued…

Flashbacks to being new on the job and your first Captain’s words of wisdom run through your head while you get your bunker suit on. Before every fire he used such quotes as: “Son, it is time to roll up the sleeves to go to work and not just to flex.” “You have to realize what is at stake when you wake up and go to work.” “It is more than wearing a t-shirt to a bar and thinking you are a rockstar.” “Son, if you think you are a hero, be prepared, heroes don’t need help.” “Hero is a state of mind.” “Are you going to work or are you here for the t-shirt?” “There is a difference between a work horse and a show horse.” And the one that sticks to you, his last words of wisdom before he retired and his last words to you before you saw him again at his funeral: “Be a leader, a fish rots from its head down.” Focus, what is this with not focusing when you should be…is it the first sign of panic?

Photo by Larry Thorne

“Gear is on the Rescue

You’re sitting in your jump seat, strapped into your mask, flash hood around your neck - you test your flashlight (just to make sure) and you are there. Your Captain radio’s a serious working fire. You disembark and you remember reports of people trapped. It’s a two story detached and you know the neighborhood, as it’s your first due area. All these homes were built in the mid to late 1960s. There is heavy smoke coming out of the front and flames out of the side. Now you get a huge adrenaline rush. It is (expletive) rolling. Time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Automatically, your mind takes you back a number of years to that bad house fire around Christmas. The one where the family with two children died. That was horrible, one of the worst moments in your career. You fought hard there with your crew and it’s something that you think of regularly, although you never tell anyone about it. Never mind that right now you tell yourself, its time to focus. You can see the thermal column. Heavy black, turbulent smoke…oh boy, its bad. You and Fieldy grab a line. You yell to Fieldy, “We have to cool before we enter, or we will burn up, no one will survive.” You hit a straight stream through the open

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om leave fr s, eady to r g in road in a tt trol ge of the m a e p n d o a o n o Ar st Haji IEDs. t Outpo ed with in Comba m y il v a e h t s and mo




ast November, I attended a fundraising dinner in support of Brandan’s Eye Research Fund at the invitation of my friend Leslie Philp. Her 12-year-old daughter Sarah, who has undergone more than 50 eye operations to treat her retinoblastoma, was a speaker at this worthwhile event. Leslie is the print broker responsible for the production of Fire Watch; she seated me beside Frank Ramagnano. During the evening, Frank and I struck up a conversation, talking about some of the things we have in common – I’m the editor of the Hamilton Police Association magazine, The Back-Up. Frank showed me pictures of his family vacation last summer. As he rapidly scrolled through them on his phone, including snaps of their stop in Ottawa, an image caught my attention. “Stop, go back,” I said. There on the screen was a picture of Pte. Terry Street of the Second Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, who was killed while on patrol in Afghanistan on April 4, 2008, the 82nd casualty of that conflict. Frank and his family had visited the memorial tribute to Canada’s fallen in Afghanistan, which was on display in the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings.

Building a sleeping bunker, which must be strong enough to withstand a direct hit from a mortar.

The Department of Defence shipped the memorials from Afghanistan and put them together in a tribute that was unveiled on Parliament Hill on July 9, 2013. The plaques honour those who fell since the start of the mission in 2002: 158 Canadian Armed Forces members, one Canadian diplomat, one civilian contractor, a Canadian journalist and 40 U.S. Armed Forces members who were under Canadian command. The memorial is now travelling across the country; it will go to Washington, D.C., before it returns in two years to a permanent home in Ottawa. Terry’s photo was prominently displayed in a glass case, accompanied by a memorial poem hand-carved in two large wooden beams. Beside Terry’s “hero” photo, as the military calls these official portraits, was an explanation of where the poem had been written and the circumstances of its creation and repatriation. The author of the poem is my son, Eric MacStravick, who served alongside Terry. During the two months they had been in combat together, continuously outside the wire in various forward operating bases, they had become as close as brothers. Eric’s patrol was on a different stretch of the same road when an Improvised Explosive Device detonated beneath Terry’s Light Armoured Vehicle, where he sustained mortal injuries. Just the day before the fundraising banquet, Eric had gone to Ottawa to be interviewed by the CBC, which was filming the story of Terry’s death and the poem for its Remembrance Day coverage. Terry was certainly on my mind that evening in November – he’s still a very real and daily presence for us, and always will be. It was a shock to see the picture on Frank’s phone. Even though I never had the pleasure of meeting Terry, my son has thousands of pictures and videos of the guys together. The bond that he and Eric had formed was something special. It seems surreal to watch the guys clowning around in makeshift lean-to, or taking snaps of a massive sandstorm blowing in and engulfing the base, or pointing to a hole in the tent canvas made by a Taliban shell just minutes after the guys had finished their break and moved off. One video shows their shipping-container quarters. Terry suddenly opens the door, walks in and sticks out his tongue. The first time I saw it, a few days after Eric returned from his tour, it took my breath away. Terry was up there on the screen, forever young at 24 and so full of life, just beginning to contemplate the endless choices ahead of him. B Company was profoundly shaken by Terry’s death but there was no time to grieve; in combat situations, the military keeps everyone busy so they won’t be overcome by what has just happened. It’s also

Eric tak ing a b reak du a lull in ring a firefig ht in Sia a Taliba h Choy n stron , ghold.

difficult because military helicopters swoop in from Kandahar Air Field to fly the wounded and dead to the base. There are no goodbyes and sometimes no word for days about what’s happened to their brother. After the helicopter left with Terry, who was still alive but clearly gravely injured, the platoon had to continue their mission, taking fire around the clock from insurgents and fighting alongside the Afghan National Army and Police. To help come to grips with the loss of his friend and to honour Terry, Eric wrote this poem: While some men talk and give in to fear We left our homes and all we held dear To come and fight and meet our death And remind the world lest you forget That honour and courage are not just words But ways of life we proudly served. So think long and hard as you walk by About the things for which we died Because on this ground warriors stood Bought and paid for with our blood. When days are dark and you’ve had enough Think of what we gave and remember us. Pte. Ryan MacGregor and Sgt. Brent Gallant carved the poem into a beam of wood, the only material available at Combat Outpost Talukan, which sits beside the Arghandab River in the Panjwai district. They jettisoned some of their personal gear to make room in the LAV for the beam and took it to Kandahar at the end of their tour. It was placed in customs quarantine and that was the last they saw of it. In the fall of 2008, 2PPCLI returned to their home base in Shilo, Manitoba. One of the reasons Terry and Eric had formed such a close bond was the role each played during patrols. Eric was the lead scout for his platoon; his job was to find a route that would take the patrol in the right direction while avoiding IEDs and ambushes. Because the lead scout has to look ahead at the lay of the ground, he needs a buddy to act as security and watch his back. That was Terry. When he died, Matt Luloff was transferred from the company reconnaissance platoon to bring Eric’s platoon up to full strength. Matt became Eric’s fire team partner. Eric and Matt led patrols (Eric with a machine gun at the front and Matt behind directing him, both hoping neither of them found a mine). Eric and Matt became fast friends and have kept in close contact since leaving the military, travelling the world and the country together. WI NTER 2 0 1 3 | FIRE WATCH 17

REMEMBERING...Continued from page 17

Matt is now on staff with MP John McKay, who last fall was the federal Liberal Critic for Defence. One day, as Matt was passing through Centre Block, he stopped to look at the large memorial. Right in the centre of the rotunda was the glass case containing Terry’s picture, the poem and an accompanying explanation – which misspelled the author’s name. Of course, Matt was able to fix the snafu and the story came full circle. The exhibit now says that the poem was written by Pte. Eric MacStravick. But during his tour, Eric was given another name. Almost as soon as Eric arrived in Kandahar, he called and asked me to send a cross that he could wear on a chain around his neck. I was surprised but glad to hear that he had faith in something greater; something that he believed would help him see the right path when on foot patrol through territory saturated with IEDs. I told my friend and her husband, who are like family to us, about Eric’s request. My friend’s husband is a Muslim; he immediately said that Eric should also have an Allah symbol with him. He quickly retrieved a beautiful silver chain and symbol, which had been given to him by a grateful patient. He felt this was the right thing to do with it. The next care package to Eric contained the Allah. Eric wore both religious symbols around his neck with his dog tags, which was puzzling to the Afghan civilians and soldiers that he encountered. Sgt. Dan Holley, who had served on a previous tour and spoke a little Pashto, was able to explain that in Eric’s view, there should be no division between Christians and Muslims and that, each represents one side of the same coin. At first they found it hard to believe that a Christian would do this, but they accepted it and respected his willingness to be open to their point of view. Wherever the Patricias went, they always stood shoulder to shoulder with the Afghan National Army in protecting the villages they encountered. The Taliban treated the local populations badly, taking whatever food, money and supplies they had, beating them to get information about troop movements and intimidating them so they wouldn’t help the Canadians. The locals responded by telling the Canadians where the Taliban had hidden IEDs. The Patricias sometimes shared their rations with the Afghan soldiers and locals in the combat outposts (the Afghans only ate halal food). The troops have MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), which are nutritious, sometimes tasty, but definitely monotonous. Afghans would take parts of the MREs, add local spices, fresh-baked bread and their version of Pashtun Betty-Crocker touches

and produce delicious food that everyone shared. Some of the soldiers were former Mujahideen, warriors who had fought against the Russians and Soviet-aligned Afghan fighters in the Soviet War in Afghanistan (1979-89). Their leader was Ahmed Shah Massoud of the Northern Alliance, which had resisted Soviet occupation and had opposed the Taliban rule in the early days before 9/11. In part because Eric wore both the cross and the Allah symbol, one of these old Afghan fighters said that Eric should be given an honourary Pashtun. This gesture of friendship was reciprocated not too long afterward. During a firefight, a Taliban rocket killed one of the Afghan soldiers – the good-natured joker of the platoon. It is the local custom to bury a Muslim’s body with a religious icon. The Afghan people are poor and the soldiers certainly had nothing of value that would do. Eric offered his Allah symbol, which demonstrated his respect for a comrade in arms, especially since the Afghans knew the necklace was valuable – and valued by Eric for what it represented. In his next phone call, Eric explained what had happened. I told the story to my friend and her husband, and thanked them for helping Eric offer a hand of friendship and understanding across cultures half a world away. I added that Eric had been given a Pashtun name. “His name is ‘Salamadeen.’ It means ‘bringer of light, one who walks the path of peace.’” My friend’s husband replied, “That’s what my name means in Persian.” The things we do, large acts and small, are like pebbles dropped in a pond. The ripples travel beyond our ability to see, create connections and sometimes reach faraway places in ways we can never imagine. A memorial links our past with our present and reaches out to grasp the future. An object to which we give meaning can symbolize what we hope, feel and believe. It’s a marker for those who come after us, explaining what we valued. Eric returned home safely and is finishing his university degree. Although the deserts, mountains and poppy fields of Afghanistan are not part of the daily news anymore, the war in Afghanistan changed how Canadians think of themselves. The soldiers who served their country and died for it live on in our memories. The question of whether Canada should have been involved in that war can be debated. But there’s no denying the connection between a little Afghan girl who just wants the chance to go to school in safety and the ideals this country represents.

Captain John Wilde and Fire Fighter Joseph Kennedy August 29, 1960 In the summer of 1960, the Scarborough Fire Department lost two of its fire fighters in an accident, eerily similar to the one that took the life of Scarborough Fire Fighter, Alexander Budd, in 1957. An alarm was set off at a Craigton Drive apartment by a smouldering chesterfield and fire fighters quickly responded to the call. Coming from Station 4 were Captain John Wilde and Fire Fighters Joseph Kennedy, Edward Dilkes and James LaPointe in a 1955 LaFrance open cab aerial. At just after 4pm, they approached the intersection of Warden Avenue and St. Clair Avenue East. Seeing that cars had stopped, they proceeded through the intersection. At the same time, a gravel truck advanced around the stopped cars and the aerial and gravel truck collided, covering the streets with stones and leaking gasoline. Both fire fighters in the rear, Edward Dilkes and James LaPointe, were violently thrown clear of the truck but managed to survive with several injuries. The gravel truck driver escaped without serious harm. Both the driver, Joseph Kennedy, and Captain John Wilde on the other hand had died from the impact of the accident. An inquest would later clear Kennedy of blame in the accident but recommended both reducing the speed limit on Warden Avenue and removing several distracting billboards, which remained unchanged for many years until the Warden TTC station opened. Joseph Kennedy was only 25 years old and was married with two children and with his wife expecting a third. For the relatively new family of John Wilde, this accident was all too familiar to one that happened three years earlier. His widow Alice had lost her first husband, Alexander Budd, three years earlier when he was responding to a call with the Scarborough Fire Department. Six children from their previous marriages, as well as a new baby, were now left without the 37-year-old father, who is now buried a few dozen feet away from Fire Fighter Alexander Budd. The 1960 accident would be the last fatal crash of an open cab fire truck in Ontario.

Robert Ludlow November 7, 1960 Twenty-two year old Robert Ludlow joined the York Fire Department as a recruit in 1960, and was well liked by his fellow fire fighters at York Station 2 on Hollis Street. Unfortunately, his life and his career as a fire fighter and would be cut short by a fire at the Dufferin and Eglinton Loblaws in his first year of service. Store manager Ronald McEachern had noticed a fire in the store and attempted to put it out with fire extinguishers before calling the York Fire Department. The fire quickly escalated to a second alarm and crews from Toronto Fire Department were also called to the scene. Several fire fighters were injured, including George Walford, who was found collapsed in the basement by another crew that successfully removed him from the scene. Minutes later, it was realized that Robert Ludlow was missing and was likely in the basement where the fire was located. The state of the fire and instability of the building made it impossible to attempt a rescue. Water was poured into the building until the floor collapsed and the fire had been completely extinguished. With fears that the building would collapse after suffering over $400,000 in damage, the evening was spent shoring up walls and pumping water out of the structure. It was not until the following afternoon that the body of Robert Ludlow was recovered not far from where Fire Fighter Walford had collapsed from asphyxiation due to carbon monoxide. Robert Ludlow’s wife of less than a month, Dorothy Louise Wood, was devastated as he was buried at Glendale Memorial Gardens. Years later, the York Fire Department created the Robert Ludlow Bravery Award in his honour.

Charlie Croft

May 26th, 1927 - December 26th, 2013 G.T.M.A.A. & Support 7

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going l -a patro on road ck, two in V A L a a Inside in the b ving. oldiers ri eight s Terry d h it w et, the turr


One of the two watchtowers manned around the clock with sentries, at Combat Outpost Talukan, part of a string of outposts along the Arghandab River. Flying over the outpost is the 2nd Battalion flag: VP stands for Victoria Patricia, the name of the princess who gave her name to the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

Eric an d at Kan his buddy Ala dahar n McW Air F illia Toronto Fire sh ield, wearing ms ir Paul S ukman ts sent from , STN 4 21, A s hift.

down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.

Darrell Ellement

July 5, 1950 - December 31, 2013 Start Date: January 5, 1976 Last Hall: 333 “A” Platoon


The IAFF: Working on Your Behalf


s a professional fire fighter in Canada’s largest city and a proud member of the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters Association, you are no doubt aware of the many important advances and protections your local union has fought for and won on your behalf, and how your local works hard for you on a daily basis. I know you’re also a proud IAFF member, but you may not be aware of what the International does for you on a daily basis. So you’ll be pleased to know that day in and day out, the IAFF and its staff are also working hard on your behalf in a number of areas, whether at IAFF Headquarters in Washington, DC or in the IAFF Canadian Office in Ottawa. Working closely with 13th District Vice President Fred Leblanc and with the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association, the IAFF provides the same high level of service to all affiliates large and small. All locals have access to the full range of IAFF

IAFF Canada Fighting Back

While celebrating these victories, the IAFF is also prepared to fight back against employer attacks on jobs, frontline staffing and working conditions such as wages, pensions, the arbitration system and the vital role you play in EMS delivery. The IAFF through 2013 continued to stand with the Canadian Labour Congress and other unions and actively participate in the fight against Bill C-377. This legislation, introduced by Conservative MP Russ Hiebert (South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale, BC), proposes onerous financial reporting requirements for Canadian unions including the IAFF and the TPFFA, and would force the public disclosure of a wide range of unions’ financial information. In 2013, the IAFF helped numerous Canadian locals – including Toronto Local 3888 – fight back against attacks on frontline staffing. Another important function of the IAFF Canadian Office is to stand up for the image of Canada’s professional fire fighters. Through direct contact with the media and through our social media channels, the IAFF Canadian Office ensures that our profession and those who proudly belong to it are portrayed fairly and accurately in the media and online. The IAFF Canadian Office responds vigorously on behalf of fire fighters whenever news stories or opinion pieces present false or misleading about our profession, whether it’s about frontline response capabilities or about fire fighters’ hours of work, salaries and pensions. For example, the IAFF helped Local 3888 and the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association set the record straight when disgraced Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente attacked Toronto fire fighters in two poorly-researched, error-filled columns in 2013, as we did in response to an article in MacLean’s Magazine that falsely implied fire fighters are the new “upper class” with average salaries of $100,000. The IAFF’s Canadian Twitter and Facebook sites deliver a constant stream of positive information about fire fighters and our value to our communities to thousands of followers every day. Just search IAFF Canada on either site and you’ll find us. I hope this gives you a good picture of how the IAFF is working for you on a daily basis. If you have any questions about the IAFF, please don’t hesitate to contact the IAFF Canadian Office at



premium services such as GIS mapping, Municipal Financial Analysis, health and safety research and custom media relations assistance. Local 3888 had a GIS pe formed by the IAFF in 2013 and has also used media relations assistance and many other IAFF services. The IAFF Canadian Office has a permanent staff of four, and is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every weekday. The role of the IAFF Canadian Office is to facilitate the delivery of IAFF services to the IAFF’s 179 Canadian locals, which have a total membership of 22,300, and to serve as a direct resource to Canadian locals upon request. On a larger scale, the IAFF Canadian Office implements the IAFF’s Canadian Legislative Program, conducts the annual Canadian Legislative Conference and Biennial Canadian Policy Conference, and runs the Canadian Political Training Academy – all of which benefit Local 3888 and its members.

Scott Marks retired from the Toronto Fire Service in 2010 with the rank of Captain, and was subsequently appointed by IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger as his Assistant for Canadian Operations. He is also President Emeritus of the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters Association, IAFF Local 3888.

Canadian Political Training Academy

Biennial Canadian Policy Conference

IAFF Canadian Legislative Program

The IAFF Canadian Political Training Academy is a premier event that delivers advanced political action skills to Canadian IAFF members who aspire to run for elected office or fulfill senior roles in the election campaigns of other candidates. A total of 75 fire fighters from locals across Canada including 10 Toronto Local 3888 members have graduated from the Canadian Political Training Academy since 2011; their new skills are a tremendous asset to the IAFF and to your local.

The Biennial Canadian Policy Conference is a unique forum that gives Canadian IAFF members a strong voice within the International. The conference, held every two years in the year opposite IAFF Convention, allows IAFF leaders representing locals across Canada to debate and vote on resolutions submitted by Canadian locals, some of which are forwarded to IAFF Convention for final disposition. Canadian IAFF local leaders came away from the 2103 edition of the Biennial Canadian Policy Conference, held July 28 to 31 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, armed with communication strategies that will help them fight back against employer attacks on pensions and worker rights such as collective bargaining. Delegates adopted two important resolutions, including one that will result in an analysis of EMS in Canada to establish a strategy to maintain and enhance fire-based EMS, which is under increasing attack from paramedic associations and other groups. And as usual Toronto Local 3888 was well represented at the Canadian Policy Conference, ensuring your voice was heard when these issues were debated.

The year 2013 was extremely busy for the IAFF’s Canadian Legislative Program, which consists of year-round contact with MPs, Senators and senior federal government bureaucrats, and culminates in the annual Canadian Legislative Conference, which is held each spring and is one of the most respected grassroots lobbies that visit Parliament Hill. At the landmark 20th Canadian Legislative Conference in April 2013, a total of 110 IAFF delegates from across Canada, including several delegates from Local 3888, conducted more than 80 meetings with MPs, Senators and senior staff, calling for federal support for the IAFF’s top three federal legislative issues in Canada; the need to establish a national Public Safety Officer Compensation (PSOC) Benefit of $300,000 for the families of fallen fire fighters, ensuring fire fighters have priority access to vaccines during an influenza pandemic and amendments to the National Building Code to enhance fire fighter safety. Our lobbying paid off. As a direct result, Canada’s Pandemic Influenza Plan is being revised to specify that for the purpose of determining a sequence for vaccine eligibility during an influenza pandemic, you are a medical first responder and should be grouped with other medical responders and healthcare workers. The current plan does not specify a priority list for vaccinations, and during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, fire fighters were grouped with the general public for vaccine eligibility. This is just the latest legislative victory for the IAFF in Canada. In 2007, our lobbying won federal funding for a national Haz-Mat & CBRNE Training Program that has since trained close to 2,000 Canadian first responders, including many Local 3888 members. In 2004, we won Criminal Code amendments that protect you from the dangers of illegal drug operations, and in 2003, we won changes to the Income Tax Act that opened the door to better pensions for professional fire fighters. In November 2012, our hard work resulted in the adoption of Motion M-388 in the House of Commons by a vote of 150 to 134. Introduced by Liberal MP Hon. Ralph Goodale (Wascana, SK), M-388 stated that the federal government should act on the IAFF’s top three legislative priorities. It was a tremendous accomplishment and a testament to the effectiveness of our federal legislative program.

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November 30th, 2013, Variety Village was once again filled with the sound of holiday joy. Local 3888 members and their families came together for the annual Children’s Christmas Party. Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the event combined old favourites with new attractions. When the first Children’s Christmas Party was held, 700 children attended. Over those 15 years, the party has gotten bigger and better. Always popular with the membership, the Children’s Christmas Party has been an immense success and 2013 was no exception. Over 1,000 children came out to Variety Village. “Once again, I am extremely pleased with this year’s turnout,” said Frank Ramagnano, who has chaired every single Children’s Christmas Party since its inception 15 years ago. “Every child had a smile on their face and everyone was fully in-tune with the Christmas spirit. The Children’s Christmas Party is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to celebrate the holiday season, see each other’s families and spend quality time together.” Children were full of excitement when they entered the party area. There was craft making, candy making, cookie making, inflatable slides/bouncers, obstacle courses, a climbing wall, various games and new this year, a five-lane slot car game. If anyone got hungry, there were plenty of delicious food choices: pizza slices, hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, popcorn and cotton candy. There were also stacks of juice boxes and water bottles to wash everything down. While there are many activities at the Children’s Christmas Party, the highlight for everyone was the chance to meet and have their picture taken with Santa Claus. Led by a member of the Toronto Fire Fighters’ Pipes and Drums, Santa and Mrs. Claus entered the party area to much fanfare. For several hours, the festive couple made sure each child was able to spend a few minutes 22



BY ERIC ROSENHEK, 3888 OFFICE STAFF with them. Santa had tons of energy as he listened attentively to every wish list. When it came time for a picture, he ensured smiles were big and all eyes were on the camera. His famous laugh – Ho! Ho! Ho! – could be heard constantly throughout the entire building. “Mrs. Claus and I love attending the Children’s Christmas Party,” said Jolly Old Saint Nick. “We always look forward to celebrating with Local 3888 every year.” Children attending the party not only received a gift, but also learned that giving is just as great as receiving. Any child that donated an unwrapped toy for the Toronto Fire Fighters Toy Drive was entered in a draw for a Sony Playstation 4. These toys were collected and given out by fire fighters during the holiday season. Running the Children’s Christmas Party requires a lot of help. Fortunately, many volunteers and even some of Santa’s elves donated their time to ensure everything ran smoothly. “I can’t help but smile,” said Local 3888 President Ed Kennedy. “Whether it’s a volunteer, child or parent, everyone has a wonderful time. Christmas is a season to celebrate with family and help out those in need. The Children’s Christmas Party does a great job playing a role in that.” On behalf of Local 3888 members, President Kennedy presented a cheque to Variety Village for $15,000. Regardless of age, those who attended the 2013 Children’s Christmas Party went home happy. Without a doubt, the party has become the most anticipated event on the Local 3888 social calendar. “Fifteen parties down and many more to come,” Frank Ramagnano stated as the event finished. “The Children’s Christmas Party takes a lot of work and a lot of preparation by the whole entertainment committee. Seeing everyone enjoy themselves makes it all worthwhile. I’m very thankful for all the volunteers who help make this continuing tradition a success. Just like all of our members and their families, I cannot wait for the 2014 edition.”

Toy Drive Contest Winner

Blake Edgerton, 9 years old Son of Fire Fighter Pam Forrest R241-C and Acting Captain Mike Edgerton S232-A WI NTER 2 0 1 3 | FIRE WATCH 23

Member Profile on

Paul Mogavero



aul Mogavero was born and raised in East York and throughout high school he showed excellence at many sports. During his years at East York Collegiate, along with playing football, he qualified for OFFSA in wrestling and track and field. In 1980, he played baseball with the Leaside Maple Leafs and they won the Ontario Senior Baseball Championships. This excellence carried on after Paul became an East York Fire Fighter in 1981. He played hockey in the Southern Ontario Fire Fighters Hockey League, and in the summers he played in the GTA Fire Fighters Slo-Pitch League. In 1983, Paul went to the Ontario Fire Fighter Games and won four gold medals for the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash, long jump, and high jump. Paul’s greatest love though, was for the sport of curling. He worked his way up to playing in the Canadian Fire Fighter Curling Championships in Thunder Bay in 1987, where he and his team won the silver medal. In 1988, they won gold in Truro, Nova Scotia. By the time 1994 arrived, his team had made it to the Canadian Championships six times,


travelling to Thunder Bay, Truro, Saint John, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and playing at home in Toronto. During those years, they won gold 3 times, silver once, bronze once, and also had a 4th place finish. After the 1994 gold medal performance in Toronto, Paul put away his curling gear. He and his wife Anne already had two boys, Kyle and Todd, and their sister, Robyn, was on the way. Now his family was keeping him busy. During the time his family was growing up, Paul worked on school steering committees, including three years as School Community Council Chair. He also coached hockey, soccer, and curling. He took teams to tournaments all over the province and this continued even after his own kids had left school. Paul’s wife and all three children have helped many times at fire fighter events, including picnics, hospital visits, and the Annual Fire Fighter Christmas Party. Paul says, “My children learned some valuable lessons while helping out at events, where they have seen less fortunate people

so grateful for the small amount of help offered.” Paul has a fond memory of standing at center ice with Ace Bailey’s son, Todd, for the ceremonial puck drop of the 2001 NHL Hall of Fame game. Paul was invited to represent the Fire Service after 9/11. Todd Bailey was invited out of respect for his father, who was a former player and at the time of his death was an NHL scout, travelling on the ill-fated United Flight 175 on September 11, 2001. While Paul was invited to go up to a special box to watch the game with Todd Bailey and other dignitaries, he stayed at ice level. He wanted to get the players to autograph some fire fighter t-shirts, so that they could be auctioned off for the FDNY 9/11 Memorial Fund. He had a great deal of support from Borje Salming, Darryl Sittler, Norm Ullman, Dale Hawerchuk, Peter Stastny, and Guy Lafleur, who all signed many t-shirts. Borje Salming was a very infrequent visitor to these events, and his gracious signing of many Toronto Fire shirts helped to raise a large amount of money for the FDNY Fund. In the third period, Paul Henderson injured his wrist and asked Paul to help him get his skates off. This allowed Paul to chat with another great hockey player. The t-shirt auctions were a great success, and one t-shirt drew a generous bid of $2,000. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment were very generous to the 9/11 Fund also, inviting Paul and

three other Toronto Fire Fighters to a game. On December 8, 2001, the Leafs played the New York Rangers, again raising money for the fund. On that date, they were taking pictures for a book entitled, “A Day in the life of the Maple Leafs”. Paul and the other fire fighters were surprised to see their picture in the book when it was published. In a frantic six months, Toronto Fire Fighters, with Paul as the Charity Chair, raised over $271,000 and presented this money to the FDNY members. When Toronto’s amalgamation came, Paul was the President of the East York Fire Fighters Association. He sat on the Presidents Council of Trade Unions, comprised of each of the six previous presidents, including Mark Fitzsimmons from Toronto, Ken Bray from North York, Barry Papaleo of Scarborough, Billy Waugh of York, and Roger Ould representing Etobicoke. These six Presidents represented the new Toronto Fire Fighters and negotiated their first contract. Paul says that his first interest in Unionism came from attending fire fighter funerals. That is where he most felt the camaraderie and brotherhood of fire fighters from all over. Usually at his own expense, he has attended funerals all over North America. Some notable funerals were multiple fire fighter deaths in Buffalo, Detroit, and in 1999, in Worcester, Massachusetts. Worcester proved once again, how important an issue it is when fire fighters die in the line of duty. For security reasons, the President of the United States is almost never found in the company of the Vice-President, outside of Governmental sessions. At

this funeral, President Clinton, Vice President Gore, Senator Ted Kennedy, Senator Michael Dukakis, and the Governor of Massachusetts, were all in attendance. At most events, the President is brought in after everyone else has been seated, but in this case, all of these dignitaries were in attendance to witness 10,000 fire fighters solemnly file into the stadium, to mourn their brother fire fighters’ deaths. Paul has been a trainer or mediator for public relation conflict resolution issues across North America. The person who spurred his interest and helped train him in these issues was Dr. Eric Taylor. For this reason, Paul nominated Dr. Taylor’s name to be used for the OPFFA Educational Seminars, which are held twice a year in Niagara Falls. At the following OPFFA Convention, this nomination was achieved. Paul says “Fire fighters in Ontario owe much of their standing and unity today to the selfless teachings of Dr. Taylor.” Paul has held either an Executive or Steward position within the Association for 29 years. As an IAFF Human Relation Committee member from 2005 to 2013, Paul was fortunate to be an instructor at numerous OPFFA Seminars and IAFF Human Relations Conferences.

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REMEMBERING...Continued from page 26

A year after the September 11th tragedy, Paul was prepared to attend a memorial service in New York City. When the service was cancelled for security reasons, Paul decided to go anyway. He met up with a number of New York City Fire Fighters, who spent the day with him. After attending the formal events, they travelled to ten Fire Stations that had lost many fire fighters a year earlier. They were treated to amazing meals and brotherhood at all of those Firehouses. One Station was conducting a blood drive for a child of a fire fighter who had died. Paul was the right blood type and was able to help out in that way for another fire fighters family. Paul worked at the visit of Pope John Paul II from July 23 to 28, 2002, with 850,000 in attendance, as well as the SARS Concert on July 31, 2003, with about 500,000 people in attendance. Toronto Fire Fighters did a great job with very minimal onsite staffing. Each of these events was a huge success for the City of Toronto, and for Toronto Fire Fighters. Back in the 1980’s, Paul curled at more than the fire fighter tournament level. In 1983, he skipped a team to the Provincial Colts Championships. In 1989, he attended the Ontario Men’s Tankard Championships with former World Junior Champion, John Base, and finished with a six and

three record. Two of the three losses were at the hands of the World Champion rinks of Ed Werenich and Russ Howard. He played a number of cash bonspiels with Ed Werenich and Wayne Middaugh. He and Wayne won a tournament that paid a large cash prize as well as an all expenses paid trip to play in a tournament in Bern, Switzerland. While there, they enjoyed a site seeing train trip 4,000 metres up to Jungfrujock (which means “Top Of Europe”) on the Aletsch Glacier. The scenery was breathtaking! The train stopped for five hours at a small town about halfway back down. Rather than waiting the five hours, Paul and Wayne decided to walk the rest of the way down. They paid the price for that decision for the rest of the week. In 2007, the Canadian Fire F i g h t e r Championships were being held in Thunder Bay again. This was the 20 year anniversary of the first time he played at these Championships in Thunder Bay. Paul decided to return to action. In an exciting final against a strong British Columbia team, Paul’s team won another gold medal! Paul is currently an Acting Platoon Chief, on “D” Platoon at Station 231. After 33 years on the job, he still loves the camaraderie and being involved in the many aspects of being a fire fighter. Since joining the fire service, Paul decided to get all

the training offered, including being a Shift Training Instructor, taking the courses to be on the heavy rescue truck, along with his union activities and the self-rewarding charity work. Paul was awarded the IODE 2003 Fire Fighter Community Service Award for his charity work. One piece of advice he offers to new fire fighters is to, “Get involved in all aspects of the job. Take courses offered, do charity work, and don’t feel tied to your first hall. If you think you would like a change or a busier hall, go for it!” Paul is presently a Hall Steward, Health and Safety Rep, and regularly attends charity events. He continues to play hockey in the Scarborough and Toronto house leagues, and enjoys travelling to the International Fire Fighter Golf Tournament held each year in September. Away from the job, Paul has started a new fitness challenge. After learning of so many of his peers being successful at marathons, he took up running again last year, at the young age of 55, and plans to run a marathon in 2014. He did a half marathon in November and is currently training for the 30km “Around the Bay” Race in March and a marathon to follow in the Fall. Paul encourages fire fighters of all ages to stay in shape with whatever sport or activity they enjoy.

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I have often observed that a station’s character is a marriage of the fire fighters that work at the hall and the character of the neighbourhood it serves. Both the fire fighters and the neighbourhood often have complex and diverse histories that span decades. For a quarter month, every month, for an average of 30 years, we live in the communities that we serve. The people you meet and the calls you run influence you whether you realize it or not: the inhabitants, the paramedics, the police officers, the gawkers and by-standers, the houses you save, the ones you don’t and the patients that fall under the same stress.


When Parkdale was young, it was in its prime. Popular with wealthy Torontonians, it boasted mansions close to the lake, easily accessible railway stations, a beachside boardwalk and amusement park, a Canoe Club, two theatres and the famous Palais Royale, which was host to big bands in the 30’s and 40’s and the Rolling Stones in more recent years. All that influx of wealth gained from the revenue of those endeavours made Parkdale one of the most desirable and richest neighbourhoods in Toronto. Then came the Gardiner Expressway in the 50’s and a quick socioeconomic decline began.

The amusement park was destroyed (save the Sunnyside Pavilion and the Dance Hall beside it) to make way for the highway. Without the cottage industry that had built up around the area, the economics took a downward turn. The arrival of the Gardiner Expressway drove the wealthy denizens further west and,

because the highway cut the neighbourhood off from Lake Ontario, the waterfront views were replaced by the highway and the noise pollution that came with it. The mansions were turned into low-income rooming houses. Smaller, cheaply built houses and apartment buildings sprang up. The population density increased. The train stations were demolished. The theatres were destroyed. Since mansions are notorious for the amount of money it takes for upkeep and slumlords are not known for investing a great amount of money into infrastructure, the quality of the construction in the area dilapidated and new construction was little better. Buildings were either abandoned or overpopulated. After the decline of the neighbourhood in the 50’s, the 70’s brought more woe. The Provincial government decided to release long-term patients from its Queen Street and Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospitals, integrating them into the neighbourhood. South Parkdale absorbed most of the recently released patients, with many illegal bachelor apartments and boarding houses springing up to host them. The neighbourhood fell to crime, prostitution, drugs and homelessness. Its denizens, once wealthy, pleasure seeking, beach-going and upper class, were replaced with poor immigrants, blue-collar workers and a large number of inhabitants with mental challenges. This explains the medical calls. One fire fighter remembers his first call 24 years ago. The crew approached the patient who was biting his own arms, tearing out chunks of flesh, and then proceeded to bang his head against the wall. Hailing from the small town of Stoney Creek, he had a moment of, “What did I get myself into?” while the rest of his crew treated it as a normal occurrence. Yet, after 24 years, he is still there. All that history leaves an inexplicable mark on the neighbourhood, and, subsequently, the firehall itself. It is one of the few places in the neighbourhood that has been inhabited by the same ilk

for over 100 years. The firehall has not been empty since its creation and, by being an emergency response team that resolves problems and witnesses tragedies, it is a vital, living organ without which the neighbourhood could not function and would be much less safe. But for all its shortcomings, 426’s area has character. In recent years, it has become home to transients and artists, food movements, social outreach groups and gentrifying restaurants. It is a dynamic, bustling and lively area, rich with the cultures of its inhabitants. It also boasts the largest Tibetan diaspora in North America. In recent years, many properties have been bought and renovated and a number of young professionals and white-collar workers are turning the neighbourhood back into the desirable area it once was. Now that I have painted a picture of Parkdale, the character of the station ought to be apparent.


Parkdale was incorporated into the City of Toronto in 1889 and a year later, the Toronto Fire Department annexed the Parkdale Fire Brigade. Perhaps more than most neighbourhoods in Toronto, it has seen a lot of changes over the 124 years of its existence. Station 426 has its roots in two firehalls that were moved to the Lansdowne Avenue location when it was built in 1972: Station 15 at 220 Cowan Avenue (1907-1972) and Station 13 at 1717 Dundas Street West, at St. Clarens Avenue (1885-1972). 28

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Station 426...Continued from page 29

The Cowan Avenue site was noted for being one of three instances in the old City of Toronto where two fire stations were operated next to each other: Station 15, at 228 Cowan Avenue (built in 1900 to replace the original Town of Parkdale firehall), housing #15 Hose, and Station 18 at 220 Cowan Avenue, built in 1907 to house a new ladder truck. Station 15 was closed during the downsizing that occurred in 1935, with the pumper moved next door with the aerial. (Station 18 was renumbered 15 at that time). Station 13, on Dundas Street, was constructed to replace the original Town of Brockton fire station. It housed the T.F.D.’s last steam-driven pumper. The Chief of the 6th District also operated from this station. Eventually, after amalgamation, the two pumpers became Pump 426 and Pump 426Bravo. Pump 426 Bravo became Pump 426 and Pump 426 became Rescue 426. In the beginning, there was an EMS station in the south bay where the current workout room is but since EMS moved out there has been little change. A new kitchen, some solar panels and improvements like a heated hose tower and tarp room. Even their kitchen tables hail from old Stations 13 and 15. The years after amalgamation were interesting for the entire district. Having been part of the Toronto Fire Department for more than a hundred years, it was suddenly a West Command district. Being cut off from South Command and being part of West Command, on what seemed then to be but a technicality, made Station 426 feel somewhat isolated from most of its former department. In more recent years, the growing pains of amalgamation have ebbed and the gentrification of the area has reduced the number of calls. Until the 1990’s, when the neighbourhood started to improve, it was not uncommon to have two fires in a shift. The hose never dried and the bunker gear stayed wet. Even post amalgamation there have been days in the winter where 426 pulled double duty, rushing from one end of the city to the other with lines and pumps freezing over and the truck running out of fuel because of the calls being run.


What does this spell out for Station 426 and its character? Pride, grit, lots of fires, compelling saves and gory losses. After all, the words that usually follow the mention of Station 426 are, “That’s a good hall for catching fires.” The crews at 426 do things together on and off shift. Canoe trips, Christmas parties involving the whole family and helping each other move. Speaking to a select few, one thing strikes me:


they all mention the same incidents; they all say similar things about the neighbourhood and the hall. They all tell me to talk to ‘this guy or that guy on another shift.’ You can tell by talking to them that they have tremendous respect for each other and the job each one of them does - even between shifts. The neighbourhood they serve has made them rough around the edges but also incredibly compassionate and in tune with the human condition. These are fire fighters that deal with the ups and downs of a largely impoverished immigrant population with dozens of languages between them creating a massive language barrier (Polish speaking fire fighters are a huge asset for the Roncesvalles strip). They also deal with a large population of mentally challenged patients in an area where crime and drugs are the order of the day. These are seasoned vets that fight many fires in diverse types of construction, rife with building code violations and hidden trap-like spaces that sometimes house 15-20 people per one bedroom apartment. This explains why they are close knit. Living and observing fire and tragedy, but also humour and the bizarre, creates a closeness in fire fighters for which they are envied and admired, even though or perhaps because, it all comes at a price.


With today’s ever transforming cityscape, no one is immune to change and there has been heated debate over whether or not to move P426 or R426 to the new hall at the Exhibition. Needless to say, no one is terribly excited over the thought of breaking up the family. But for now, 426 still has it all: fires at mansions and low-end rooming houses, medical calls (suicides, GO Train jumpers, self mutilations, overdoses, shootings, stabbings, mental patients burning things etc.), autoextrications in the city and on the highway, floods and various other rescues. They participate in the endeavours of the community, saving pets, taking part in and responding to calls during Caribana, and chauffeuring Santa Claus and his Polish counterpart Swiety Mikolaj around the neighbourhood before dropping them off at the local Polish Church on St. Nicholas Day. Most have worked together for the better part of 20 years and as soon as someone gets picked up they rush back as soon as they can. Turnover is low. One fire fighter with a 24 year tenure quoted what a DC once said about the station: “The hall is on auto pilot. Things get done without anyone having to ask and everyone works in tandem. Each truck knows what they’re doing and you always know you can rely on the guy next to you.”

Letter from the Editor… Lynn Pezzelato


ust looking at the image below makes me chuckle. I remember as a kid playing broken telephone and laughed as a kid would, when the third person tried to relay the message that was transmitted. It took only two attempts for the correct message to be lost, so I was pleased with the submission of this issue’s article on communication.

At times it seems the topic is drilled into us, however, I believe it is because of its value and importance. The day we lose sight of verbal and non-verbal communication is the day we have silenced ourselves forever. In several ways, this is already happening today through the use of electronic devices and social media. I was in a restaurant a short time ago and saw a family of four having dinner, well, not really – I believe it got cold before they were able to eat! During their time together at the table, each one was on an electronic device (ipod, ipad, blackberry, etc.); there was little, if any, conversation. I have also heard, on several occasions, the loss of penmanship and correct spelling among youth...well, there’s always spell check! Whether it be on the fireground, through the IMS or with family and friends, listening and speaking are essential to ensure the message is sent and received, accurately. Could you imagine not hearing a Mayday call or responding to a fire on one floor when it was actually on another? What about being unable to take direction from the IC? When it comes to listening, I practice Stephen Covey’s 5th “Habit of Highly Effective People,” of seeking to understand before being understood, and while something may not be important to me, it may be to someone else, so I try to find value in what is said. Research shows that listening is more challenging than talking. Most people have something to say or a story to relay, however, not everyone listens and really hears when others speak – there is a difference! Listening to others empowers them and causes them to rely on you when they need a person to talk to. I invite you to practice the art of listening…

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What Was That You Said? N

o one will dispute the fact that effective communication is essential to fireground operation. It allows us to coordinate fireground tasks ...such as fire attack, search and rescue, and ventilation, just to name a few. Without effective communication on the fireground, things can go from bad to worse, leading to increased fire loss and damage. A similar correlation can be drawn with communication in our personal relationships. Our personal and family lives are equally as busy as that of the fireground. Time seems to be a barrier to many personal objectives, including communication. In the emergency services, we have an added strain of working shifts, which can be a huge obstacle to overcome. One of the biggest hurdles is time scheduling; we are often off-duty when other family members and loved ones are working and vice versa. Even when we happen to be off at the same time, the demands of life can sometimes be so hectic that there is little time to reconnect with each other and just talk. Often, we find ourselves co-habitating with our family and not really living with them, leading to feelings of separation and disconnection. Effective communication can help to reduce these feelings. Often in our busy lives, our communication patterns are task oriented and not bond building. Although these types

of conversations are needed to accomplish the daily running of the household they often don’t allow us to feel close to one another. There is a solution to this dilemma; we have to schedule communication time. It doesn’t have to be a cumbersome and unreasonable amount of time – 15 to 20 minutes each day will do. Choose a quiet place, or one that is free from distractions such as TV’s and other media. Communicating person-to-person is best as it allows us to communicate both verbally and non verbally (using body language). If this is not possible, make sure to reconnect in person as soon as possible. Don’t use texts for this exercise, as it is often difficult to interpret tone, connotation, meaning or intent, which are frequently misunderstood. Unplug during this time, as there is no greater barrier to communication than the feeling that texts or emails are more important than the person sitting in front of you. Listen attentively to what the other has to say without interruption but allow for both people to have their turn. Enjoy the together and each other. Effective communications is crucial to healthy relationships, whether it’s between friends, family members, partners or co-workers. It allows us to voice concerns, present problems, explain feelings and accomplish tasks. Remember to take the time out of your busy lives, devoid of distractions, to communicate and reconnect.



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o we play hockey like the two previous World Police and Fire Games or should we try something else that won’t see us stuck inside an arena for the ten days the games are played, missing all of the incredible scenery that Ireland has to offer? We all agreed that it would be very cool to play hockey in Ireland, so we sent out a call to guys who are decent hockey players but more importantly, good, fun ambassadors to represent Toronto Fire. The general consensus turned out to be, that with only two ice rinks, the hockey portion of the games would be drawn out and most of us wanted to see the whole of Ireland and even travel over into the rest of Northern Europe. Based on that fact, the core group made the decision that we would not register for the hockey event. The question now was what team event would we enter? As we perused the list of 70 plus events that were being offered, softball was something that we all played and low and behold, it was only played from Aug 7th to the 10th! It was decided that we would register our team and it was game on! We needed to fill our roster, so the recruitment process began with emails; phone calls and social media to people who we knew were good players and good representatives. We then started on a design for our team logo and uniforms. We had to try to get some

sponsors to help with some of the cost for our uniforms, so we sent out 60 sponsorship packages to various businesses. Two of the replies were returned to us with good news! Hard Rock Cafe, Toronto wanted to be our primary sponsor and agreed to cover the cost for the team’s uniform. Our secondary sponsor would be the Fire Services Credit Union, who agreed to pay for two top-of-the-line softball bats. After the games were over, we agreed that the bats would then be donated to Camp Bucko. We still needed to help cover some costs for transportation of the equipment, so we sold some Toronto Fire baseball hats and t-shirts. Toronto Police Baseball organizers contacted us to see if we wanted to play a few exhibition games and practice for Belfast. We met on three separate occasions in various ball diamonds around the city, in order to get a feel for our new bats and figure out position assignments. Just a month before we were to leave for Belfast, the WPFG softball organizers informed us they were folding our division, due to low numbers of teams who had registered - we had a major problem. We had to enter the over 35 years of age division but we had three players who were under 35 (Matt Ormos, Jost Kaempfer and Brad Meldrum) and we wouldn’t have enough players to field a team. We had to make a three player swap with the police team, so

that everyone who had already committed was able to attend and participate. Most of us were there for the opening ceremonies, where we paraded through a small stadium, handing out Toronto Fire Fighter pins and patches that Local 3888 provided, while wearing our black and red jackets. It was a truly great and memorable night, meeting police and fire fighters from all over the world and seeing old friends from previous years. We played on a large field that had temporary fences set up to match the dimensions of a hardball field. We had to hand in our credentials and get our bats inspected before each game - it was a very tightly run ship. We had three teams in our division: Aurora, Illinois Police (Near Chicago) and an RCMP team with players from coast to coast. We lost our first couple of games but we won the right game at the right time and we found ourselves in the gold medal game against the team from Illinois. They beat us but we put up a good fight and earned the silver medal. We played hard at the Games and we also played hard at night and met a lot of great people from Belfast and all over the world. A huge thank you again to Hard Rock Cafe, Toronto and to the Fire Services Credit Union for helping us with financial sponsorship. A special thanks as well to the partners who came out to cheer us on!


I would like to thank our players who dedicated their time and moneyto make our team successful:

Brent Barton 331-C Jason Atwell 332-C Paul Versace 332-C Peter Niraanen 345-C Jan 2014

Brad Meldrum 311-C Matt Ormos 344-C Warren Deborst 312-D Allan Bentley 114-B

Jost Kaempfer 332-A Mike Sayers 235-D Ken Sherman Ajax fire

Communications - 416-338-9001


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I’m Sorry to Have to Tell You This...

would simply call communications and say, “dispatch me a Chaplain.” Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t always align with the ideal. Sometimes in the crisis of the moment, available resources aren’t called upon. Over the years, the TFS has gotten very good at incorporating RIT and Mayday protocols at fires. Perhaps the Chaplaincy should be added to these protocols and be seen as its own sector – call it the “Soft Sector.” Responsibilities such as the notification process, needs for consoling, gathering information (in conjunction with the Public Information Officer), protecting the family from the media and after care could all be coordinated by the Chaplain.




he Baltimore Fire Department Chief’s Car comes to a stop. John Travolta and a Chaplain get out, steady themselves and start walking toward the house. Joachim Phoenix’s wife sees them – but she already knows that it’s bad news and puts her hand to her mouth as she begins to cry… We’ve all seen movies like Ladder 49, where the hero is hurt or dies and the Chief has to knock on the door and

inform the family. This is Hollywood, where the scenes are written to evoke emotions. However, what happens in our world - the real world? This past fall, I attended the World Burn Conference in Rhode Island, where I was privileged to hear Lionel and Joanna Crowther speak. Lionel is a Winnipeg Fire Fighter who sustained major burns in a 2007 fire that claimed the lives of Captain Harold Lessard and Captain Thomas Nichols.

NOTIFICATION To get some answers, I made a few calls to some of our Association Executive members about what‘s in place should I go down at a fire. Lionel was conscious and was able to direct others on who to call and how to get Joanna to the hospital. But what if I were unconscious? Our SOGs are actually quite detailed. They lay out that The Fire Chief or designate shall notify the family, and that he/she will work with the TFS Chaplain during this task. Also, that an individual or team shall assist the family members with transportation and/or other duties as assigned. Yet, the SOGs are only effective if everyone knows them and plays their part. At 3am, will the right people step in and get it right? Will they try and call my wife? Will they drive to Barrie and knock on the door? Will they get a Barrie Chief to do it to save time? How will they even know how to get a hold of her? A recent Fire Chief’s Advisory, FCC 13-156 directs us to update our contact information. District Chiefs (including the DC of Communications) has access to that information in the Quattro Staffing Program. However, if we don’t update our information, they may be scrambling to get the right address or phone number.

ENVELOPE SYSTEM Sacramento Fire Department reportedly has a very comprehensive response to fire fighter injuries. The notification 34

Joanna’s presentation struck me the most because she spoke about how she was notified of Lionel’s injuries, how she dealt with the initial hours and days of the ordeal, and how their family continues to work through that experience. With that planted squarely in my mind, I began to wonder… if I was in a situation similar to Lionel’s, what would happen to me and my family?

part involves an envelope system where the fire fighter fills out a form with his/her wishes and seals it in an envelope. This envelope is accessible by the fire fighter for updating and is also accessible at a moment’s notice in case of emergency. If we had such a system, the envelopes could be stored at the fire halls and, if you get injured, the Platoon Chief could either go get it himself, assign a Chief to retrieve it, have the fill-in truck rush it to the scene, or call for a Chaplain to retrieve it and start the notification process. Sacramento goes further and has a Liaison Response Team that keeps track of everything (makes sure people are eating, have hotel rooms near the hospital, etc.) Lionel mentioned it is very important to have a liaison person to deal with the media and doctors, as this can easily overwhelm spouses and family.

CHAPLAINS Most of us know we have four Chaplains, one per Command. Where do they fit in to all of this? They themselves probably ask this question as well. I spoke to David King, North Command Chaplain. He describes the work of the chaplains, in part, as offering a “ministry of presence” - being a calm, empathetic, and available resource for fire fighters. Using their advanced interpersonal skills and experience from their full-time ministry places, it would seem that chaplains are a ‘good fit’ for a situation described above. So, how are they notified? In a perfect world, the Platoon Chief

Another concern is social media. With the number of people on scanners and those following our fire reporting feeds, if a fire fighter is injured, the social media world is informed about a millisecond after it happens. Do you want your spouse to hear about it second-hand like this, with little or no details and nothing official from the department? One can imagine the additional stress and hardship placed upon your loved ones, should they learn the tragic news through an indirect source. It’s something we have to plan for to minimize the harsh reality of the situation. If your spouse did hear the news in the wrong way - would they know where to call to get a hold of someone official? When it comes to the reporting by media outlets, we have to control this as much as possible. The media is relentless and they are not there to help you (they hounded Lionel’s mom at home, badgering her for quotes and information because Joanna was mostly protected at the hospital). Do you want your family to have to deal with this? This is where the Chaplain or Liaison Team would be a go-between or a conduit through which the family could deflect the attention.

AFTERCARE The notification process and the first hours and days are as critical to the survival of the fire fighter, as they are to the well being of the family. However, the weeks and months after the event are just as important. “Compassion Fatigue” is a very real condition where the care-givers (Joanna, in Lionel’s case) are concentrating so much effort on the injured person that they wear themselves down by not eating, not sleeping, or simply not getting a break every so often. I already know my wife would be susceptible to this and having someone to make sure she is not over-extending herself would be ideal. This is another area where the Chaplain would excel. Further areas of aftercare, in coordination with the Association and EAP, would be efforts such as coordinating visits, arranging rides for the family to the hospital, gathering the gifts of food and offers of help while the fire fighter and their family are unable to manage. We are a family in the fire service but sometimes we need that lead person to pull it all together.

EXPANDING THE CIRCLES Critical Injury Stress (CIS) is another concept that we have embraced in our generation, but do we always get it right?

We target the main players and the immediate crews and we work to see to their mental needs. There has to be someone to ask the other “fringe” people that may be affected. Many Mayday stories talk of others experiencing CIS (sometimes days and weeks later) such as the dispatchers who ran the call, the “Exchange Day guy” that wasn’t there when he/ she should have been. At the World Burn Conference, I heard a Los Angeles Fire Fighter, who was burned in a forest fire, speak about finding out much later that the helicopter pilot who helped in the search had suffered some CIS. We do have a strong EAP presence in Toronto, so we just have to make sure that no one is missed and that people get it in a form that suits them. Through Joanna and the nursing staff, Lionel had access to visits from “the guys” and he said that having them to talk to was great because sometimes your spouse or family might simply not be able to understand the experience in the same way that a seasoned fire fighter would.

WHAT CAN WE DO TO “GET IT RIGHT”? After reviewing the situation in Toronto, I believe that most of the pieces are there – we just have to bring them together. Here are a few suggestions that I have on how you can prepare yourself and your family, and how we, as a department, can prepare if someone is injured at a call. You, the Firefighter • Refer to FCC 13-156 and update your contact information. • Talk with your spouse, significant other, parents or friends about what you want taken care of if you are injured on the job. • Have a guardian ready (at all hours) in case your spouse or family needs to go straight to the hospital. The Chaplaincy • Include the Chaplains in the Mayday Protocol and dispatch them to all such calls. • Expand their role, through the Association, EAP and PIO division, to meet the short-term and long-term needs of an injured fire fighter. • Have these groups include contingencies for Compassion Fatigue and plan for extended aftercare needs.

NOTIFICATION • Do more research into the “envelope” system for the TFS. • Discuss, at the Association level, how families in other cities are being notified using that city’s Fire Department. • Establish a Hotline (or designate a current phone number) for family in case they hear about the injury in the “wrong way” and want to phone in for official details. At a fire, we minimize the risk by planning ahead. Preplanned tactics and procedures make us communicate better and ultimately make us safer. If we apply this same level of preparedness to the event of an injured fire fighter, we will minimize the damage done to our families and thus reduce the stress on us. Combating chaos and staying safe is our ultimate goal. For those times when injury happens, it’s comforting to know that there’s a plan in place – a plan that protects us, our interests, and especially those we love. WI NTER 2 0 1 3 | FIRE WATCH 35


Captain Darrell Ellement takes his final ride on Pumper 333 as hundreds of Toronto Fire Fighters salute their fallen Brother.


MPP Mike Colle and the crew at St ation 134-A recognize retiree George Bu tte rwick for his volunteer work in the com munity.

Damien Walsh, Janos Csepreghi and Gord Snellings, along with the crew from Station 433-C, donate $1,000.00 to Daily Bread Food Bank on January 7, 2014.

Fire Fighter Jeff Pos (114-B) offers special assistance to a resident while o n-duty on December 29th, during the ice storms.

Toronto Fire Fighters sit in City Hall Council Chambers during proposed budget cut debates and votes on January 30, 2014.

in a basketball Toronto Fire Fighters participate er 18, 2013, emb Dec on game in Richmond Hill ario Ont cs mpi Oly to help prepare Special ments. rna tou er oth and athletes for regionals

Toronto Fire Fighters from Station 422 attend Humbercrest Public School on December 17, 2013, to collect toys that were gathered and donated to the Toronto Fire Fighter Toy Drive.

Remembering GTMAA Life Member, Charlie Croft, at his funeral service on January 3, 2014.

Toronto Fire Fighters won the 201 4 Orlando “Guns ‘N’ Hoses – Battle of the Bad ges” ‘A’ Division Championship on January 24, 2014. 36

1Captain Rayanne Dubkov, who is currently undergoing treatments for breast cancer, poses with her Mum outside of the Sunnybrook’s TPFFA sponsored Patient and Family Support Room.

Toronto Fire Fighters donate just over $16,000 of a $100,000 pledge to the Sunnybrook Foundation in support of specialized surgical equipment for the Louise Temerty Breast Cancer Centre.

WI NTER 2 0 1 3 | FIRE WATCH 37

In Memoriam Active Members 2013 February 25, 2013 May 24, 2013 June 5, 2013 June 11, 2013 August 17, 2013 December 31, 2013

FF Wayne Boyd AC Greg Law AC Brian Kozluk FF Mark LeMessurier DC David Ross Capt. Darrell Ellement

30 Years 23 Years 20 Years 12 Years 35 years 38 Years

Capt. James Challis Capt. Earl Jones FF Allan Vader Walter Cunliffe Capt. Gerald Hagerman Capt. William Russell FF Doug Haynes Capt. Gord Mahood Capt. Mike Cober Capt. Bruce Gray Capt. James Wordley PC Jack Newman Capt. Lawrence “Rocky” Campbell Capt. Alex “Moe” Zubatiuk Capt. Jack Pieschke Capt. Ed Riley Capt. David LaRush FC Bryan Mitchell FF Danny Darnbrough Capt. Pete Chambers FF Kelvin C. Johnson DC Norm Kelly FF Allan Mugford Capt. Bob Draper Capt. Michael Bates PC Eddie Moore FF Ken Haseldon Capt. Charles Garfield Stevens DC Larry Hamill Capt. Ed McConnell

L113 L113 L113 L1137 L113 LODD L113 L3888 / L626 L626 L113 L1137 L113 L113 L411 L626 L626 L627 L3888 / L411 L1137 L113 L626 L113 L113 L113 L752 L411 LODD L113 L626 L113 L3888 / L113 L626

Retired January 6, 2013 January 16, 2013 January 21, 2013 January 29, 2013 February 2, 2013 February 12, 2013 March 15, 2013 March 12, 2013 March 28, 2013 March 28, 2013 April 13, 2013 April 26, 2013 April 28, 2013 June 11, 2013 June 9, 2013 July 14, 2013 July 18, 2013 July 23, 2013 September 9, 2013 October 10, 2013 October 14, 2013 October 17, 2013 October 27, 2013 November 19, 2013 November 18, 2013 November 22, 2013 November 26, 2013 December 2, 2013 December 13, 2013 December 26, 2013


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Hours: Mon-Wed & Sat 9am-6pm, Thurs 9am-7pm, Fri. 9am-8pm Sun. 11am-5pm

WI NTER 2 0 1 3 | FIRE WATCH 39








11 /Month

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• Who is at your home when your away

• Who is at your cottage when your away • Delivery person at your door

• Exterior doors and windows of your home or garage

• Interior rooms and hallways of your home or condominium.

Certain conditions apply. Taxes not included.


2013-08-01 4:02 PM


The fire fighter’s guide to health and nutrition

Recuperative vegetables: honey-glazed carrots Jazz up simple carrots with flavourful, on-hand ingredients when your taste buds need a lift.

Ingredients (Makes 4 servings)

• 1 lb carrots, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces (500 g) • 1⁄2 tsp ground ginger (2 mL) • 1 tbsp liquid honey, brown sugar or agave nectar (15 mL) • 1⁄2 tsp grated orange zest (optional) (2 mL) • 1 tbsp orange juice (15 mL) • 2 tsp butter, non-hydrogenated margarine or olive oil (10 mL)

This recipe courtesy of dietitian Lynn Roblin.

With VideoRelay you get live video and audio from your front door to your cell phone or computer from anywhere in the world. Bundle VideoRelay with your AlarmForce Home Alarm and save! Feel protected and call today!

In a medium saucepan, combine carrots and cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender-crisp; drain and return to pan over medium-low heat. Add ginger, honey, orange zest (if using), orange juice and butter to pan. Quickly stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until glaze forms.

Stick to your goal of getting active To help achieve a resolution to get active, add small chunks of activity into your daily routine. ‘Tis the season for making a New Year’s resolution to get active — and promptly breaking it. (If you are one of the reported 35 percent of people who do that by the end of January). Holland Centre Physiotherapist Suzanne Denis says don’t fear the “get active” resolution. There’s lots of ways to add activity to your daily routine so the resolution is easier to keep. And it doesn’t have to involve dragging yourself to the gym for hours.

Start Low and Go Slow

If you haven’t been active, don’t overdo it. If you start to strong, you might burn yourself out, or find it hard to keep up when the demands of life start piling up. Start with low intensity activities for short periods of time. You may feel mild muscle discomfort. If something really hurts, stop.

Think outside the Gym

Not everyone is a “gym” person. Don’t feel pressured to fork out a pretty penny for a gym membership, especially if running on a

by Alexis Dobranowski

treadmill isn’t something you like to do. Exercise is any activity that gets your heart rate up. If the weather is OK (wear footwear with good tread!), try walking with Nordic Poles, skiing, snowshoeing or skating. For you indoor types, consider a swim, aqua fit or a spinning class at your local community centre.

Break it up

The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. “If you think of it as 0 is no work at all, and 10 is ‘I’m working as hard as I can’, moderately vigorous is between 6 and 7,” Suzanne explains. The 150 minutes a week works out to roughly 30 minutes a day (with two days off). But, you can break this down even further and try three 10-minute chunks of activity per day. Several studies show that the 10-minute chunks provide health benefits. Take the stairs in the morning. Park a little further than your usual rock-star spot when you get to work. Take a walk at lunch. Do you get 150 minutes per week of activity? How? WI NTER 2 0 1 3 | FIRE WATCH 41

Re-printed with the permission of Sunnybrook Foundation, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Never open your door to a stranger again!


April 6 - 10, 2014

OPFFA Spring Seminar

Niagara Falls

April 11, Friday, 2014

FF Gala/Media/Off Duty


April 27 - 30, 2014

IAFF Leg Conference


May 2, 2014

3888 Retirement Dinner Dance

Qssis - Toronto

May 5 - 9, 2014

CLC Convention

Montreal, Quebec

June 1 - 4, 2014

OPFFA 17th Annual Convention

Blue Mountain Resort, Collingwood

Monday, June 23, (9:30 HRS)

General Union Meeting

RCL Br. 527 948 Sheppard Ave. W.

Tuesday, June 24, (19:30 HRS)

General Union Meeting

RCL Br. 527 948 Sheppard Ave. W.

July 3rd, 2014

3888 Golf Tournament

Royal Woodbine GC - Toronto

Thursday July 10, 2014

3888 Picnic

Centre Island

July 14 - 18, 2014

IAFF Convention

Cincinnati, Ohio


755 Queensway E. Unit 2, Mississauga, On. L4Y 4C5

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Fire Watch (Winter 2013)  

Local 3888 celebrated the 15th anniversary of the always popular and successful Annual Children’s Christmas Party at Variety Village on Satu...

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