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HALL SHOWCASE ON STATION 111 VOLUME 8 | ISSUE 1 | SPRING 2012

TFS Demographics

A detailed look at some interesting statistics across the job Publications Agreement No: 41203011


THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE TORONTO PROFESSIONAL FIRE FIGHTERS’ ASSOCIATION

VOLUME 8

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ISSUE 1

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SPRING 2012

IN THIS ISSUE 5 President’s Message 7 Secretary Treasurer’s Message

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38 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 www.torontofirefighters.org E-mail: firewatch@torontofirefighters.org

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Vice President’s Message

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Chaplain’s Corner

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Letters to the Editor

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Demographics & Statistics

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Fire Fighter Survival & Rescue

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Orlando Firefighter’s Hockey Tournament for MD

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2012 Patrick J. De Fazio H&S Seminar

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2012 Provincial Legislative Conference

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Angels Among Us: Always Looking to Do More

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Member Profile on Adina Kaufman

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Firehall Showcase - Station 111

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TORCON 2012

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Never Shall We Forget

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Executive Talk

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Behind the Mask

FIRE WATCH is published quarterly by iMarketing Solutions Group on behalf of the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association.

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How This Firefighter Lost His Way

CHIEF EDITOR Ed Kennedy

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3888 Recent Happenings

MANAGING EDITORS Frank Ramagnano & James Coones Tel.: 416.466.1167 Fax: 416.466.6632 E-mail: firewatch@torontofirefighters.org

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2012 Upcoming Events

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Ad Index

ASSISTANT EDITORS Marla Friebe, Rodney Johnston, Janos Csepreghi, Bill McKee, Damien Walsh ASSISTANT COPY EDITORS Alyssa Petrillo DESIGN AND ART DIRECTION iMarketing Solutions Group FIRE WATCH PHOTOGRAPHER Keith Hamilton

On The Cover

CANADIAN PUBLICATIONS MAIL Agreement No: 41203011 PRINTED IN CANADA Copyright © 2012 Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association ADVERTISING Debra Cheeseman, Project Manager Tel: 1-800-366-3113 Ext. 7806 Fax: 1-866-764-2452 Email: debbie.cheeseman@imkgp.com

Merchant Card Acceptance

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, or otherwise without prior written permission from the publisher. FIRE WATCH is an official communication tool of the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association. The Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association (TPFFA) does not assume responsibility for statements of fact or opinion made by any contributor. Comments made by individuals may not reflect the official position of the TPFFA. Acceptance and publication of articles, advertisements, 3 products and services does not indicate endorsement of same by the TPFFA, and the TPFFA assumes no responsibility for their accuracy.

Fire Watch’s highly anticipated annual TFS demographics issue with a wealth of interesting statistics!

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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE UPDATES ON ISSUES

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Bargaining

ur contract arbitration is still ongoing but there is a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. The last time the parties met with Arbitrator Kevin Burkett was on March 5th, and I was hoping that this would be the final session. However, the City has asked for, and been granted, one more meeting. The Fire Prevention and Protection Act demands that arbitrators consider the City’s “ability to pay” argument for our bargaining requests, and to this end, your Bargaining Committee retained an economist, Hugh McKenzie, who did an outstanding job articulating the Association’s point of view. The City has now requested to respond to our “ability to pay” arguments. Accordingly, we have requested as early a date as possible and indicated to Arbitrator Burkett that he convenes an evening session to finally conclude the process and file his final award. The final date for these proceedings has now been confirmed, and it will be Monday, May 28th, in the evening.

Staffing

As I noted in a recent President’s Message, your Association has been successful in stopping a proposal to cut hundreds of fire fighter positions from our present complement. To date, the City has dropped their demands for permanent cuts to staffing. Undoubtedly, our ‘Not Gravy’ public relations campaign and the public support garnered for Toronto Fire Fighters helped immensely. However, the membership should be aware that the issue is far from settled. In fact, your Local has retained the public relations company, Sussex Strategy, to continue to assist us with this and a myriad of other issues that seem to be percolating at City Hall.

Staffing shortages and the ‘gapping’ concept utilized by the City are still of great concern, affecting your safety as well as the public’s. There is an average of eight or nine apparatus out of service on a daily basis, not to mention that our aerials and squads are regularly reduced to three bodies – rather than the four bodies they should have (and require) – to effectively perform their tasks. In fact, our staffing is down by nine positions since amalgamation, while the City of Toronto continues to grow. Despite this, we are aware that the City will be exploring the possibility of reducing the number of staff even further in the coming year. We will take this issue to the Council floor to ensure that we have this issue addressed by all of Toronto Council. We saw 111 departures from Toronto Fire Services in 2011, and expect at least 130 retirements in 2012. This unacceptable situation will be even more negatively affected by continued attrition and the upcoming summer vacation schedule.

Filling of Vacancies Grievance (Article 49.01)

This grievance has already consumed three days of hearings and is not yet concluded. I want to quote the wording of this Clause in our Collective Agreement so that you can fully understand this issue: “A recruit class would be initiated when vacancies in the present work force created by death, retirement, resignation or discharge reaches forty (40).” The city has chosen to simply ignore this clause and has refused to start a class that should have been initiated in July or August of 2011. We believe this is an important part of our Collective Agreement that helps to ensure our members have an adequate number of staff to perform their job safely and ef-

Ed Kennedy

fectively. This is why your Association bargained to have it adopted as part of our Collective Agreement in September 2000. Since then, and until now, the City has always complied with its terms and conditions and although a recruit class was initiated this past February, we are still very much behind when it comes to hiring the replacement of staff that has left Toronto Fire recently. We must defend this Article as strongly as we would any other language in our Collective Agreement. We now have a final date to settle this dispute on May 7, 2012.

Retirements

It is with mixed feelings that I contemplate the retirement of our Fire Chief, Bill Stewart. Of course, I wish him a long, healthy and happy retirement. On the other hand, Local 3888 has enjoyed a positive relationship with the Administration of Toronto Fire Services since Chief Stewart was promoted in May of 2000. I believe that this is due to his firm grasp of the issues, his fairness and basic human decency. Before Bill Stewart was given the position of Fire Chief, your Association launched a ‘Quest for Respect’ campaign in an effort to ensure that our next Chief could interact in a positive manner and maintain a good working relationship with your Association, and I believe that we had a contributing effect on the decision. It will be even more important, going forward in these critical times, that we have someone like Bill Stewart assume the reigns of Toronto Fire Services and hopefully, Continued on page 9 S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH

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SECRETARY-TREASURER’S MESSAGE CHANGES TO OLD AGE SECURITY ELIGIBILITY

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hen the federal budget was released, it didn’t take long before members started calling me. They wanted to know the possible ramifications of the government moving up the age of eligibility for the Old Age Security Benefit? The age of eligibility for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement will be gradually increased from 65 to 67, starting in April 2023, with full implementation by January 2029 - an eleven year notification period, followed by a 6-year phase-in period. This legislative change to the age of OAS/GIS eligibility will not affect anyone who is 54 years of age or older as of March 31, 2012. In other words, individuals who were born on March 31, 1958 or earlier will not be affected. Those who were born on or after February 1, 1962 will have an age of eligibility of 67. Those who were born between April 1, 1958 and January 31, 1962 will have an age of eligibility between 65 and 67. This is one change that has me very confused. We heard from the government that a change had to take place because of the influx of baby boomers.

Yet, this change does almost nothing to affect the baby boomers, as they will be spared. The other issue is that the government does not prefund OAS/GIS unlike CPP. The government does not consider OAS as a pension but rather a social spending program. Therefore, by increasing the age, the government will not gain anything until 2023, and I am not sure how that helps the current government’s financial situation? The other confusing aspect is that a year ago, we were told that OAS was fine. In fact, this same government made some moderate improvements to OAS for low wage earners. Surely, if the program were in trouble, the government would have known about it a year ago. The government has created something I have described in previous articles as a “generational inequity.” Let’s look at the statistics, which show that tax paid benefits for people over 65 will triple to $108 billion by 2030 (from $35.6 billion in 2010). When looked at in the context of Canada’s growing economy, the cost of supporting the demographic bulge is not nearly as scary. As a percentage of our gross domestic product, Old Age Security will rise to 3.1 per cent by

Frank Ramagnano

2030, from 2.3 per cent in 2010, before declining again after the boomers retire. These statistics have been well known and analyzed for many years. I raise this not to be critical but to ponder if this is part of other changes the government is contemplating? Is this the first step to making age 67 the normal retirement age? The government could have made other changes to OAS that would have been less controversial. They could have changed the inflation indexing of OAS payments. The OAS rates are adjusted every three months, while other program rates are adjusted once a year. Canada Pension Plan, for example, has only annual indexing. They could have changed the way that OAS payments are taxed back. Seniors with an individual income of $69,562 have to repay some of their benefits. They lose all of their benefits when they have a net income of $112,772 or more. They could have increased the claw back rate, had it begin earlier, or phase it out faster. They could also disallow phony deductions, such as the deductions allowed for flowthrough shares, available only to well-to-do investors. So, what does this mean to the average fire fighter? Looking at our current average age, this change negatively affects the majority of S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH

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President’s Message ... Continued from page 5

the City will see the wisdom of consulting with your Association during the search for the next Fire Chief. I would also like to acknowledge the retirement of Daryl Fuglerud, Deputy Chief of Operations. Daryl’s contribution to Toronto Fire Services has been significant in the many roles he filled throughout his career. There

is no question that his knowledge and passion for the fire service assisted us in dealing with many issues together. I wish Daryl the best in his retirement and future endeavours. These retirements have left a significant void in the leadership of Toronto Fire Services and we hope that the City will do all it can to ensure that those

who come in to fill these roles will be the best candidates available.

Ed Kennedy President, Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association, I.A.F.F. Local 3888

Secretary’s Message ... Continued from page 7

Toronto Fire Fighters. OMERS is integrated with CPP, not OAS. There is a bridge benefit provided, to take you to the start of CPP payments, not to the start of OAS payments. In theory, your pension income with the bridge removed, plus CPP, should equal around 2% per year of pensionable service. The CPP that you receive and the bridge amount that you were receiving do not have a direct relationship. The bridge is a fixed percentage, set by the OMERS SC Board, which is the same for all members, despite the fact that everyone’s CPP amount is different. You can collect CPP at age 60 and still continue to receive the OMERS bridge until 65. However, OMERS is not going to extend the bridge to age 67, as it is not tied to OAS, as previously mentioned. Currently, if we wanted to increase the bridge, we cannot, because we are

in a deficit and the OMERS Act prohibits any increase to benefits when the plan is in a deficit. It would also need to be changed retroactively in order to help and that would be a very expensive item. The bridge amount that is taken at age 65 is 0.675%. Thus, your 2% accrual becomes 1.325% per year after age 65.

OAS Claw back (OAS recovery or OAS repayment)

The claw back threshold starts at an income of $69,562 for 2012. This figure is also adjusted each year for inflation. For every dollar ($1.00) of income above the threshold, the amount of basic OAS pension reduces by 15 cents. The maximum 2012 OAS benefit is $6,481. With a maximum income of $112,769, you would not receive any OAS benefit, as it would all be clawed back.

OAS is funded through general revenue, so this is a very large tax increase - over $13,000 for two years. It also makes no sense, as any tax savings are not experienced until 2023 for the government. This is a warning shot across the bow that if anything changes with the CPP financial picture, they will try to move the qualification age for CPP as well. I would imagine that it would be for future accrual years only, as CPP is a pension. It is more difficult for the federal government to change CPP, as they need provincial approval. We should be mindful of this and ensure that our own personal retirement planning is being well managed and is realistic.

Frank Ramagnano Secretary - Treasurer, Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association I.A.F.F. Local 3888

Picture it...YOUR ad right here! Call Debbie Cheeseman at 1-800-366-3113 Ext. 7806 or Fax to 1-866-764-2452 to assure your spot for the next issue.

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VICE PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE UNDER THE MICROSCOPE IN A YOUTUBE® WORLD

“Living in a fisheye lens, caught in the camera eye” –Neil Peart

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f you are reading this at home or at your station or office, it’s likely you are, at this moment, free from the intrusion of cameras recording your every movement. However, the moment you walk outside or enter a public space, there is a good probability that you are on camera, your every action being recorded. Security cameras are now prevalent; the latest generation of smartphone now comes with a high-resolution still and video camera – we are certainly approaching an Orwllian society where no one’s movements or actions are undocumented. Additionally, it has become the latest social phenomenon to catch people in everyday situations doing something that at first glance appears to be controversial, only to see it posted online. How many “viral videos” have we seen recently that expose events that in the past would have gone unnoticed? A freeze-frame in time or video from one angle, without context, can be construed very differently from the reality of the moment. Those “gotcha” photos printed in the media never tell the whole story. My intent here is not to incite paranoid fear or have us looking over our shoulders every minute of every shift, but I think it’s important to raise the awareness level that we are in a different reality than we were perhaps only a few years ago. Where at one time, disputes between two parties would be heard through rational explanation, today, it’s more expeditious to just bring out the video evidence. Toronto Fire Fighters have a storied history of outstanding service in this city. We have enjoyed a sterling reputation in the public realm, which has been rightfully earned by past generations of fire fighters. We can never take that for granted, because unfortunately, there are those who would seek to cast us in a poor light in order to further their own agenda. Your Association has a Public Relations Committee, whose mandate is to further build the positive image of our members in

the community. Our Charity Committee reaches out and assists numerous worthy charitable endeavours throughout the year. We also have numerous members who perform outstanding work in their communities and give back immeasurably in their own neighbourhoods. None of this is done while looking for a pat on the back or an “Atta boy” – it’s just the nature of who fire fighters are. We continually ask our members to bring forward stories, ideas and initiatives that will build on this positive image. That is why, year after year, public opinion surveys place fire fighters at (or near) the top of the list of the most respected and trusted professions. I hope that we never lose that place in the minds of the public and that we continue to find ways to enhance that opinion. The sad reality is that “feel good stories” are relegated to the back pages of newspapers or the last five minutes of the newscast and the media generates vast numbers of readers, listeners and viewers when they report a negative story about the public service. We are not immune from these attacks. Members of every public service are under the most intense scrutiny ever while there is clearly an agenda to generate resentment toward the entire public sector. It is no coincidence that recent negotiations with other public sector workers were preceded by a considerable amount of negative media aimed at swaying public opinion against them. We must be cognizant of this new dynamic in labour relations. It is important that every one of our members understand the current climate that we are in and that we must be ever more diligent in our efforts to preserve the reputation that we have today and move swiftly to repair any damage inflicted by a negative story. We owe it to ourselves, as well as those past generations of fire fighters, to preserve our reputation for future fire fighters to build on. We have come through a difficult time and despite the challenges we faced, we can hold our heads high; but make no

Damien Walsh

mistake, we will be under pressure this year to once again show that we are a valuable service in this city. There are two important upcoming announcements that could have significant ramifications for Toronto’s fire fighters: • The new Fire Underwriters Survey, to be completed this spring, will report an independent review of the state of fire service delivery in the city. This will be the first review since 2002 and will provide valuable information to City Council as they determine service levels in the upcoming 2013 budget hearings. • The announcement of the city’s consultant to oversee the Fire/EMS Efficiency Study. This study will have a profound impact on future service delivery models in the city. With these potentially game changing items on this year’s radar, we will have to be that much more vigilant and professional in our dealings with the city. Your Association will continue to be a very visible and outspoken presence at City Hall when it comes to any discussion on the future of Toronto’s fire service. We can take nothing for granted and it is crucial that every one of our members continue to uphold the highest standard. It is clear that there are those at City Hall, in the media and in public who will seek to disparage our proud profession. We must not provide them with any ammunition to use against us. I am confident that we will continue to be held in the highest regard by those that matter the most – the citizens of Toronto that we serve every day.

Damien Walsh, Vice President, Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association I.A.F.F. Local 3888 S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 11


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CHAPLAIN’S CORNER BY BARRY PARKER, SOUTH COMMAND CHAPLAIN

Why Do I Get Up in The Morning?

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s a Pastor, with a ‘day’ job leading a congregation, it is a privilege to serve as a Chaplain for Toronto Fire Services. The work that I do in both areas – Church and TFS – is not that different. It all revolves around ‘meaning.’ From my early days working as a Firefighter/Paramedic in western Canada, to many years of pastoral ministry, the issue of meaning comes up over and over. I say that because, it is my experience that when people engage a spiritual leader (aka Chaplain), they are looking for something that no one else can provide, or they do not know where else to turn. Inevitably, conversations lead to the issue of the meaning (the end, purpose or significance) of life. We see this most often in a crisis situation. It is no accident that we have a CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) team to provide support for exceptionally difficult calls and situations. We see the question of meaning in serious relationship issues, health issues and particularly when a death occurs. All of this might sound theoretical and irrelevant to you at this moment. Having some sense of meaning or purpose in life entails knowing why you get up each morning. I have walked with many folks who have lost any sense of their reason for living. An example of a ‘meaning’ question might be, “Why are you are in the Fire Services?” or “Why is it important?” It would not take long to uncover some very vital and important reasons for doing the work you do. The issue of meaning is seen most often at funerals where, when confronted with death, we try to find some meaning in and through it. We ask a Pastor/ Chaplain to ‘say a few words’, friends and families gather to tell stories about

the deceased, and depending on the age and circumstances of a death, we either vow never to forget or we do all sorts of things to try to forget. A L.O.D.D. funeral, for example, is not simply a religious ritual. Saying prayers when we perhaps don’t usually pray is a sure sign of seeking something beyond ourselves. It is a shared attempt

to find meaning not only in death, but also in life lived together. Telling stories at a funeral is an attempt to honour a life, to show that someone’s life meant something to us. Promising never to forget is our undertaking that a life lived had meaning to us, now that this person is gone. How you live now, what drives you and gets you through the day means something. As a Christian Pastor, a follower of Jesus, it is not religion that gets me going, or whatever stereotype

Rev. Barry Parker

SOUTH COMMAND Rev. Barry Parker 416-271-7540 bparker@stpaulsbloor.org

you place on Pastors, Ministers and Chaplains. It is the simple reality that my life has meaning and intrinsic worth, because I was created in the image of God, redeemed by Jesus, no matter what I have done. Living in that reality gets me up in the morning, keeps me going through the day and provides me with the ability to end a day – no matter what has happened. A simple question, “Why do I get up in the morning?” The answer might surprise you. S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 13


s r e t t e L TO THE EDITOR

DEBUNKING OUR OMERS PLAN

I am writing as a retired Scarborough Fire Fighter who has been enjoying my OMERS defined benefit pension plan for over 14 years now. I look forward to receiving the Fire Watch magazine, but was especially delighted to read Frank Ramagnano’s article regarding pension benefits. It is heartening to see him defending our OMERS pension plan. Just as I always viewed my ‘Collective Agreement’ as the document that gave me many benefits, it was also critical to my having a certain dignity in the workplace. It was the rules under which I worked and ensured that my employer also lived up to its terms and conditions. If not, I at least had a voice to make sure that I received a fair hearing before an independent arbitrator, whether via the grievance or interest arbitration route. I now see my pension as a significant vehicle to having some financial security and dignity in my retirement years. Thus, I can continue to be a contributing member of society. I know that defined benefit pension plans are under attack by those who do not want to fund them adequately and this is why I was proud to read Frank’s article. The greed and hubris of some in the private sector recently almost brought the financial system of the whole western world to its knees. However, to listen to many pundits, it seems that my pension plan and the benefits that unions have been able to negotiate for their members were to blame. Thanks Frank for debunking this myth. It is good for society to have strong, articulate, well-educated and secure people in the workplace and this should continue into their retirement years. Good luck to Local 3888 with this quest.

IN MEMORY OF MARK RAMEY

ity of people like you who are willing to put their money where their heart is. Your donation will enable us to continue our work and, we hope, help free our children from the devastation of drugs and alcohol dependency in the future.

Janet Lansche The Bellwood Foundation Board of Directors

On behalf of Seasons Centre for Grieving Children I would like to thank you for making a donation in memory of Mark Ramey. The memo on the cheque read, “In memory of Randy Ramey”; however, Mark was the brother who died and we knew what you meant. We will send a letter to his family to acknowledge your generosity. There is a quote that reads as follows: Children will not remember what you said, nor will they remember what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel…

Bob McWhinnie Retired Scarborough Fire Fighter

THE BELLWOOD FOUNDATION Thank you for your generous donation. Your support means that The Bellwood Foundation will be able to continue providing education, promotion, early recognition and prevention of all patterns of chemical abuse and dependency, at all stages of human development, from preconception to old age. None of the goals of The Bellwood Foundation could be met without the support and generos-

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Thank you for helping to make a grieving child’s life a little brighter. You have made a difference! Norma Vowels Office Manager Seasons Centre for Grieving Children

PULSEPOINT TORONTO IS BORN! I wanted to convey some very exciting news. Our Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada grant application to support the implementation and study of the Pulsepoint bystander CPR smartphone application was successful! I wanted to thank all of you for your role in supporting this grant application with letters of support. The success of the grant would not have been possible without your support. The reviewers commented that these letters were impressive and helped the grant to receive the top rank among 48 other applications reviewed by the committee. I look forward to working with all of you to bring this amazing innovation to life and make sure we maximize the number of users and lives saved. Dan Cottom at Toronto EMS is taking the lead on the implementation of the technology

at Toronto EMS and he is making some great progress. I will be working with all of you as we get closer to launch regarding the marketing of the application to as many people trained in CPR and AED use as possible. Once again, thank you so very much for your time on this grant. Steve Brooks Pulsepoint Toronto

ADRIAN PLEASANTS’ FUNDRAISER Over the last twelve years, Adrian Pleasants represented us proudly as a member of our Pipe Band. He volunteered countless hours of his time to help promote our profession by attending funerals and other Association and Toronto Fire Services functions. Adrian, who was married with three small children, was diagnosed in late 2011 with terminal cancer. Local 3888 organized a fundraiser that was held on January 7, 2012, with the goal of helping to assist his family. Adrian and his wife, Hazel, passed along their heartfelt thanks to all of those who contributed to that special night. The event was originally scheduled at the Shamrock Pub in Whitby, but due to the overwhelming response from across the province, a larger venue was required. The event took place at Melanie Pringles in Whitby and the numbers in attendance were impressive. The evening included various silent auction items and a 50/50 draw. One of the highlights of the evening was a jam session by our very own TFS Pipes and Drums Band, with participation by Adrian, as well! I am very pleased to report that over $14,000 was raised that night for Adrian and his family. As you are all aware, Adrian passed away shortly after this fundraiser, on February 6, 2012. You will be deeply missed. Michael Ogle Executive Officer, Local 3888

FIRE WATCH accepts Letters to the Editor, articles, essays, and photographs from Local 3888 Members, active and retired. We will also accept fire related submissions from outside authors or photographers. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR MAY BE FORWARDED TO: Letter to the Editor FIRE WATCH 39 Commissioners Street Toronto, Ontario Canada M5A 1A6 LETTERS POLICY You may email your letter to: firewatch@torontofirefighters.org FIRE WATCH welcomes letters to the editor to give you – Local 3888 members – an opportunity to express your views, concerns, ideas, or gripes. We can’t print every letter and in some instances letters will have to be edited due to space limitations.

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We do not accept attachments. Please paste your letter into the body of your email and use the subject line “Letter to the Editor.”

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ARTICLES Before sending a full article submission, we suggest that you forward an outline or suggestion for an article to the Editor. FIRE WATCH is your magazine, and as such, we will accept articles on any subject related to Local 3888 and the fire community. Subjects could include but are not limited to: health issues, history, sporting events, equipment, training issues, personal essays, etc. ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS/QUERIES MAY BE FORWARDED TO: Articles FIRE WATCH 39 Commissioners Street Toronto, Ontario Canada M5A 1A6

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You may email your submission/query to firewatch@torontofirefighters.org We do not accept attachments. Forward your suggestion in the body of an email and use the subject line “Article submission or query”. PHOTOGRAPHY Please contact the Editors before forwarding your photographic work for consideration. FIRE WATCH does not offer payment for submissions.

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Demographics STATISTICS

Toronto Fire Services Staff Complement By Rank (As of March 2012)

Division Firefighters Captains District Chiefs Management/ Excluded Staff/ Local 79 Fire Prevention and Public Education 98 26 5 3 Communications 60 9 4 3 Staff Services 7 7 2 43.3* Information and Communication Systems 8 3 2 5 Mechanical Maintenance 31 7 2 3 Professional Development and Training 33 5 4 Emergency Planning and Research 4 1 Health and Safety 3 1 Operations 2,172 529 65 24 Senior Management Offices 14** TOTAL 2,376 621 87 99.3

Total

132 76 56.5 18 43 43 5 3 2,790 14 3,183.3

Note: Based on approved positions as reflected in the approved organizational chart. * Includes summer students equal to 0.8 FTE’s ** Includes Administrative Assistant at Dr. Forman’s Office

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% Change

2010 Runs

2011 Runs

Apparatus

2011 Rank

% Change

2010 Runs

2011 Runs

P314 4,777 4,583 4.23% P332 4,448 4,658 -4.51% R325 3,762 3,764 -0.05% P313 3,400 3,494 -2.69% P312 3,247 3,173 2.33% R426 3,115 2,986 4.32% P325 3,095 3,028 2.21% P315 3,088 3,032 1.85% P132 3,060 3,143 -2.64% P114 2,935 2,756 6.49% R231 2,915 2,938 -0.78% P331 2,883 2,959 -2.57% P333 2,865 2,803 2.21% P232 2,832 2,758 2.68% P442 2,816 2,775 1.48% P142 2,800 2,641 6.02% P223 2,656 2,979 -10.84% P344 2,654 2,737 -3.03% R112 2,641 2,652 -0.41% P146 2,562 2,377 7.78% R134 2,560 2,469 3.69% P443 2,519 2,377 5.97% P234 2,502 2,368 5.66% P433 2,471 2,360 4.70% P222 2,446 2,247 8.86% R345 2,405 2,513 -4.30% P426 2,367 2,343 1.02% R341 2,360 2,422 -2.56% R421 2,337 2,236 4.52% P143 2,333 2,236 4.34% P141 2,302 2,401 -4.12% P324 2,268 2,093 8.36% R225 2,265 2,242 1.03% P445 2,262 2,192 3.19% P415 2,253 2,121 6.22% R413 2,238 2,162 3.52% P323 2,215 2,150 3.02% R133 2,210 2,014 9.73% P311 2,163 2,302 -6.04% R235 2,162 2,084 3.74% P322 2,147 2,218 -3.20% R115 2,108 2,108 0.00% P226 2,087 2,333 -10.54% R441 2,075 2,128 -2.49%

Note: Based on Information provided by TFS

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Apparatus

2011 Rank

Pumpers/Rescue Pumpers

45 P145 2,065 2,153 -4.09% 46 P135 2,063 2,105 -2.00% 47 P334 2,059 2,019 1.98% 48 P245 2,028 2,011 0.85% 49 R423 1,962 1,907 2.88% 50 R411 1,949 1,984 -1.76% 51 P244 1,937 2,008 -3.54% 52 R243 1,919 2,031 -5.51% 53 P233 1,882 1,822 3.29% 54 P343 1,823 1,910 -4.55% 55 R224 1,818 1,956 -7.06% 56 R435 1,754 1,679 4.47% 57 P111 1,743 1,693 2.95% 58 P121 1,706 1,762 -3.18% 59 P213 1,690 1,599 5.69% 60 R444 1,682 1,570 7.13% 61 P116 1,677 1,701 -1.41% 62 P413 1,676 1,560 7.44% 63 P242 1,675 1,752 -4.39% 64 P342 1,639 1,632 0.43% 65 P431 1,637 1,665 -1.68% 66 R122 1,584 1,692 -6.38% 67 P113 1,568 1,821 -13.89% 68 P123 1,565 1,559 0.38% 69 P212 1,491 1,466 1.71% 70 R241 1,487 1,589 -6.42% 71 P227 1,466 1,485 -1.28% 72 P125 1,426 1,442 -1.11% 73 P422 1,420 1,391 2.08% 74 R321 1,377 1,426 -3.44% 75 R326 1,354 1,450 -6.62% 76 P424 1,350 1,342 0.60% 77 R425 1,312 1,337 -1.87% 78 P131 1,307 1,643 -20.45% 79 P432 1,289 1,385 -6.93% 80 P224 1,259 1,383 -8.97% 81 R412 1,257 1,168 7.62% 82 R434 1,254 1,277 -1.80% 83 R214 1,219 1,287 -5.28% 84 P215 1,087 1,043 4.22% 85 P211 961 1,104 -12.95% 86 P335 130 137 -5.11% 87 V335 72 63 14.29% 88 P346 28 20 40.00%

S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 17


Demographics and Statistics...Continued from page 17

18

% Change

2010 Runs

2011 Runs

3 S232 1,726 1,565 10.29% 4 S331 1,668 1,684 -0.95% 5 S445 1,389 1,248 11.30%

% Change

2010 Runs

Specialty and Support 2011 Runs

PL415 1,150 1,069 7.58% A341 1,147 1,111 3.24% PL432 1,130 1,159 -2.50% A345 1,021 1,113 -8.27% A423 1,021 950 7.47% A433 991 1,040 -4.71% A411 928 796 16.58% A324 908 936 -2.99% A321 794 786 1.02% A215 720 698 3.15%

2 S143 1,814 1,623 11.77%

Apparatus

21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

1 S313 2,384 2,308 3.29%

2011 Rank

A312 2,632 2,631 0.04% A142 2,319 2,387 -2.85% A325 2,299 2,418 -4.92% T114 1,946 2,094 -7.07% A222 1,934 1,836 5.34% A231 1,918 1,861 3.06% A244 1,803 1,673 7.77% T331 1,718 1,785 -3.75% A315 1,708 1,758 -2.84% A133 1,513 1,532 -1.24% A131 1,511 1,554 -2.77% A113 1,477 1,502 -1.66% A322 1,475 1,524 -3.22% T333 1,464 1,587 -7.75% A426 1,427 1,354 5.39% A226 1,414 1,510 -6.36% A441 1,326 1,169 13.43% A421 1,308 1,352 -3.25% A213 1,226 1,293 -5.18% A135 1,176 1,084 8.49%

1 HR332 3,410 3,713 -8.16% 2 HZ332 1,066 938 13.65% 3 HZ145 970 839 15.61% 4 CMD10 271 272 -0.37% 5 LA421 251 263 -4.56% 6 LA333 187 225 -16.89% 7 FB334 185 173 6.94% 8 LA231 162 164 -1.22% Note: Based on Information provided by TFS

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Apparatus

2011 Rank

Heavy Squads

% Change

2010 Runs

2011 Runs

Apparatus

2011 Rank

Aerials/Platforms/Towers

9 LA114 139 140 -0.71% 10 CMD30 126 148 -14.86% 11 TRS235 12

6

100.00%

12 WT211 9

14 -35.71%

18


3 6 7 4 9 9 8 6 3 3 1 0 4 2

28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 41 42

2 7 6 9 9 13 8 2 3 2 0 1 1 2

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 L-3888 Average Age 45.5 45.9 46.0 46.3 L-3888 Average Years of Service 17.1 17.4 17.5 17.6 Average Age when starting 28.2 31.7 30.7 30.6 Average age when retiring 55.8 56.1 56.3 56.8 Average sevice when retiring 30.0 30.4 30.5 31.6 Operations Captain Average Age 52.6 52.9 53.3 53.9 Captain Avg Years of Service 27.7 28.0 28.3 28.6 DC Average Age 58.9 58.2 57.4 57.6 DC Avg Years of Service 34.2 33.8 33.7 33.8

46.6 17.9 28.3 56.9 29.3

53.9 28.5 56.8 33.2

*This chart is produced from data on record January 1, 2012 352 members can retiree without a penality as of this date. 283 are over 50 years old with at least 30 years service and 69 are 50 with an 85 factor.*

2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993 1992 1991 1990 1989 1988 1987 1986 1985 1984 1983 1982 1981 1980 1979 1978 1977 1976 1975 1974 1973 1972 1971 1970 1969

43 90 97 79 49 50 53 40 63 160 84 92 106 0 137 70 133 70 71 68 128 194 186 130 115 70 107 89 84 52 69 72 39 48 23 13 9 6 2 1 0 1 2

Left TFS

51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64

# of Members

1 0 2 13 64 51 82 62 60 31 53 54 23 23 10 7 2 4 1

Start Date

# of Captains per each Service Year

Captain Years of Service 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38

# of District Chief per each Service Year

1 0 0 6 18 25 31 41 52 52 65 52 54 36 33 25 21 8 10 9 4

District Chief Years of Service

43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63

# of Captains each age

Age of Captains

# of Members each Service Year 43 90 97 79 49 50 53 40 63 160 84 92 106 0 137 70 133 70 71 68 128 194 186 130 115 70 107 89 84 52 69 72 39 48 23 13 9 6 2 1 0 1 2

# of District Chiefs each age

0-1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42

Age of District Chiefs

1 2 4 7 11 25 24 29 21 28 34 35 34 57 42 50 69 85 85 84 84 113 102 111 117 134 153 153 250 152 152 140 139 103 117 88 72 56 48 23 20 14 14 7 1 2 1

Years of Service 3888 Members

# of Members each age

Age of 3888 Members 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67

120 84 113 87 60 49 60 50 91 65 98 124 70 65

S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 19


Demographics and Statistics...Continued from page 19

2005-2011 YEAR END CALL TOTAL* Command

2005-2011 TOTAL APPARATUS RUNS

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

North

33,488

33,271

32,878

33,024

33,026

32,354

32,506

East

34,171

34,261

33,528

33,118

33,431

31,796

South

44,324

44,119

42,774

42,852

42,742

42,444

Command

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

North

64,223

64,217

64,801

67,457

69,560

70,513

72,175

32,503

East

58,678

59,244

58,379

60,660

62,579

61,130

62,875

39,278

South

93,079

94,633

93,613

97,694

99,973

99,625

102,301

63,392

66,255

West

33,409

32,806

32,706

33,058

33,281

32,227

32,802

West

60,250

58,489

59,856

63,542

65,070

Total

145,392

144,457

141,886

142,052

142,480

138,821

137,089

Total

276,230

276,583

276,649

289,353

297,182

294,660 303,606

*raw data from CAD

$28,770.9

Professional Development and Mechanical Support Headquarters

$23,100.7 $3,404.2 $359,569.1

Gross Salaries and Benefits Materials and Supplies Equipment Services and Rents Contribution to Reserves Interdepartmental Charges Other

20

$344,367.8 $7,093.5 $640.1 $5,096.0 $8,937.1 $7,306.4 $27.7 $373,468.60

% Change

Communications and Operational Support

District Chief Cars & Platoon Chiefs 2010 Runs

$13,278.3

2011 Runs

Fire Prevention and Public Safety

Apparatus

$291,015.0

2011 Rank

Net Operations

1 C33

4,317 4,659 -7.34%

2 C31

3,798 3,848 -1.30%

3 C13

2,860 2,798 2.22%

4 C14

2,380 2,197 8.33%

5 C34

2,220 2,220 0.00%

6 C32

2,125 2,313 -8.13%

7 C42

1,889 1,754 7.70%

8 C23

1,839 2,010 -8.51%

9 C11

1,826 1,990 -8.24%

10 C41

1,794 1,817 -1.27%

11 C22

1,683 1,733 -2.89%

12 C12

1,613 1,744 -7.51%

13 C44

1,474 1,395 5.66%

14 C24

1,444 1,391 3.81%

15 C43

1,077 1,092 -1.37%

16 C21

858 875 -1.94%

17 C30

126 125

0.80%

18 C20

126 96

31.25%

19 C10

106 89

19.10%

20 C40

100 86

16.28%

S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 20


Year 1998

Net Operating Budget % Increase $218,964.9

1999

$217,885.7

-0.5%

2000

$230,728.0

5.9%

2001

$248,428.6

7.7%

2002

$262,067.4

5.5%

2003

$277,075.5

5.7%

2004

$297,944.9

7.5%

2005

$303,829.4

2.0%

2006

$327,746.2

7.9%

2007

$330,143.9

0.7%

2008

$351,649.4

6.5%

2009

$361,377.2

2.8%

2010

$358,977.8

-0.7%

2011

$359,569.1

0.2%

2005 – 2011 TFS RESPONSE STATISTICS (AT TIME OF DISPATCH – CAD DATA) CALL TYPE Check Call Carbon Monoxide Fire Alarm Ringing Fire (including vehicle fires) Gas Leak Hazardous Materials Island Lake Mutual Aid Medical Call Police Assist Rescue Suspicious Substance Vehicle Incident Water Problem Wires Down

2011 6,083 3,976 22,476 10,248 849 1,584 95 8 0 86,380 16 2,579 79

2010 6,435 4,121 23,950 10,615 538 1,731 107 7 1 83,196 24 2,476 71

2009 6,958 3,850 25,564 10,640 610 1,620 76 5 0 79,747 23 2,156 50

2008* 7,033 3,511 27,635 10,168 590 1,823 70 10 1 78,251 18 2,322 39

2007* 7,181 3,596 27,978 11,496 622 1,949 73 6 1 75,177 31 2,381 41

2006* 7,003 3,652 28,196 10,679 496 1,877 97 14 1 73,140 31 2,199 21

2005* 7,509 3,828 29,063 11,315 531 1,738 76 6 2 72,645 28 2,311 31

9,249 720

9,623 623

8,878 682

8,805 664

9,675 670

10,238 573

9,483 917

992

889

1,155

1,004

1,465

1,042

970

TOTAL NUMBER OF INCIDENTS % Change

145,334 0.64%

144,407 1.69%

142,014 0.05%

141,944 -0.28%

142,342 2.21%

139,259 -0.85%

140,453

TOTAL NUMBER OF UNIT RESPONSES % Change

276,261 -0.17%

276,729 -0.56%

278,281 -3.86%

289,460 -2.63%

297,287 0.89%

294,660 -2.95%

303,606

Notes: *Total numbers have been restated for previous year to remove the “Test Event” category, as this code does not result in any vehicle movements. S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 21


Demographics and Statistics...Continued from page 21

How many injuries and fatalities resulted from residential fires? Factors that can influence the rate of injuries and fatalities occurring in fires in a community can be influenced by: • Urban form/densification (rural/ urban/high-rise apartments or office towers/commercial/ industrial/forests) and the degree of risk (such as fire spread, age and type of building stock, type of occupancy, etc.) associated with these varying forms • The extent of fire prevention and education programs.

Fatalities

• The daily inflow and outflow of commuters, tourists, seasonal residents and attendees at cultural, entertainment or sporting events, is not factored into this populationbased measure. • Municipal efforts to reduce the incidence of false alarms.

How does the TFS measure up? How many fires resulted in property loss?

Factors that can influence the rate of fires in a community include: • The age and densification of the housing stock • The extent of fire prevention and education efforts • Socio-demographics • Enforcement of the Fire Code

22

S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 22


How many hours are staffed fire vehicles available to respond to emergencies? The number of in-service vehicle hours that are available in a municipality can be influenced by: • Service levels as determined by municipal council. • Varying population densities and nature/ extent of risks within urban areas. • Geography/topography, transportation routes, traffic congestion, travel distances (station location, etc.) which can affect the number of vehicle required.

How much does it cost for each hour vehicles are in service? Municipal results for fire cost per in service vehicle hour can be influenced by: • The severity or nature of risk associated with each incident impacts the number and type of vehicles responding (responses) as well as deployment strategies (number and type of apparatus by response type). • Different salary structures • The type and staffing levels on fire apparatus/vehicles

How long does it take to respond to an emergency call?

Response times in the urban areas of municipalities can be influenced by many variables, including: • Differences in population densities • The nature and extent of fire risks, such as the type of building construction or occupancy (apartment dwellings versus single family homes) • Geography and topography • Transportation routes, traffic congestion and travel distances • Service levels as determined by municipal council S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 23


Demographics and Statistics...Continued from page 23

AGE OF CURRENT FLEET YEAR APPARATUS #

MANUFACTURER

AERIAL APPARATUS 2007 A113 Spartan 2002 A131 Spartan 1997 A133 Spartan 1999 A135 Spartan 2001 A142 Spartan 2007 A213 Spartan 2001 A215 Spartan 2001 A222 Spartan 2002 A226 Spartan 2007 A231 Spartan 2007 A244 Spartan 2004 A312 Spartan 2001 A315 Spartan 1999 A321 Spartan 2001 A322 Spartan 2004 A324 Spartan 2006 A325 Spartan 2009 A341 Spartan 2002 A345 Spartan 2007 A411 Spartan 2002 A421 Spartan 2006 A423 Spartan 2004 A426 Spartan 1999 A433 Spartan 2002 A441 Spartan 1997 PL415 E-One 2007 PL432 Spartan 2006 T114 E-One 2006 T331 E-One 2006 T333 E-One PUMPERS 2005 P111 Spartan 2007 P113 Spartan 2004 P114 Spartan 2007 P116 Spartan 2004 P121 Spartan 2002 P123 Spartan 2007 P125 Spartan 2004 P131 Spartan 2005 P132 Spartan 2005 P135 Spartan 2010 P141 Spartan 2005 P142 Spartan

24

YEAR APPARATUS #

2007 2005 2005 2010 2007 2004 2010 2005 2007 2007 2005 2002 2007 2004 2007 2007 2007 2007 2004 2010 2007 2010 2002 2010 2010 2007 2010 2010 2002 2010 2007 2006 1997 2007 2005 2007 2002 2007 2007 2007 2007 2007 2007 2005

P143 P145 P146 P211 P212 P213 P215 P222 P223 P224 P226 P227 P232 P233 P234 P242 P244 P245 P311 P312 P313 P314 P315 P322 P323 P324 P325 P331 P332 P333 P334 P335 P335B P342 P343 P344 P413 P415 P422 P424 P426 P431 P432 P433

MANUFACTURER

Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Ford E-One Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan Spartan

YEAR APPARATUS #

MANUFACTURER

2007 P442 Spartan 2007 P443 Spartan 2002 P445 Spartan 2007 P442 Spartan / Smeal 2007 P443 Spartan / Seagrave RESCUE PUMPERS 2009 R112 Spartan 2009 R115 Spartan 2002 R122 Spartan 2009 R133 Spartan 2000 R134 Spartan 2000 R214 Spartan 2009 R224 Spartan 2002 R225 Spartan 2000 R231 Spartan 2009 R235 Spartan 2002 R241 Spartan 2000 R243 Spartan 2002 R321 Spartan 2000 R325 Spartan 2000 R326 Spartan 2009 R341 Spartan 2002 R345 Spartan 2009 R411 Spartan 2002 R412 Spartan 2002 R413 Spartan 2001 R421 Spartan 2010 R423 Spartan 2002 R425 Spartan 2010 R426 Spartan 1998 R434 Am. LaFrance 2000 R435 Spartan 2001 R441 Spartan 1998 R444 Am. LaFrance SQUADS 2004 S143 Spartan 2004 S232 Spartan 2009 S313 Spartan 1997 S331 Spartan 2004 S445 Spartan SPECIALITY TRUCKS 2007 A/L 114 Freightliner 2004 A/L 333 Freightliner 2010 A/L231 Freightliner

S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 24


AGE OF CURRENT FLEET YEAR APPARATUS #

2010 1992 2008 1998

A/L421 COM 30 Comm 10

MANUFACTURER

YEAR APPARATUS #

Freightliner

2010 2005 2005

International

Freightliner

Decon 234

MANUFACTURER

HAZ 145 Spartan HAZ 332 Spartan High Rise Spartan 332

TFS NEW VEHICLE ORDER STATUS - As of March 30, 2012 # of Vehicles

Budget year

New Truck(s)

Builder Chassis/Body

Status

1

2011

Command Vehicle

EVI Emergency Vehicles

The chassis for this unit is due to be delivered to the end builder by March/April. Final interior construction will begin immediately with delvery expected late Summer.

6

2011/12

Rear-mount Aerials

Spartan/Smeal

The chassis delivery for these six units is scheduled starting late May. Final delivery for the first unit is expected in the Fall. These trucks will have the unique feature of a small desel generator designed to run all the auxilliary components on the truck, so the main engine will automatically shut down when the truck is idling without the pump or aerial systems engaged, saving fuel, emissions, and engine life.

1

2011/12

Squad 331

Spartan/Dependable

The chasis is on order, with delivery expected June/July. The body will be pre-manufactured for the most part, so final delivery should be in early Fall.

4

2012

DC Vans

Donway Ford

These four vans will replace the four 2006 models currently in service.

1

2012

Radio Teck Van

Donway Ford

This single unit will replace the recycled Ambulance that has now been removed from service.

2

2011

Rear-mount Aerials

TBD

The specification is currently being revised to go to bid for a minimum of two rear-mount Aerial trucks.

1

2011

Squad

TBD

The specification is currently being revised to go to bid for a new squad to replace 331, the oldest in the fleet.

S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 25


Demographics and Statistics...Continued from page 25

TORONTO FIRE SERVICES RESPONSE STATISTICS - 1998-2011 1998 Total Number of Incidents

112,282

Change from previous year

Total Number of Unit Responses Change from previous year

1999

2001

114,314 114,086 116,649

1.8%

210,593

2000

-0.2%

2.2%

2002

2003

127,055

133,267

8.9%

4.9%

255,605 260,576 263,388 253,868

21.4%

1.9%

1.1%

-3.6%

306,560

20.8%

2004

2005

2006

130,500 140,516 139,368

-2.1%

7.7%

293,023 303,606

-4.4%

3.6%

2007

2008

142,515 142,087

-0.8%

2.3%

-0.3%

294,660 297,287 289,460

-2.9%

0.9%

-2.6%

2009 142,014

-0.1%

2010

2011

144,407 145,334

1.7%

0.64%

278,281 276,729 276,261

-3.9%

-0.6%

Total Change - Incidents Total Change - Unit Responses

-0.17%

29.44% 31.18%

90th percentile Response Time Dispatch to Arrival

6:33

6:31

6:36

6:31

6:41

6:44

6:40

6:42

6:47

90th percentile Response Time Enroute to Arrival

5:46

5:45

5:52

5:48

4:49

4:49

4:51

4:53

4:56

NOTE: The drop in “enroute to arrival� time from 2006 to 2007 relates to a change in the way the time stamps are recorded. The overall dispatch to arrival time (also shown above) does not reflect this same decrease.

2011 Calls by Event Type Check Call

6,083

4.2%

Carbon Monoxide

3,976

2.7%

Fire Alarm Ringing

22,476

15.5%

Fire

10,248

7.1%

849

0.6%

1,584

1.1%

86,380

59.4%

Rescue

2,579

1.8%

Vehicle Incident

9,249

6.4%

Wires Down

992

0.7%

Other

918

0.6%

145,334

100.0%

Gas Leak Hazardous Materials Medical Call

26

S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 26


&

FIRE FIGHTER

SURVIVAL RESCUE &

RIT? SERIOUSLY? BY GEOFF BOISSEAU AND JOHN MCGILL, TORONTO FIRE FIGHTERS

G

ear is on the Rescue – √ SCBA tested, log signed – √ Fresh flashlight on coat – √ New battery in radio – √ Reliever arrives – looks like a newbie – tell him he is behind the driver – √ All right, you are ready to go and it took less than 10 minutes. Time for a little breakfast and see what is in store for the day. Captain is off on vacation so the AC is up on the seat. You are riding behind him today. 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 three after midnight. The driver tells everyone the Rescue is in good shape but will need some fuel. Your crew is all in and discussing the Leafs. All agree maybe next year or

maybe the year after that. Newbie introduces himself and says he has a newborn at home. You snicker, remembering those days – sometimes dragging your butt into work after being up all night with a crying baby. As a recruit you were told time flies on this job and you just had one of those moments – your youngest is now 10. Damn, where has the time gone? Ok, time to take care of business. You head off to the bathroom for your morning ‘constitutional’. 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 ‘Grab Lives’. Seems like an interesting read and you wonder if those two guys can write about anything else. Suddenly, the speaker cracks and you are dispatched on a working fire re-

Because on this job anything can happen at any time, you have always been one of those guys who is always prepared.

sponse to a house fire and you are going as RIT – seriously bad timing. Time to go (literally) and you get to the Rescue fast. Been RIT before and will be it again, part of the job. You are not familiar with the street name as it is outside of your area. Confirm radio channel – √ For the AC, it is time to brief the Newbie on how things are done on this Rescue. Because on this job anything can happen at any time, you have always been one of those guys who is always prepared. You have a flashback to when you were a Newbie and your senior fire fighter said to you, “Only your god can help you if you are not prepared.” This leads into another memory of him saying, “Sorry for asking you to do your job,” anytime someone complained. Funny how our mind brings up things at odd times. The AC tells the Newbie that the driver gets the RIT Kit, tarp, RIT Rope bag and TIC from the DC’s van after she gets her SCBA. Our job is to get the onehour cylinders and tools; then meet S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 27


go s will n oceed All pr so Canadia ty. to Lu ble Socie a g Charit .lusoccs.or www

TORONTO PROFESSIONAL IGHTERS’ ASSOCIATION FIRE F

3rd Annual

Charity Golf Classic

When: June 21, 2012 Where: Rolling Hills Golf Club (12808 Warden Ave., Stouffville) Time: 12:30pm Shotgun Start • Cost: $560.00 per Team (4 golfers) Includes BBQ Lunch 18 holes Electric Cart Dinner prizes and more… Cheques with completed registration forms can be mailed or dropped off at the Association office For any inquiries please contact Bill McKee • mckee@torontofirefighters.org • C) 416-948-3888 Mike Ogle • ogle@torontofirefighters.org • C) 416-948-9598 James Reed • reed@torontofirefighters.org • C) 647-899-6472 Doug Erwin • erwin@torontofirefighters.org • C) 416-489-0919 Janos Csepreghi • csepreghi@torontofirefighters.org • C) 416-806-6286

Local 3888 Picnic Tuesday, July 10, 2012 B Platoon Working Toronto Centre Island

28

S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 28


RIT? SERIOUSLY?...Continued from page 27

in front of the fire. There, we change out the 30-minute cylinders while the AC goes to the IC. We have run this system since we took the Fire Fighter Rescue training. Get up there as quickly as possible as you never know when you are going to be asked to do your job. While responding, we listen carefully to the radio. What do they have? What kind of dwelling? Occupants? Interior attack? Who is going where? All things that will help us with our RIT size-up before arriving. You’re sitting in your jump seat, strapped into your mask, flashood around your neck. You test your flashlight (just to make sure), you’re getting jostled around as the driver has to swerve through rush hour traffic, cyclists, pedestrians, potholes, etc. You can’t help but wonder if these people would be so indifferent to our lights and sirens if we were responding to their house. You look to your left and chuckle. Somehow the newbie has tangled his BA strap with the seat belt and is struggling to get free. He looks at you and has the wide eyes of someone with a mix of excitement and adrenaline. You think to yourself, you will have to keep an eye on him if we get anything good today. You know as well as anyone that excitement and over-enthusiasm often lead to tunnel vision and impaired judgment. You reach over and help him get himself untangled. Over the radio you hear the first in trucks

arriving. You know them all, actually playing hockey with a couple of them in the morning. The first in Captain used to work with you when you first got on. He was one of those guys that you wanted to emulate. He is known as a ‘good’ or ‘solid’ fire fighter, which is one of the highest compliments that a person can get on this job. Your AC turns back and states that ‘it sounds like they have a good working house fire, reports of people trapped’. Now you get a bit of an adrenaline rush. You can’t help it; even though you are the RIT. 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 personally carried one of the kids out after finding her in a closet. She was about the same age as your son at the time. 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. About two blocks away now. You can see the thermal column. Heavy black, turbulent smoke…oh boy, it’s bad. You can hear on the radio that despite the efforts of the initial crews, they haven’t made any progress on it yet. You are quickly reviewing what your responsibilities are as your Rescue turns down the street. Today might be the day.

Your driver parks and out you get. Turning toward the fire, you take a quick size up of the house. It’s a two story detached, looks to have been built in the mid to late 1960s, heavy smoke coming out of the front, and flames out of the side and rear. Not much chance for anyone inside you think to yourself, briefly flashing on your memory of the little girl. You give your AC a knowing look, his face is confident. Again, another solid fire fighter you trust. He is heading off to co-ordinate with the IC while you start grabbing your gear. You find newbie standing at the side of the truck, watching the fire. He looks at you and says, “RIT? Seriously?” He does not want to be RIT, he wants to fight fires. You tell him to grab some bottles and come with you. You walk up close to the entry point and start placing your equipment on your RIT tarp. You start changing cylinders when the AC approaches and asks you to do a quick 360 with him, as there are crews inside. You get your larger cylinder on and join him. You start on the Alpha side of the house and go through your mental checklist – two 38mms going in the front door so at least two crews inside, heavy smoke still coming out the front windows, a ground ladder was placed by an initial crew to make entry into the second floor to search; okay, that’s another crew upstairs. Walking around the building you take note of means of entry/egress you can use, smoke/ fire conditions, structural integrity of the building, and any other issues you may have to consider (there are some small second story windows). An upper floor window is now filled with smoke and fire; it is getting oxygen from somewhere. You finish the 360 with your AC and you are back at the tarp. The driver and the newbie are fully outfitted in PPE; cylinders switched to 60 minutes, and are quickly going over the RIT bag inventory together. EVACUATE, EVACUATE, EVACUATE comes from Command… MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY echoes across the radio in response… To be continued… S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 29


9th Annual

Orlando Firefi Hockey Tourn for MD BY JEFF GAYMAN, TORONTO FIRE FIGHTER, 313 D PLATOON

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e left Toronto via Pearson International Airport and Buffalo International Airport; three Toronto Fire Hockey Teams bound for Orlando. We were on our way to participate in the 9th Annual Orlando Firefighters Hockey Tournament for Muscular Dystrophy, sponsored by Local 3888. Three different divisions would be represented this year: Men’s A, D and Novice. Previous trips to this tournament had created and re-established a comradery, which for some, has been diminishing on our job. This trip was no exception. We had a wide range of hockey skills, but more importantly, we had a core of veterans right down to rookies. Needless to say, there would be no shortness of laughter and good times. Most arrived after midday on January 23rd. Friendships, academy classmates, former crewmates and new acquaintances all gathered in one room to swap stories and plan the weeks’ events. First things first, early games on Tuesday morning were previously requested so that two vans could head to Tampa Bay to skate on the Tampa Bay Times Forum Ice, followed by attendance at the Columbus Blue Jackets vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning game. The icetime was arranged by Mike Smith (134 A shift) and pitted Paul ‘O’Brien’s’ (344 D shift) squad against Larry Schultz’s (312 D shift) team. Introductions were made and photographs were taken, so that we could take it all in. Our only 30

spectators were the sound guys doing their mic checks and some glass cleaners – whatever, we tried to imagine 17,000+ cheering us on, but the only shouting was reminding Peter “The Swede” Niiranen (345 C) to quit hogging the ice…we all paid our money, too. Luv ya, Swede! It was a close game throughout and the score went back and forth, but in the end, ‘O’brien’s’ team came out on top 11 to 5, well…relatively close. Congrats Frank on the MVP! We were led out to the parking lot where we tailgated and had some laughs. We took some photos of the new bronze statue of Phil Esposito and unexpectedly got to meet and take a photo with his brother, hall of famer Tony Esposito. Inside we went and what a spread

they put on! From prime rib to shrimp and scallops, right down to pasta and ribs. Just like at the station! We were all wearing our Toronto Fire Hockey T-shirts and we met many people, had many photos taken (even complete strangers wanted group shots with us) – they were appreciative that we were down in Florida supporting MDS, but also for the work we do. The Lightning beat Columbus in the end 4 to 2. What an experience shared with good friends. The week continued with each team playing a game a day. Between games there was much socializing to do. Some hit the links for some rounds of golf, one group even met up with a recent retiree to play 18 and he came and met us back

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ighters nament at the rink. This is what this job is all about, meeting new people and keeping in touch with the ones that paved the way for us. The evenings were filled with karaoke, nightlife and a hot tub marathon (prune hands). One night even included a group dinner, 30 guys swapping stories, vets taking the young guys under their wings with stories from other trips, fire stories and even just stories from the hall. One lesson even included tips on wine tasting and choosing the appropriate wine to impress a woman. Now that is a father figure! All three teams had good showings and were in every game they played. The A and Novice teams won their divisions and the D team fell just short. We re-acquainted with brothers and sisters from other departments that we had seen in tournaments prior, and even from other events. We traded department patches before and after games and shared beverages. It is so easy to make acquaintances with people that share the same profession; we are as they say, a real extended family. Nothing can beat our job when it comes to ‘on the job’ stories, whether it is one from behind the nozzle or a practical joke. At a recent retirement stag, one retiree said, “No one has better nicknames than the ones fire fighters give each other.” Man, is that true! Get involved in a trip with the people you work with, whether it is a ski trip, golf trip, camping trip or whatever. Let’s keep these

stories going and make some new ones; it brings us closer together as brothers and sisters. We’ve all sat down at the change of shift and listened to stories from the previous shifts and accumulated stories from other fire fighters. This is what we are…get involved! There are hockey tournaments from Newfoundland to Las Vegas and all points in between. There are golf tournaments, dragon boat races and, of course, the World Police and Fire Games every other year and the Fire Fighter Games in between. It is not about winning, but about the memories and friends you make. You don’t know what you’re missing! Thanks to all who organize.

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2012 PATRICK J. DE FAZIO Health & Safety Seminar BY HUGH DOHERTY, CHAIR, LOCAL 3888 H&S COMMITTEE

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he 2012 Annual OPFFA Health and Safety Seminar was held from February 6th to the 12th in Toronto. Unfortunately, Patrick J. De Fazio was unable to attend, but his enthusiasm and commitment to fire fighter health and safety was evident in all the presentations, and by those listening to the discussions. Toronto Local 3888 had 13 members attending various workshops and four members were receiving Health and Safety Certification. The Electrical Health and Safety Association (ESA) conducted an in-depth presentation on fire fighter Safety with rooftop photovoltaic solar installations. The goal of the presenters was to introduce Solar Photovoltaic Systems (PV) and to help fire fighters identify associated sources of electrical shock hazard when dealing with an emergency situation. The presentation stressed very critical situation(s) with the shutting down of a PV system; they stressed the following for all fire fighters to be aware of when responding to PV emergencies: Shutting it down? • The solar PV system cannot simply be “switched off”. • Disconnection of the utility service (or pulling utility meter) will only disconnect the incoming supply.

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• Shutting down the PV’s “Utility Disconnect” switch, inverter and the main electrical switch will disconnect the array from the building and/or the grid. However, the PV panels and other apparatus connected from the solar panels to the inverter will always remain energized as long as they are exposed to a source of light. They shall be treated as live electrical equipment at all times. EAS outlined a number of challenges and precautions that we will encounter when we respond to these types of installations. The Challenges 1. Identifying PV systems on the rooftops of houses could represent a challenge to fire fighters, as they might not be seen from street side and are usually difficult to see at night. Some clues that might attract fire fighter attention are: • Inverter boxes outside • Labels/signs • Disconnect switches • Conduit (exterior mounted or in attic) 2. Locating inverter disconnecting/ isolation might be challenging, as well. They might be indoor or outdoor, but usually close to service equipment. Places to look at are: • Exterior wall • Basement • Garage

• Attic Space • On the roof near the PV array 3. After disconnecting and isolating the inverter from both the utility side and PV side, there is still the portion of the system from the PV arrays down to the inverter that is still live (including the PV modules, wires, combiner boxes, junction boxes, etc.). Shutting off the DG Disconnect will NOT de-energize this portion. It has to be dealt with as LIVE ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT all the time (especially if it is daylight). Other challenges might be access to roof areas where vertical ventilation is required to be achieved; trip hazards by conduits and wires, etc. The Precautions When dealing with fires in buildings with rooftop solar PV systems, the following should be considered: • Assume the solar PV array is energized at all times as long as exposed to light*; • Securing the main electrical panel, inverter and PV’s “Utility Disconnect” switch will not shut down the solar PV system. In the daytime, electricity will continue to be generated by the PV system; • Covering the entire solar PV systems with an opaque material such as a salvage cover to block sunlight may S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 32


de-energize the array; • Do NOT rely on fire fighter boots and gloves to provide electrical protection unless rated to do so; • Do not rely on a “hotstick” to determine if the solar PV system is energized, as the hotstick is only effective for detecting AC voltage, whereas the PV system produces DC voltage. These systems are becoming more common and the OPFFA and Local 3888 continue to pursue regulations, notifications and changes to ensure that when we respond to these systems, we indeed have some education, standards on installation and maintenance of these systems. Another very informative presentation was made by Ms. Karen Hanna, MOL Facilitator, Fire Service Section 21 Committee. Ms. Hanna spoke on the following issues during her presentation: • Fire Service Sector Plan and Fire Service Section 21 Committee background information • Guidance Materials produced by the Section 21 Committee – amendments to the manual in 2011 • How Ministry of Labour Inspectors use the Guidance Materials • Recent Ministry of Labour occupational health and safety regulatory amendments that affect the Fire Service • Current issues being considered by the Section 21 Committee • Multi-workplace Joint Health and Safety Committee agreements Further in the presentation, Ms. Hanna outlined the duties and the role of MOL inspectors. She indicated we are only one of twenty-nine sectors within the Industrial Health and Safety Program and that the Section 21 committee has produced 72 Guidance Notes to date. Also, it was shown that the five most

common MOL orders issued were for the following: • The employer’s duty to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker • Production of documents • Providing instruction and supervision to workers • WHMIS (supplier MSDS), and • Eye wash fountains Lots of discussion took place in regard to the legislative changes with bill 160 and the role of the MOL. Ms. Hanna spent a lot of time reviewing the Internal Responsibility System (IRS) and the role in resolving disputes. In point form, we received the following information on the role of the MOL and the IRS: • Internal Responsibility System (IRS) – workplace parties (i.e. employer, supervisor, worker) share the responsibility for health and safety in the workplace. • The concept of the IRS is based on the principle that the workplace parties themselves are in the best position to identify health and safety problems and to develop solutions (Joint Health and Safety Committee/H&S Representative assist with this process). • The goal is to have self-reliant workplaces. • MOL to only become involved where the workplace parties have tried to resolve issues, but are unsuccessful. • MOL is not there as an arbitrator of all workplace issues. • Section 54(1)(p) OHSA – MOL Inspector has the power to require the production of any materials related to training programs, inspect, examine and copy the materials and attend any such program. • Provide clarification on the minimum requirements of the OHSA and regulations that apply to a particular hazard.

• Contain additional information to assist the workplace parties in achieving compliance through recommended best practices. • Employers continue to have a duty to take every reasonable precaution in the circumstances to protect workers – Section 25(2)(h) OHSA; workers and supervisors must continue to take appropriate steps to identify and address workplace hazards per OHSA requirements. • The Section 21 Guidance Notes are considered by MOL Inspectors when determining whether reasonable precautions for the protection of the worker are being taken under Section 25(2)(h) of the OHSA. • Orders are written under Section 25 (2)(h) of the OHSA, citing the applicable Guidance Note as a reasonable precaution (referenced in the narrative of the report). Ms. Hanna’s detailed explanation was very informative and stressed the need for Health and Safety Committees to continue to strive to resolve concerns, hazards and to investigate all injuries in an open and timely manner. In conclusion, the list of speakers was impressive with Deputy Chief Matt Pegg from Brampton, Chief(s) Fuglerud and Buckingham, speaking on the 200 Wellesley fire and wind driven fires, representing Toronto. Geoff Boisseau on fire fighter survival and Captain Neil Brown spoke passionately about his experience at the Yonge Street fire. Once again, the OPFFA Health and Safety Committee did an outstanding job presenting timely and interesting topics for all to learn from and indeed to bring back to you, the members of Local 3888. Have a safe and wonderful summer!

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2012 Legislati BY DAMIEN WALSH, CHAIR, LOCAL 3888 GOVERNMENT RELATIONS COMMITTEE

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his past March 5th to 8th, the OPFFA held its Annual Legislative Conference at Queen’s Park. The conference was rescheduled at this time due to last fall’s provincial election. This would be our first opportunity to take our provincial issues to the legislature in this new session, which saw a return of a Liberal government, albeit in a minority status. Our focus this year would be to lobby for: • Expansion of current presumptive cancer legislation and; • Enhancing emergency medical response through utilization of the Fire Service There are 22 provincial ridings within the city of Toronto, meaning that Local 3888’s party of delegates from your Executive Board and the Toronto FIREPAC Committee would be required to meet with 22 MPPs. Fortunately, the recent election resulted in little change in the make-up of Toronto’s MPPs and we enjoy excellent relations with many long-standing members. We have also been able to establish relationships with newly-elected MPPs Soo Wong (Scarborough-Agincourt), Michael Coteau (Don Valley East) and Jonah Schein (Davenport) from the recent campaign. It has been well documented that 34

we have had considerable legislative success at the provincial level over the past several years. Significant legislative achievements have included OMERS autonomy, mandatory retirement, our current presumptive cancer legislation and the safe streets act. This year, we will continue to build on that success and look to have our new issues added to the legislative agenda. Our legislative conference has always drawn significant attention from MPPs on all sides of the legislature and this year was no exception, as the OPFFA secured an impressive roster of guest speakers. As has been a tradition at recent conferences, the first speaker to address this year’s delegates was Premier Dalton McGuinty, who thanked all of Ontario’s fire fighters for the strong support in last fall’s election. He also spoke of the continued relationship that we have and the desire of this government to work together on our issues. Additionally, the following elected members addressed the conference: • Hon. Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services • Hon. Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long Term Care • NDP leader Andrea Horwath • PC MPP John Yakabuski, Renfrew-

Nipissing-Pembroke Other speakers included: • Paul Atkinson and Colin Grieve, OPFFA Occupational Disease Committee • Don Guy, Director, Artisan Research and Communications Inc. • Frank Ramagnano, OMERS SC representative • Stephen Barrett, Sack Goldblatt Mitchell After a full day of discussions on our issues, the following day entails meetings with MPPs in their offices at Queen’s Park. Delegates spend the weeks leading up to the conference contacting MPP’s offices and establishing meetings. It’s a crucial step in building relationships with not only MPPs, but their staff as well. While the Legislature is in session, MPP’s schedules are very tight, depending on their responsibilities, and co-ordinating meetings can be a challenge. It’s important to note that all MPPs do their best to schedule time with members of the OPFFA because of the commitment and professionalism we have demonstrated over the past many years. Our delegates are well prepared for these meetings and our ability to deliver our message in a concise, respectful manner is appreciated by all those at Queen’s Park.


Provincial ive Conference

After our meetings, all delegates meet to de-brief and report feedback that will assist in keeping things moving forward. Any questions from MPPs are followed up and we maintain an open line of com-

munication through the OPFFA. This year’s conference was another great success and we look forward to seeing some progress on our issues as they move through the legislature. The

Government Relations Committee will continue to work with the OPFFA as we monitor our progress and report back to the membership on our provincial legislative issues. S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 35


Angels Among Us: ALWAYS LOOKING TO DO MORE BY DAVE HOLWELL, LOCAL 3888 EXECUTIVE BOARD OFFICER

Do you ever wonder what’s happened to the person you pulled from the fire, protected or lead away from harm? These people’s lives often take a dramatic turn and travel along a long road – the journey of recovery.

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ecovery Garment Centre (RGC), located in Toronto, is part of that journey, providing burn and trauma patients with a muchneeded medical device called a Pressure Garment. Many people have never heard of “pressure garments”. Worn under clothing, against the skin, they provide specific pressure and protection to help injured skin heal back to normalcy. This happens because normal skin is like a pressure device, wrapping our body and thus, telling our skin to heal flat, smooth and supple when we get minor cuts and burns. This is so important to our normal daily functioning. When we have a deep burn or trauma, we’ve lost this layer of skin, which acts like a pressure device. “Pressure garments” act like the layer of skin that’s been lost, “telling” the skin to heal flat, smooth and supple again, as it normally should do. It’s a simple concept, and it works! RGC has been manufacturing pressure garments from a storefront in Toronto’s West End, “the Junction”, for over 25 years. The company was started by two sisters, touched by the genuine needs of burn survivors and later expanded to include Lymphedema and Trauma survivors. Roberta Harris, the current 36

owner and subject of our interview today, bought her sister out 15 years ago. Manufacturing pressure garments is a highly refined art. Until recently, the manufacturing of custom-made pressure garments was a very hands-on process and very labor intensive. The drafting, cutting and sewing of pressure garments has traditionally been done by hand. Each garment is custom made one by one, from precise body measurements and for the location where a patient has been injured; face, hands, legs, feet, etc. Up to 40 measurements may need to be taken for a particular pressure garment so that it can provide proper pressure, and it needs to be worn like a second skin, for months, sometimes years on end. It is painstaking work. A Pressure Therapist may be measuring anyone from a 3-month-old to a previously disabled 80-year-old with all the inherent issues that may accompany the situation. This may include screaming frightened babies, immobile elderly and anatomical restrictions. The psychological impact of victims of crime, the psychosocial issues of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, cultural differences and mental health problems that often are part of these cases, all have

to be managed to obtain the appropriate assessment, measurements and design. The therapist must know to carefully and respectfully approach a patient, considering all of these things. It is with these delicate, detailed measurements and patients’ confidence that the next step of design and manufacturing can proceed. Most companies doing this work believed that a hands-on approach, especially in the drafting and design, was necessary for such a precise skill. Roberta decided to change all that. With her 25 years of experience, she set about coordinating an expert team, made up of her staff, a Software Developer and a Textile Engineer. She decided – hoped and dreamed, more accurately – that pressure garment drafting could become a digital process, and from nothing, set out to create and design a state of the art digital drafting program, to automate pressure garment construction and bring it into the 21st century. This dream was only possible because of the generosity of the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association and the Canadian Government. RGC has been the proud recipient of a Fire Fighter Grant, which made this dream a reality. We recently visited Roberta and her team S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 36


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on site at RGC and got a first hand look at their new digital drafting system, now fully functional, producing pressure garments daily. Roberta proudly explained the process and while pointing out the technical charts and evolution of the project stated, “We’ve come a long way showing what innovative things a small company can do given the necessary resources and support. Small companies rock!” We still have a way to go, given the continued need for software development, to finish the iPad component. In addition, now having “caught the innovation bug”, Roberta and her team want to take pressure garment measuring to the next level by developing a 3-D scanning component to their process. This would allow patients to be measured, free of the pain and discomfort that accompanies manual measuring. 3-D technology married with automated drafting, would really make Roberta, her team and patients alike, smile. “This is my legacy”, she says, “to give back to the burn survivor community, which has given me so much through doing this work. My hope is that somehow, some way, the work we’ve done here at RGC could benefit burn survivors around the world, many of whom in Third World Countries, have no burn care.” This may be a lofty ambition, but with the continued community partnerships and small business support, Roberta could be unstoppable. Congratulations, Roberta and team! S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 37


BY TONY MACDONALD, RETIRED TORONTO FIRE CAPTAIN

Member Profile

When Adina Kaufman was a little girl, her nursery school was next to a fire station. She was captivated by those big red trucks, their lights, their sirens, and the men who rode inside them. She wanted to be a fire fighter. Most kids forget those childhood desires and Adina fully expected to outgrow her interest in fire fighting, especially since she’d never seen a woman on those fire trucks! As the years went by though, that little girl’s fascination with those big red trucks never waned. dina was lucky that academics came easily, and she found herself studying Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo after high school. When it came time for research projects in materials science, her classmates researched the formulation of plastics and concrete, while Adina examined the materials used in fire fighter protective clothing. When it came time for a fourth year research project, her classmates developed robots and designed mining equipment, while Adina focused on human factors engineering, so she could study fire fighter shiftwork scheduling. “It was a great research project for me. I had an excuse to contact fire departments and spend time in the stations, talking with and surveying real fire fighters. As someone who was

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captivated by the profession but didn’t know any fire fighters, this was an opportunity of a lifetime.” Once she completed her engineering degree, Adina stayed at university long enough to also complete a Bachelor of Arts degree, focusing on language courses in Polish, Spanish, German and French. While completing her BA, she started telling people about her dream of becoming a fire fighter. “I was nervous to say the words out loud. People would look at me like I was crazy. Here I was, less than 5’3” tall, a woman, an engineer, and Jewish. None of these characteristics made people think that I was destined to be a fire fighter. When I looked at the trucks, I sure didn’t see myself represented. I was nervous to be laughed at. I was terrified of failing.” Adina decided to do all she could to prepare for a fire fighting career and somehow defy the odds that didn’t seem to be in her favour. In her final year of studies at UW, she signed up for the North York Fire Department Career Preparation Course. She commuted to the weekly evening class from Waterloo. After her afternoon lectures, she’d take the local Waterloo bus to the Kitchener bus terminal, then the Greyhound bus to Toronto, then the subway and local Toronto buses to the career prep class for three hours. Then the whole trip was reversed, back to Waterloo, and into bed, before lectures the next morning. “I liked the academic side of things, but I kept being drawn to the world of fire fighting. I decided I wasn’t going to outgrow it, so it was time to work toward it. I knew that the physical test was going to be a big challenge.” When she got serious about applying to fire departments, Adina focused on the physical aspects of the job and started training in earnest. She filled one of her hiking packs with 40 kg of rocks that she borrowed from her parents’ landscaped garden, and ran up and down the ten flights of stairs in her apartment building. With a rope, she would haul another hiking pack filled with 20 kg of rocks, up and down off her fourth floor balcony. Adina applied to Toronto Fire Services in 2000, while S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 38


on Adina Kaufman

working as a wilderness guide near Thunder Bay. She filled out the TFS application form by flashlight in her tent while leading a youth canoe trip. It seems all of her hard work paid off, because even though she suffered a sprained ankle the week before her fire fighter fitness test at York University, she passed it and all of the other tests to finally become a Toronto Fire Fighter in January 2002. “I got the call from TFS in December 2001, while working at a remote wilderness camp about 70km down a logging road, northeast of Thunder Bay. There were twelve of us living there with about 50 sled dogs. I was spending my days rising to the sound of a howling pack of dogs, and scooping their frozen waste into buckets to be dumped onto a large pile of poop. Then I would deliver warm broth to the dogs – in a different bucket, of course – which they’d have to drink before it froze in their bowls. I spent my days running the dogs and prepping winter camping equipment before falling into bed at nightfall. Occasionally, I’d find myself dragging some road kill deer back to our base camp to be an extra special

culinary treat for the dogs. It was quite a culture shock to move back to urban Toronto and find myself in a navy blue uniform at the Fire Academy, marching with my 43 new brothers only two weeks later!” Adina now works at Station 343 on D shift. After graduating from University, Adina spent a year travelling in New Zealand and Australia, working odd jobs to pay her way. She picked and packed grapes, harvested ginger, and stripped wallpaper to allow her to enjoy her travels. She suffered hypothermia while hiking around a New Zealand volcano, encountered scorpions in her boots in the Australian Outback, and was attacked by sand flies while camping on a beach in Fiji – and loved every minute of it! She returned home to Canada long enough to earn some money, working as a wilderness guide for the summer, and then travelled around Canada and the U.S. for a year in a 1980 VW van. It was a great adventure and highlights included hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and standing beside the majestic sequoias of the west coast. Lowlights included crawling underneath the temperamental van in snowdrifts and at gas stations when it refused to start at intermittent times. Perhaps some of the jobs that Adina worked at after graduation show why she might become a natural fire fighter. One of the jobs she did was to lead wilderness excursions for organizations like Project CANOE and Outward Bound, taking adults and youths canoeing, kayaking,

hiking and dog sledding for trips of 5 to 22 days, through Ontario’s wilderness. Adina’s years leading wilderness trips, many of them with youth-atrisk, have left her with lots of stories to tell. She remembers the time when she was so sure some of her young campers would try to ‘make a break for it’ at night, that she went to sleep on a campsite in Temagami with a rope tied from the canoes to her wrist. She was woken in the middle of the night to the sound of zippers being done up and then, sure enough, she felt the rope tug on her wrist. “It was at that moment that I felt a mix of disappointment and pride – they were trying to sneak away, but at least the sound of the zippers had reassured me that they’d taken my safety lessons seriously, and were putting on their PFDs before getting in the boat!” There’s one experience that Adina shares from her wilderness guiding days that really reminds her of the impact that these types of experiences can have on people’s lives. Last year, Outward Bound forwarded an email to Adina from a former student who had

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Member Profile...Continued from page 39

Member Profile

participated on a course designed for students considered at risk of not completing high school. The email read, in part, “My husband and I came to Algonquin Park as teenagers not even really knowing each other or anything about life, we ending up leaving as brand new people! Adina and Jeff were our group leaders. We had a fairy tale wedding three years ago with all of our family and friends. For the past two years Bill and I have been side-by-side as he helped me fight my biggest fight, Brain Cancer. I have been looking for Adina ever since we had our daughter EmilyRose Adina. She was named after strong women – my Great Grandmother Emily and Bill’s mother Rose, then Adina, who we both found to be a very strong and a wickedly fun woman. Please let me know if there is any possible way to find her and let her know how far we have gotten in life together and that we think of her often.” Adina has reflected a lot on that email message; “It reminds how much of an impact we can have on people’s lives, without even knowing it. My work as a fire fighter reminds me in many ways of

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my work as a wilderness educator for youth-at-risk. We are privileged to be allowed into people’s lives, often at some of their most challenging times, and we are given the opportunity to make a difference for the better. We often don’t know the outcomes of our work, our words and our actions, but we can trust that we’ve made a positive impact.” At the National Research Council Canada she worked as a Fire Laboratory assistant where they studied human behavior during fire evacuation drills. They assessed both human and building construction factors to influence building codes and improve building design features to facilitate occupant egress. She also worked for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, assessing individual client needs, and then using her engineering skills to design customized workplace solutions to accommodate those needs. “I really liked working at CNIB, and enjoyed the challenge of constant problem solving, but I wanted a career where I could continue helping people directly while doing something more physical.” Many of our members start helping their community by volunteering their time and skills after they become a fire fighter. Adina started long before joining TFS. She was a Big Sister, walked dogs for the Humane Society, worked the phones for the University of Waterloo Peer Support Phone Line, volunteered for a Women’s Music Festival, and helped out with First Night Toronto. Incredibly, her community involvement has grown since becoming a fire fighter. She takes advantage of her flexible shift schedule to donate platelets regularly with Canadian Blood Services, and has volunteered with the Regent Park Newcomers Homework Club. She was

a cabin leader for Camp BUCKO from 2007-2010 and she acts as a mentor for young women with employment barriers, through Youth in Motion. She is also an active volunteer with Local 3888, volunteering regularly for such events as the Easter Seals Telethon, Toronto Women’s Runs, Fire Fighter Magic Shows and Boot Drives, and participating on the 24-Hr. Shift and Member Participation Committees. “All of my volunteer experiences have been great. I never cease to be amazed by the incredible people I meet and the glimpses I am able to gain into other people’s lives. I remember volunteering at Bellevue Hospital in New York City while working a 4-month contract with the United Nations Development Programme. I was the ‘book lady’ who walked around with a library cart. One of the rooms on my floor was for prisoners from Riker’s Island (NYC’s main jail complex) and there was one patient in the room for a few weeks who was always requesting books of poetry from the 18th and 19th centuries. My curiosity got the better of me and one day I asked one of the guards why that patient was in prison – the answer was simple – ‘He hacked his mom and sister to death with an axe.’ I suppose you never know in whom lurks the tortured soul of a poet!” Since becoming a fire fighter, Adina has travelled overseas on multiple occasions to give of her skills and experience. In 2005, she travelled to Cambodia with a team of paramedics and police officers as part of GlobalMedic. While the police officers worked to build a medical clinic, Adina worked with the paramedics to train Siem Reap airport fire fighters and security personnel in basic first aid. Adina also delivered donated SCBA to the fire fighters and trained them in their use. Prior to receipt of the donated SCBA, the fire fighters worked with only two SCBA for nine fire fighters on duty at all times. In 2008 and 2009, she traveled to Guyana with a team of medical professionals as part of Ve’ahavta, a S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 40


on Adina Kaufman Canadian humanitarian group. They visited isolated Amerindian river communities delivering vital medical care and supplies, including children’s multivitamins to eradicate Vitamin D deficiencies, leading to blindness in the local population. In October 2011, Adina travelled to Nicaragua, with GlobalFire, led by fellow TFS Fire Fighter, Craig Lester. Their team worked with local volunteer fire fighters, delivering both equipment and much needed training. One of the most important priorities in Adina’s life is her family. “When I became a fire fighter, I knew all about the health effects of shiftwork, and the logistics of the schedule, but I had no idea how much of a positive force it would be in my family relationships. I was lucky enough to still have all four of my grandparents in my life when I started with TFS. I found myself as the grandchild who could share long leisurely weekday lunches and chats over tea. I was the daughter who could use her engineering skills to work with Dad in his software business, even travelling to conferences and working trade shows with him in places like Berlin and Belfast. I was the aunt who might miss a birthday party because she had to work, but also just might stop by the party with a fire truck, and offer a truck tour to the 3-year-old guests, since it both happened to be in district and fire fighters can’t resist free cake!” Adina’s parents were always supportive of her dream, though they did struggle to understand it. Her father was born in Eastern Russia and grew up in Poland. He immigrated to Canada in the 60s, had to learn English, and eventually earned a PhD. Proud of his accomplishments, he expected that she would follow in his educational footsteps. In 1997, when she earned her Honours Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in System Design Engineering, and was the Alumni Gold Medal Recipient at the University of

Waterloo Faculty of Engineering that year, he felt everything was as it should be. Running into burning buildings was not part of his vision for his little girl’s future. Her mother was more accepting of her fire fighting dream, having become accustomed to having a daughter who was a regular risk taker – activities like skydiving and month long isolated wilderness canoe trips had long been a part of Adina’s life. It was, in fact, her mother who cut the ads out of The Toronto Star for the North York Introduction to Fire Fighting Course in 1997, and the Toronto Fire Services recruitment campaign in 2000. Today, her parents are among her greatest supporters. They live near her station and are regular visitors at the hall. They recently proudly attended the ceremony where the Fire Services Credit Union presented her with its John J. Rider Memorial Award, created to recognize a fire fighter, active or retired, who exemplifies the spirit of giving and community contribution. John Rider was a fire fighter who retired at the rank of Platoon Chief. He was the first General Manager of the Credit Union and was instrumental in the building of our Credit Union and assisting hundreds of members to become homeowners and achieve their financial dreams. Adina lives with her partner, Brad, and their 13-1/2-yearold lab/border collie mix dog, Kona. Adina and Brad met eight years ago while walking their dogs in Sherwood Park in central Toronto. Brad was walking Kona, and Adina was walking TJ, the retired sled

dog who had moved to Toronto with her when she left behind her wilderness career and moved back to Toronto to join TFS. She and Brad have lived together for over seven years and share a passion for nature and the outdoors. Their annual vacation is a wilderness trip where they pack themselves, their dog and two weeks worth of food and equipment into a canoe and head off into the wilds of northern Ontario. “When I’m floating in a canoe on a quiet northern lake, that’s my happy place.” Adina is now planning a journey of a different sort. On July 1st, she and Brad are getting married.

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STATION 111 BY MATT DUNN, TORONTO FIRE FIGHTER

odern fire fighting studies have always stressed the importance of fire department response times and the need to have fully staffed and well-located apparatus. In the 1970s, North York Fire Chief Joe Gibson was no different, as he continually pressed for more fire stations, fire trucks and fire fighters to effectively protect the community.

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With stiff resistance from council throughout the mid1970s, it would take a tragic early morning fire before Fire Chief Gibson’s vision of fire safety in North York received a re-evaluation by local council. After adding two firehalls in the late 1960s, and another on Sheppard Ave. West in 1972, the growth of the North York Fire Department began to stall, while the population and demands on its fire department simultaneously grew. Following the death of Fire Chief Ivan Nelson, new Fire Chief Joe Gibson immediately recognized the need for reducing response times and requested five new firehalls in 1975, with many of those approved taking more years than anticipated to complete. Again in 1977, Chief Gibson requested that an additional 81

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fire fighters be hired to meet operational demands, but was given the green light to hire only 27. With no sense of urgency, and delays hampering the building of firehalls such as North York #13 (now Station #111), council looked to other more inexpensive methods of improving response times. On Monday, April 10, 1978, council stated that building more fire stations had become cost prohibitive and stated that a mobile traffic control signal could possibly reduce response times more economically. While money was saved and the firehall delays continued, an entirely different sentiment was felt less than a month later when council met and was granting $5,000 for funeral expenses for a North York family after an unforgettable fire on Simeon Ct. The fire on May 3, 1978 was, at the time, and remains to be, one of the worst in North York’s history. In the early hours of the morning, the three-story, split level home on Simeon Ct. went up in flames while Barbara and Paul McCann, along with their eleven children, lay in bed. As six of the children escaped – including Paul, Jr., who rescued his father on the way out – front, side and back doors were propped open, fueling the fire. Though 44-year-old Barbara McCann was able to initially escape the house, she went back in when she realized that not all of her children had made it to safety. By the time fire fighters arrived, faced with extreme heat and flames, they were unable to S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 43


Station 111...Continued from page 43

enter the house and fought the fire from the outside. Conservative estimates from the Ontario Fire Marshal later put the temperature within the home at 1000°F. When the fire was knocked down, Barbara McCann and five of her eleven children were found dead only a few feet away from a window that would have led them to safety, after having collapsed from the intense heat and smoke. Early claims from neighbours that fire fighters took too long to arrive at the fire were seriously considered and an inquest began on June 26, 1978. After intensive review, it was firmly established that fire fighters were en route 68 seconds after receiving the call and arrived in less than seven minutes from the Yonge & Empress Firehall, located 4.4km away. Within six seconds of dispatching the first truck, two more were also sent from Seneca Hill, located 5.3km from the fire. The coroner’s jury ultimately cleared the fire fighters of any wrongdoing and stated that they had carried out their duties in an acceptable manner, but this did not alleviate the pressure to build

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additional firehalls. Though early in the investigation officials suggested that smoking may have been the cause of the fire, the final ruling was that an electrical problem was the most likely culprit. The coroner’s inquest had shown that many 30 amp fuses had been used in place of 15 amp fuses, a common household problem that had led to over 100 fires in the Toronto area in 1978 alone. In addition to electrical problems, the investigation also revealed that the family did not have a specific fire escape plan, nor were smoke alarms installed in the house. As this news came out in the aftermath of the fire, there were an unprecedented number of calls to the fire department about smoke alarms and home fire safety. Years prior to the fire, plans had been made to build a new firehall that would have been less than 2 minutes away from the scene. The plans had long been at a standstill, due to negotiations with Ontario Hydro over the potential site. North York council was strongly criticized as the long delayed plans were quickly remedied within weeks after the fatal fire. By 1979, the Ontario

Fire Marshal reported that North York was definitely understaffed and recommended a total of 18 fire halls, in addition to relocating some existing ones, in order to improve response times. It was shown that the Ontario average would require the North York Fire Department to have 955 fire fighters when they only had 576. In the same year, North York’s 13th firehall was completed and opened at 3300 Bayview Avenue where it remains today as Station #111 – incredibly close to the site of the 1978 fire on Simeon Ct. For many years, the hall housed a backup communications room that only the Chief had access to. Behind the lockers that have since filled the hall in its postamalgamation years, much of the former communication board is still visible to this day. The hall presently houses Pumper 111 and District Chief 11 and has been dispatched to many other notable fires in over 30 years, such as the 1995 Forest Laneway Fire and the 2008 Sunrise

Propane Explosion. Nevertheless, the 1978 Simeon Ct. fire remains to be both what defines Station #111 and one of many constant reminders of the importance of having proper fire protection throughout the city.

Apparatus Fire Statio Assigned to n 111 P111 2006 Sp Seagrave (C artan Advantage FF anada) #3 497 1250/500 (6 0 Shop #241 00 lpm/2250L tank) 2 In Service: 5 October 3, 2006 DC11 2011 F Shop #203 ord E350XL SD 66

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Greater Toronto Multiple Alarm Association Founded 1975 Incorporated 1994 P.O. Box 173, Station D, Toronto, Ont., M9A 4X2

TORCON 2012 T

he Greater Toronto Multiple Alarm Association invites you to attend the 60th Annual International Fire Buff Associates Convention that will be held August 14-18, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario. The GTMAA is the same group of dedicated volunteers that operates Support 7 out of the East Command, 24/7 every day of the year. Our club’s motto is “Serving Those That Protect Us” and in order to enhance our capabilities, we meet on an annual basis to share our passion with the Fire Service. The IFBA’s purpose is to “serve as a common ground for Fire Buffs active in promoting the general welfare of Fire Departments, allied emergency services and members.” Having said that, we have a wide range of events already planned, including: • A bus trip to Niagara Falls with an apparatus tour to follow • An optional side trip to a winery and Niagara-on-the-Lake • Firematic-related seminars • A communications/fire buffing tour One of the highlights of the week will be a spectacular harbour boat cruise and dinner aboard the Yankee Lady. It would be great to have some of Toronto’s Bravest join us for an evening of fun and fellowship! Our convention hotel is located in the heart of downtown Toronto at the Sheraton Centre (123 Queen Street West). The hotel rate is $199 CDN plus taxes per night. To book by phone, call (416) 361-1000 or Toll Free: 1-888-6277175 or book online at: www.sheratontoronto.com. Remember to mention our reservation code “TORCON” when reserving your room. The early bird registration is $300 CDN per person. The late registration (after June 1, 2012) will be $340 CDN. We are also accepting advertisements for our convention program. A passport, passport card or Nexus card is required when traveling to and from Canada. Make sure you have the proper documentation for your form of travel to Toronto. Please check our website www.torcon2012.com for regular updates or send us an email at torcon2012@gmail.com. We look forward to seeing you in Toronto in August! 46

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Thomas Andrews d. February 2, 1949 Although the obvious dangers of fire fighting are visible at the scene, the physical stress of the job has claimed many lives in the hours that follow the calls. Like many who have given their lives while on duty, Fire Fighter Thomas Andrews returned from a fire on Blythwood Rd. unscathed, only to collapse in the Montgomery Ave. station later that night. Coroner W.E. Brown reported that he had suffered a heart attack just as he was preparing for the

shift change in station. Originally from Scotland, and with no immediate relatives living in Canada, Fire Fighter Andrews knew as well as anyone of the type of camaraderie within the Toronto Fire Department. For several years, he had resided at 17 Willowbank Blvd., the home of his Captain and good friend Joseph Hazlett. Fire Fighter Andrews had served Toronto proudly for over 30 years.

Wesley Salter d. June 7, 1949 After battling a garage and greenhouse blaze, Captain Wesley Salter responded to his second working fire of the day on June 7, 1949, caused by children playing with matches on Crawford St. The 56-year-old Captain from Station 14 collapsed from a heart attack at the scene. Fellow fire fighters began working on him immediately for several minutes and continued as he was rushed to the hospital. Despite efforts to revive him in the ambulance and the arrival of Toronto Fire Department Physician Dr. Robert E. Ralph, he succumbed to his injuries. Chief Coroner Dr. Smirle Lawson said Salter had died due to a heart condition, aggravated by the exertion fire fighters commonly experience when fighting fires. He noted that one of the many risks of serving as a fire

fighter was developing coronary thrombosis and that even a person with a normal heart may get into trouble because of the effort required in the heat of a fire. Captain Salter was a 30-year veteran of the Toronto Fire Department and had served as Captain of the Runnymede, Earlscourt and Upper Ossington Firehalls. Previously, he had served overseas for four years in the First World War as a member of the 180th Sportmen’s Battalion. For many years he was the Secretary of the Toronto Local of the International Association of Fire Fighters and a prominent member of the Toronto Fire Department Bowling League. The Toronto native was survived by his father, widow, son, six grandchildren and two siblings.

William Dundas d. November 15, 1949 In the early hours on Saturday March 11, 1933, the Toronto Fire Department responded to the Pullan Warehouse on Parliament St.; one of its worst 2-alarm fires in years. Five minutes after patrolling the second floor, night watchman John Murphy realized that it had caught fire and immediately ran to Fire Station 7 on Dundas St. near Parliament. Witnessing smoke and flames in the second and third story windows upon arrival, District Chief Peter Herd called for a second alarm to deal with the rapidly progressing fire. The situation was made increasingly dangerous as the building was separated from a nearby Consumer’s Gas plant by only a narrow laneway. As fire fighters began taking hose lines up forty-five foot ladders to attack the flames through the third floor windows, the cold and icy conditions created a difficult balancing act. In two incidents, Fire Fighters William Dundas and Ernest Garrett fell from the ladders in similar fashion and both ended up at St. Michael’s Hospital. While

recovering in the hospital (Dundas from a fractured skull and Garrett a fractured spine), the fire fighters did not receive refuge from fire for long as a fire broke out in their hospital room only six days later. Two nurses dragged Garrett to the hallway from his burning bed, while Dundas was able to escape under his own power. Though doctors extinguished the fire before the fire department arrived, one nurse was burned and Garrett would eventually have all of his toes amputated due to his injuries. Visited regularly by Toronto Fire Fighters, Ernest Garrett was paralyzed and remained in hospital for the rest of his life. Dundas on the other hand would eventually return to work and became a Captain in 1943. Six years later, he again left work due to injuries sustained at the Pullan Warehouse fire before passing away later that year at the age of 57. A member of the Toronto Fire Department for 32 years, the Station 7 Captain died in his home on Jackson Ave.

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EXECUTIVE TALK BILL MCKEE

mckee@torontofirefighters.org 416-948-3888

• Entertainment, Recreation/Social (Chair) • Member Communications • WSIB • Government Relations • Charity This past year has been both challenging and rewarding. It’s hard to believe that eighteen months ago, I was sitting at your kitchen tables, speaking about the challenges we were facing and the fights that were on the horizon. .W hile we knew these labor challenges were coming, there was no way to predict just how aggressive and relentless they would be. On the municipal front, we faced budget and staffing cuts. Meantime, the provincial conservatives were campaigning on a platform to reform the arbitration system and pension plans. Through aggressive political action, we were able to fend off these attacks and nurture our political relationships, in order to avoid some devastating losses. But these fights are far from over. IAFF President, Harold Schaitberger said it best, “You’re only one election away from losing it all.” We need to continue to be proactive, to fight for our union and our members. We need to continue to educate all levels of government on the challenges our fire fighters face. Labour unions are under attack; this is the time we must stand together and fight for what is rightfully ours. We all have to come to the realization that all elected officials, whether it be municipal, provincial or federal, have a direct impact on every facet of our profession. We must continue to be proactive in maintaining relationships in the political arena, as well as forging new ones. Another constant challenge we face is with WSIB. This is a portfolio that requires a lot of attention and dedication. This process is supposed to help injured fire fighters, but it often turns into a battleground between the employer, union advocate and WSIB representative, all vying for their own interests. We continue to pursue all your claims aggressively to ensure that fire fighters and their families are protected. I want to thank you for your support and involvement over the past several months and I look forward to both working with you, and for you, in the months to come.

GEOFF BOISSEAU

boisseau@torontofirefighters.org 416-708-3887

• Constitution & Policy (Chair) • Charity • Grievance • Health & Safety • Entertainment, Recreation, Sports, Social I am now into my second year as an Executive Officer and the job continues to be both interesting and educational. This has been a busy year, to say the least. My North Health and Safety Team of Mike Russell and Steve Green have been doing a great job in their hall inspections and bringing forward any H&S concerns. Past Chair, Ian Hamilton has been offering his advice and has continued in his mentoring. As Constitutional Chair, I have been preparing for the anticipated upcoming Constitutional changes; as well as continuing to offer what I can to the other Committees I participate on. A big eye opener for me was the current labor relations environment that exists in the City of Toronto and the need to have a Public Relations campaign run by our Local to inform the public on exactly what it is we do. The support from the floor was very good and with the help of the Stewards, many flyer distribution days were conducted for the ‘Not Gravy’ campaign across the city. There were several members that came out numerous times in different commands to help. I am still amazed, however, with the negative attacks on our Local and our profession from another City of Toronto Local and some of their Executive. To hear another City Local attack us in the media as they did is, in my opinion, inexcusable. But we took the high road, did not stoop to that level and persevered. I am looking forward to the remainder of my term with the Executive and will continue to deal with any challenges I am faced with to the best of my ability. I want to thank you all for the support that you have given me in my various positions on the Executive. Remember…Be Safe.

KEVIN ASHFIELD

ashfield@torontofirefighters.org 416-605-3889

• Ceremonial & Bereavement (Chair) • Constitution and Policy • Health & Safety • Government Relations/FIREPAC • Retiree Liaison As spring has now officially arrived, it also comes the time to register the names of our Brothers and Sisters who have made the ultimate sacrifice to the four upcoming Annual Fire Fighter Memorials (Local, Provincial, Canadian and International). Since the enactment of Bill 221 Presumptive Legislation, Toronto Local 3888 has registered ten or more names each year. Unfortunately, this year is no different. The fallen Toronto members for this year differ in age by almost 40 years – as most are retired – however, sadly, we did lose two active members to job-related cancers. We often see in the news, the Brothers and Sisters lost doing their jobs in catastrophic events. These losses are heartbreaking, just as heartbreaking as the loss of one of our own, cut down all too soon by these many job-related diseases. The dates for all of the memorials are listed on our website in the Ceremony and Bereavement report. Please consider taking the time to attend one or as many of these events as possible, in order to honour these fire fighters that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. 48


JAMES REED

EXECUTIVE TALK reed@torontofirefighters.org 647-889-6472

• Stewards (Chair) • Benefits • Entertainment, Recreation/Social • Government Relations • Public Relations It has been a pleasure to serve the membership for the last 18 months. As Chair of the Stewards Committee, I try to ensure that timely and uniform messages reach the stations. I am pleased with the Stewards’ work. They provide a tremendous service to the membership. In my role on the Government Relations and Public Relations Committees, I walked the streets with many of you, working on recent election campaigns and the “Not Gravy” flyer drops. I had the pleasure of serving on the Membership Participation Committee with Stewards and members from the floor. We recently completed our Membership Survey and will soon meet to analyze the tremendous amount of data collected. I am excited to see where that leads us. On the Benefits Committee, I am involved with monthly meetings that help to resolve disputes. One of the most gratifying experiences I get is calling a member to inform them of a success that we have achieved on their behalf. On the Uniform Committee, we are making great strides to improve what we have available to wear and the quality of those items. My role on the Entertainment Committee gives me the chance to see members off the job celebrating family milestones during the Retirement Dinner and Christmas Party. It is fantastic to see the brothers and sisters out together enjoying themselves at events like the Golf Tournament. I am proud and grateful to serve the membership on a strong and dedicated Executive Board.

KEVIN MCCARTHY

mccarthy@torontofirefighters.org 416-708-6817

• Benefits (Chair) • Bargaining • Finance/Building • Human Relations • WSIB Even after all these years, there’s still room for improvement and things to learn. I can honestly say that I have sat on every committee within this Association. Some are more rewarding than others, but bargaining has been the most challenging. I know it appears to be one of the glamour committees, but it actually is very frustrating. Nothing moves fast enough and everything you do has a lasting effect. Members come up to you and rightfully complain about how long they have been without a contract and I can say first-hand, everyone on the bargaining committee agrees. If it were a matter of waving a magic wand and POOF there is a contract, it would be so much easier. Instead, there are countless hours of research and many meetings that appear to go nowhere. Then, there are the rumours, and whatever answer you provide may be repeated in a different context, so in most cases you keep it short to protect the process. There are the days where everything is falling into place, and the next hour it is back to the drawing board. That is how it all works – the more differing of opinions or different perspectives, the more it improves the end product. Next thing you know, you are in front of an arbitrator and all the rules change again. More research, more meetings and more rumours; but this time, you are trying to convince a third party that your issues are more reasonable than the city’s. After months and months of learning everything about the issues, you have to educate someone else. In the end, he will make the final decision, taking into account the economy, our comparables and our arguments. It has been a very interesting journey and in the end, I hope that the contract that I have had a hand in will be something the membership will be happy with.

MIKE OGLE

ogle@torontofirefighters.org 416-948-9598

• Charity (Chair) • Benefits • Public Relations • Ceremonial & Bereavement • Entertainment, Recreation/Social • Liaison – Training It’s been 18 months since I was elected to the Executive Board and it has been very busy and exciting. I had no idea there were so many charities in Canada that require assistance. As Chair of the Charities Committee, my first goal was to try and assist charities that were established within the city and that could provide our members with some positive Public Relations, as well as assisting those in need. I am amazed by what a little contribution can do and how appreciative the charities are. For example, we donated just $1,000.00 to a charity called “Out in Cold,” which provides a dinner and shelter for homeless people every Monday night in south Etobicoke. The funds went a long way toward purchasing a very good meal for approximately 50 people. The Charity Committee covers a wide range of requests, from assisting a food program for kids in the Kingston Rd. and Lawrence area that is run by friends of our very own Padre, Hugh Donnelly, to a small donation to a special needs school in the West End. Our Association also made two very big contributions to Sunnybrook Hospital. The new Breast Cancer Wing received donations from our very successful Pink T-shirt campaign, held last October. We also assisted the Burn Unit at Sunnybrook by purchasing a special medical instrument necessary for some very intricate procedures. I was also very fortunate to be on the Ceremonial and Bereavement Committee and was able to attend several LODD’s on behalf of the Association. As well, I have been involved in the planning of both the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Labor Day Parade, which have seen an increase in participation over the years. These are great opportunities to demonstrate the solidarity of our members to the public and the city politicians that attend these functions. S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 49


EXECUTIVE TALK

NEIL MCKINNON

mckinnon@torontofirefighters.org 416-659-2624

Grievance (Chair) Ceremonial & Bereavement Constitution & Policy Health & Safety Here we are again, another year older and hopefully another year wiser. It’s been a whirlwind adventure since taking over as Chair of the Grievance Committee and certainly brought a whole new meaning to the phrase, “24/7 – 365 days a year” for me. The learning curve has been immense and extremely time-consuming. Hopefully over time, the workload gets easier; but for that, I’ll have to wait and see. The Committee, made up of Dave Holwell, Doug Erwin, Geoff Boisseau and myself, constantly strive to represent the membership with a high degree of professionalism. Unfortunately, most of the time we’re involved, the situation is less than ideal. We are left to make the best of a bad situation. As well, I have been assigned, once again, to the Ceremonial & Bereavement Committee, the Health & Safety Committee and the Constitution & Policy Committee. I hope that with my years of experience, I can be a valuable asset. Only time will tell what the year will bring us, and all I can do is promise to do my best to ensure the membership gets the representation that they deserve and desire.

DOUG ERWIN

erwin@torontofirefighters.org 647-220-8787

• Finance/Building Social (Chair) • Grievance • Benefits • Entertainment, Recreation/Social • Government Relations • Liaison - Communications, Radio Techs. My second term serving our membership as an Executive Board Officer has been extremely busy, but rewarding as well. The past year has been very challenging for our Local as we found ourselves not only having to fight staffing and service cuts but also defend our profession as a whole, as a great deal of misinformation was spread through various sources. I am extremely proud of how we responded and would like to thank all those who devoted the time and effort to ensure we got our message out to the citizens we proudly serve each and every day. Through unity and purpose I believe we will be well positioned to fight the battles that lie ahead. This term, I am Chair of the Finance/Building Committee and I take the responsibility of overseeing the financial transactions of our Local very seriously. All expenditures are reviewed monthly in order to ensure they are in compliance with policy. Another major function of the Committee is to prepare our annual budget and present it for approval by the membership at the General Meetings in January. We also periodically review existing financial policies and update or amend them as required. The Committee also reviews requests for sports funding and grant money to approved applicants, based on the Sports Funding Policy and available budget. Other duties include the Association building and staff operations. I would like to take this opportunity to thank fellow Committee members, Frank Ramagnano and Kevin McCarthy, as well as our bookkeeper, Beatriz Coniglio, for their assistance in fulfilling the mandate of this Committee. I would like to also thank our Office Manager, Bill Radcliffe and Office Administrator, Julie Frost, for all the help they provide to the entire Executive Board throughout the year. Much of my time this term has been committed to my work with the Grievance Committee under the guidance of Chair Neil McKinnon. Although the workload is extensive, I welcome the opportunity to help ensure the rights of our members are protected and that the terms and conditions of our Collective Agreement are followed. I also serve as a member of the Benefits Committee, as well as the Entertainment, Recreation, Sports/Social Committee. I am also the Executive Liaison for the Communications Division and Radio Technicians. In closing, I would like to thank the membership for their support. I feel very privileged to have the honour of representing our Association.

JOHN MACLACHLAN

maclachlan@torontofirefighters.org 416-951-3887

• E.M.S. (Chair) • Bargaining • Government Relations • Health & Safety • Stewards • Liaison - /Mechanical, Fireboat, Quartermaster, Hose Testing Since our Executive Talk section in Fire Watch last spring, we have faced several attacks on numerous different fronts. The city imposed a mandate to cut ten percent from our operating budget. In addition, they also broke our Collective Agreement by not hiring new recruits when we exceeded the Operations Division gaping number of 40 that is contained in our CA. Our role as Fire Fighters were questioned and scrutinized by TEMS; however, a letter from Sunnybrook Hospital provided third party information, which justified the pivotal role we play as first responders during life-threatening calls. Our members stayed professional while maintaining and providing the citizens of Toronto with service that was – and is – second-to-none. There is something to be said for knowing we have a strong membership willing to step up to the plate when called upon. Based on recent opposition, I am confident we will face future challenges head-on. In closing, I would like to recognize and thank YOU as the members of local 3888 for your help on so many levels, such as the “Not Gravy” flyer drops, EMS forms on our web page and Management EMS FCC 11-162. Have a great spring and summer. 50


HUGH DOHERTY

EXECUTIVE TALK doherty@torontofirefighters.org 416-433-0446

• Health & Safety (Chair) • Bargaining • Ceremony & Bereavement • Human Relations • EAP/CIS We have seen how City Council has treated the unionized workers of Locals 79, 416 and the librarians since January of 2012. Local 3888 hasn’t been excluded from these attacks; both from violations of the collective agreement and also at arbitration. The administration of the City has little regard for the commitment to service within our community that we, as firefighters, provide. We should not, and must not, be ashamed to earn a good salary and have decent benefits to provide for our families. As we start the budget process for 2013, we will be diligent to ensure that all members continue to be updated. No doubt that the process will again focus on the level of service to the public that the TFS will provide. We must ensure that all City Councillors understand the full impact of any decisions they make regarding the fire service. It is ultimately a decision of city council based on recommendations by the Fire Chief. The safety and service to the public includes more than just firefighting, we excel at water/ice rescue, trench rescue, hazardous material responses, medical and many other types of emergency services. Each one of us needs to discuss and inform our neighbours and the community of the types and high quality of services we provide. Further, we will have begun the review of Fire/EMS as directed by the 2011 budget debate. Again, we may have to deliver timely information to those conducting this review. The attacks on our profession and by the media are unprecedented. We must continue to educate the public and challenge the many shocking statements made by the media, both on radio and in print. The Association has been utilizing all resources to ensure accurate and current information is communicated to all these groups. We must all continue to work collectively to ensure we win the difficult challenges we are facing. With your assistance, we can be successful and defeat these attacks upon our chosen noble profession. I hope all members have a wonderful spring and I look forward to seeing all at our various association-sponsored events, especially the annual picnic. Have a safe, enjoyable summer.

JANOS CSEPREGHI

csepreghi@torontofirefighters.org 416-806-6286

• Public Relations (Chair) • Charity • Constitution & Policy • Member Communications • Liaison Staff Services: Recruitment Public Info. CAD/RMS “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Dickens’ words from the mid-1800’s certainly resonate in the modern era with the recent trials and tribulations faced by Toronto Fire Fighters. It has been a difficult year under the Ford regime. A lengthy contract process, polarizing political opinions and a fractured relationship with our EMS brothers and sisters has placed considerable stress on us all. Like many of you, I am fearful to open the newspaper in the morning to see what new attack has been penned, let alone the words of wisdom made in the comment section below. All of this being said, the fight that we have been drawn into has focused our attention and created an active membership. In a time when fire fighters in Toronto are under intense scrutiny, I am proud to say that our membership has responded with professionalism and grass roots activism to fight back the myths perpetrated by a vocal minority. Yes, recent times have been difficult, but we must keep our heads held high and act with professionalism, while performing a superior service worthy of the citizens of Toronto. Stay classy 3888, I am proud to stand with you!

DAVE HOLWELL

holwell@torontofirefighters.org 416-807-7753

• Human Relations (Chair) • Bargaining • Grievance • Public Relation • WSIB Please ask to help, have some fun and feel good knowing that you make a difference! I know this is the statement I ended with on my last Exec Talk piece. I wanted to start with it now because I hope many of our members had fun when they offered to help. I also want to remind them that yes, you made a difference. There have been some crazy things going on in the last many months. More elections than anyone would care to see – not just because of the grief with the shift holdover, but also the work behind the scenes. The “Not Gravy” campaign mixed in with the budget threats, the Hudak arbitration threat and the subsequent FF for McGuinty bus tour all had their own special entertainment value. The main thing we are able to say through it all is that our membership stepped up. We got discussion, we got questioned and when needed, we got support. With the help of our members, we made a significant difference at the budget talks. We made a significant difference in the Provincial Election. Best of all, it did not go unnoticed. There are many more challenges down the road. The unstable economy and nervous politicians pulling the purse strings will take every opportunity to crack the armour we have built. Our job now is to nurture the gained support and be quick to respond to those that attack. Thank you all for getting in touch and getting involved. As I said last time… Fire fighting is a special and rewarding occupation. We sometimes forget that it didn’t just happen overnight without sweat or effort. Be aware of the effort and be aware of the part you play. Respect your career and your profession, and you will ensure you are well served. S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 51


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Letter from the Editor… W

hile I covered the topic of suicide in the Fall 2011 edition, there’s been so much awareness raised and attention brought to it in the world of behavioural health, that it seemed prudent to surface it again. No one is immune from suicide, and while military personnel are affected most, this type of death is not unfamiliar to fire fighters. We’ve had our share of suicides over the last several years as well. Age, stage and occupation are irrelevant. Suicide affects healthcare professionals, first responders, seniors and even children. I read a recent article in Firehouse Magazine, which some of you may have read as well. For those of you who have not, I’ve included the URL of the website below. The article speaks to suicide and the renewed focus on behavioural health. The article even made mention of the recent suicide of the Nebraska Fire Chief – NO ONE is immune. I recall meeting with a couple of crews several years ago after the suicide of a young fire fighter. The number of suicides that had occurred around that same time in a few U.S. Fire Services came as a surprise to several of them.

Often emotional stress leads to anxiety, isolation and even depression.

and Wellness Module was created for mandatory training. This In light of presumptive cancers and general health, the Health module contains several different segments, one of which is the

S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 53

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Often emotional stress leads to anxiety, isolation and even encouragement of fire fighters to have an annual physical check up. It’s fairly simple to recognize a physical ailment and many are depression. These signs and symptoms can also be treated, as long good about getting themselves checked out by a doctor, so that as we are willing to give ourselves the chance to be treated. Only wellness can come out of treating these signs and symptoms. they can remedy the situation and get back to regular duty.

It affects everything in our life, not just the way in which we function at work.

I recently learned that a grant is being sought from FEMA, under the Fire Prevention and Safety Grant Program, to offer free workshops on behavioural health and suicide prevention across America. While progress is slow, we have come a long way in the last 5+ years with regard to mental health. I believe education is key and this is why your Peer Support Team continues to answer your call for help, educate recruits, as well as those who are well into the start of their career or nearing retirement. It is also equally as important after retirement to keep engaged and to take care of our physical and mental well-being.

On the mental health side, from the neck up, it’s not as simple to determine, nor are we as apt to have ourselves checked. It is Wishing you wellness always! however, as important, if not more important, to make sure we Lynn Pezzelato are in balance from the neck up. It affects everything in our life, not just the way in which we function at work.

2

TORONTO FIRE SERVICES EAP/CIS NEWSLETTER - SPRING EDITION 2012


HOW THIS FIREFIGHTER LOST HIS WAY “WE ARE ALL AWARE THAT FIRE FIGHTING CAN BE ONE OF THE MOST REWARDING CAREERS ONE CAN CHOOSE. HOWEVER, WE ALSO KNOW THAT THERE ARE INHERENT HEALTH RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH THE JOB. YOUR ASSOCIATION AND TORONTO FIRE SERVICES ARE WORKING TOGETHER IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A PROACTIVE AND COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH AND WELLNESS PROGRAM, ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF ALL STAFF, IN AREAS THAT INCLUDE MEDICAL AND BEHAVIOURAL HEALTH, PHYSICAL FITNESS, INJURY PREVENTION AND REHABILITATION, IN A NON-PUNITIVE AND SUPPORTIVE MANNER.

H

ello Brothers and Sisters of the Toronto Fire Services. I am one of you and I have a story to share with you. This is not your typical fire story, this one is a little bit more personal and hopefully, some of you can relate. The things that I am about to share with you are to let you know how easy it is to turn into someone like me. I AM AN ALCOHOLIC!!! For that reason, I am not going to disclose my name to ensure that this information does not land in the wrong hands. The last thing that I would want to do is tarnish the good name of this department, when all I am trying to do is extend an open hand to anyone in need. I know for a fact there are many of us on the job, but it is not something that is spoken of and I understand that. However, this has to change! There is no need for senseless suffering when the help is available to all of us. So, here is my story… I began my career with Toronto Fire Services in the early 2000s as a young man ready to save the world. My whole life I dreamed of this moment and it finally happened. What more could a guy ask for? A well-respected career where I get the chance to make a difference 56

IN THE UPCOMING ISSUES OF TORONTO FIRE WATCH, WE WILL HIGHLIGHT PERSONAL EXPERIENCES OF SOME OF OUR MEMBERS WHO HAVE MADE SOME POSITIVE LIFESTYLE CHANGES, RESULTING IN SIGNIFICANT OUTCOMES FOR THEIR LIVES AND ALSO FOR THEIR FAMILIES. WE THANK ALL PARTICIPANTS WHO ARE SHARING THEIR STORIES, AS THEY ENCOURAGE EACH OF US TO THINK ABOUT HOW OUR LIFESTYLE CHOICES TODAY WILL IMPACT OUR HEALTH THROUGHOUT OUR CAREER AND INTO RETIREMENT.” BY AN “ANONYMOUS” TORONTO FIRE FIGHTER in people’s lives. Being employed by Toronto Fire Services provided me with more money and time off than I had ever had; I thought I had died and gone to heaven! In the last few sentences I have said some things that will play a huge part in where I ended up. I guess for me to put this all into perspective, I need to tell you what it was like before that moment in time. I was an alcoholic before I got on the Fire Department, but it certainly got a lot worse once I started working. I lived and worked to party. I would work hard and party even harder. As I have never been one to do things half way, each and every time I drank I took it to the limit. I was never able to understand how someone could only have one drink or leave an unfinished one on the table. That was madness to me! I didn’t particularly like the taste of beer, but I sure did like what it did for me once I had a lot of it. I drank for the effect and for no other reason. It helped me become the person I had always wanted to be. I no longer had to be the kid that got picked on all the time. I didn’t have to be sad and angry about how my life had turned out so far. Being drunk would allow me to be the person I had wanted to be; I really just

wanted people to like me. Alcohol was my solution to this and it worked for a very long time. The problem being, that at some point it started to control me and I just couldn’t stop drinking, even if I wanted to! It had become who I was. Truth be told, I didn’t really know who I was when I wasn’t drinking. By the time I reached the doors of the academy, I was in rough shape on the inside, but did my best not to let it show on the outside. I did what I always had done and put on the mask, acting like everything was okay; meanwhile, I was dead inside. While I was at the academy, I was able to control my drinking. I have a learning disability and it makes it very hard for me to concentrate, so I knew if I was hung over in class I would have screwed up for sure and blown my chance at a career with the Department. Since I didn’t drink during the week, by the time Friday morning came all I could think about was Friday night and having that first drink. I would obsess about what I was going to do. What time everyone was getting together? What was I going to drink? How much? All day this would go on until I finally got that first drink in me S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 56


and then all was right in my world. It would be complete madness from Friday after work until late Sunday morning. This continued right up until I graduated from the Academy and got posted to my first hall. I got posted to a pretty busy hall with a good mix of calls. My first two days on the job were great! I was thrown into the mix right away with a fire my second shift. Immediately, I was getting to do the thing I dreamed about doing. On my third shift, I had my first VSA. I was not prepared for that or for how I was going to feel for the next few weeks after. I did not handle that well at all. I guess I am just not the tough guy I thought I was. To this day, I can still remember that woman and what she looked like. I remember what her room looked and smelled like. I remember how upset her husband was. The memories haunted me in my dreams for a very long time. Does that make me weak? Does that make me less of a fire fighter than anybody else? I don’t know. All I do know is that I have a hard time leaving work at work. From that point, I started drinking more and more to hide those feelings of being weak. I never talked about it with anyone for fear of being laughed at or made fun of. Instead I buried it with booze. Over the years, I’ve had lots of those calls and they don’t bother me, but that first VSA call has always stuck with me. During my first few years on the job, I got to see and experience lots of things a lot of my other classmates hadn’t. I felt really lucky to be living the dream. In my personal life outside of the fire department, things weren’t too good. Due to my schedule being different than my friends’ schedules, I found a lot of the people I cared about starting to slip away. At the time, I blamed them for not understanding what my life was like now, but the reality is that I was changing into someone they didn’t really like anymore. I was becoming very cocky and my ego was out of control. I thought people should respect me simply because I was a fire fighter. I would throw money around and act like I was some sort of big shot. My attitude certainly rubbed a lot

of people the wrong way, but I couldn’t care less. As long as I had my booze I would be fine. The more that I drank, the less I cared about other people. I found myself starting to become the person I hated the most, an alcoholic family member that I always said I would never end up like. There have always been certain things that I said I would never do when it came to drinking and work. I would never be hung over at work. Never drink before work. Never be drunk on the job. I had seen and heard about others on the job that had done these things before, and I vowed I would never do any of them. As the years went by I did every single one, time and time again. On many occasions I would spend a shift throwing up or laying down because I was too sick to

do my job. I would make up lies about coming down with the flu or having a headache to get out of work. Very rarely would I make it to work for a Monday shift because I would still be too hung over from the weekend. I finally reached the point where I had discovered my new friend…VODKA. I loved that stuff, but I drank it like I drank beer. I would get so sick, but I would always go back for more. In addition to my increased drinking, I was dealing with a lot of emotional issues that were really getting to me. I was a mess and I didn’t know what to do. I was lost! My personal life was a wreck because I was

“I found myself starting to become the person I hated the most, an alcoholic family member that I always said I would never end up like.”

never home. All but a few friends had disappeared because they couldn’t watch what I was doing to myself anymore. I stayed away from family and slowly sunk into a deep depression fuelled by booze and self-pity. In a cruel twist of irony, me – the man who is supposed to be helping people – now can’t even help himself. So there I was; what was I going to do now? I could not see any way out of this. Drinking wasn’t fun anymore and being sober was just as bad. My solution to this problem was to keep drinking. Things just got worse and worse. I often went to work hung over or still buzzed, if I even managed to go to work at all. I just didn’t care anymore. All I wanted to do was just drink myself to death, so I didn’t have to feel anything anymore. Then one day at work, while still buzzed, someone I respected a lot asked me if I had ever heard of AA. I’m sure I must have just stunk of booze. I blew him off and told him I was fine and that I was just having a rough time at home. He said that he was worried and that I better be careful or I could get in a lot of trouble. This was not the first time I had been called out on my drinking, but I always just ignored the warnings and carried on. I continued living my life in the same manner I had been, but that word AA kept ringing in my head. The beginning of the end came one day when I was in a training class. I had to excuse myself and went to the washroom. The moment I walked through the washroom door I realized what I had become!!! I was sick to my stomach and I could not stop crying. What had I done to myself? Look what I have risked? Think of all the people I have hurt? I broke down. Every terrible thing I had ever done while drinking hit me like a ton of bricks. It brought me to my knees. I really didn’t know what to do. For the first time in a very long while, I had felt shame and guilt at the man I had become. At that moment, I realized that the best decision I ever made up to that point in my life was choosing to become a fire fighter instead of a cop, because if I had had a gun, I would have turned it on myself right there in that washroom. I sat for a little while trying to pull myself together, but there was no hope. I needed help and fast! The decision I made at that point is one I will never regret for the rest of my life. S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 57


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How This Firefighter Lost His Way...Continued from Page 57

I called our dispatch and asked to speak to someone from our Employee Assistance Program. I am not sure who I talked to or what I even said. What I do know is that I said the words, “I am an ALCOHOLIC, and I need help”. Within minutes I was in a cab on my way to a detox facility. I spent the next ten days in detox trying to clear my head and figure out where I had gone wrong. A good friend of mine took care of everything at work and with my family. It was time for me to get my life sorted out before I lost everything. For the first three days I never left my room; I just sat and cried. I hadn’t cried in years. I was a mess. I had horrible shakes and sweats from alcohol withdrawal, something that I had never had before. My mind just raced. All I could keep thinking about was how did I get here? I know better! I had seen how alcohol destroys lives firsthand, but it didn’t matter. It had taken over my life and now it was time for me to take my life back. By the fifth day, I was feeling a little better and the detox facility started to make arrangements for me to go to a treatment centre in the weeks to come. Until then, I spent my time going to some meetings and talking with other alcoholics. I was also given a copy of Alcoholics Anonymous and was told to read it. At this point, I was willing to do anything. I was beaten and broken. Sick! Sorry! Sad! I was just a shell of the man I once was. This is truly where my journey into a better way of living began. It was time to live a sober and honest life. When I began to read that book, I started to see myself in those pages. I realized for the first time that I was no longer alone. There were lots of people just like me that were able to put down the bottle and live a good life. That is what I wanted! A real life! Not one where I had to pretend to be someone I’m not. So, that is just what I did. I put down the booze and the mask. Then I started to get honest with myself. I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself and get to work. I started to ask questions and find out how other people had begun their recovery from this disease of addiction. Everybody I talked to kept talking about AA and from what I read in the book it seemed like it worked. So when I got out of detox after ten days, I went to my first meeting. All I have to say is WOW! I finally found

the place and people I was always looking for. Everybody shook my hand and welcomed me with open arms. Something I noticed immediately was the laughter and the smiles. These people were truly happy and they weren’t loaded. I didn’t even know that was possible. That night, I realized that there was a better way to live my life and I was willing to do anything to change. This was no easy feat. I had been living a lie for so long that I didn’t remember who I was any more. But I had to do something.

the imagination, but it was certainly a lot better than it had been. I came home still off work sick, so that I could jump right into AA’s plan of recovery. I did what I was told: get a sponsor, join a group and go to lots of meetings. That is what I did, no questions asked. It worked! I truly started to feel better. My life started to get better. I still had rough days when a drink would have made it seem easier, but all those problems would still be there once I sobered up. I got involved with my group, setting up chairs and getting

“You need to realize that alcoholism is a disease and it can kill you. It doesn’t care who you are or what you do.” Within a few days of that first meeting, I was off to treatment. I was gone for thirty days to one of the best drug and alcohol rehab centres in Canada. This is where my healing process for all the guilt and shame of my past began. It was, without a doubt, one of the hardest and humbling experiences of my life. I had to get honest with myself about how I had reached this point. I needed to dig up my past mistakes and figure out why I made them. I also needed to realize that I was not a bad person. I was a sick person. You need to realize that alcoholism is a disease and it can kill you. It doesn’t care who you are or what you do. It will take away everything that means anything to you. I learned a lot about myself there and was able to work through a lot of my issues that tie right into my addiction. Most importantly, I was able to attend an AA meeting every day as part of the program. For me, that was the most valuable thing I did. Only an alcoholic understands an alcoholic. I was able to get some great insight into how to stay on the right path in sobriety. I kept my mind open to all that was discussed and took all the advice I was given. These people had what I wanted! They were sober and this was something I couldn’t do on my own. I left that treatment centre with a new lease on life. I had over two months of sobriety at that point and the tools to keep me sober for a little while. However, this is where the work really began. Things weren’t easy by any stretch of

the meeting ready. I was told to stand at the door and shake hands with the other group members, so I did. I was told to ask lots of questions of the older members, so I did. It was like being a recruit all over again. I saw a member celebrate 50 years of sobriety. 50 years! That is amazing! The respect that people had for this member was incredible, but the funny thing is, I got my 3-month chip that night and I was just as important to those people as that member with 50 years’ sobriety was. All they cared about was seeing people get better. Well, I have taken up enough of your time. Thanks for hearing me out! I have been sober now for almost two years. Things have been tough. I had a lot of apologies to make and some people will never forgive me. That is okay and I understand why they can’t forgive me. All I can do is be the best person I can be today and not make the same mistakes again. I would take my worst day sober over my best day drunk anytime. If you want some information on AA or the assistance that is available to you, just contact our EAP, they will be happy to help you. The Internet is also a great place to find out information, such as www.aa.org. Lastly, I just want to say that if you want to talk to me because you have a problem and don’t think there is anyone else who can help, you can find me. There is someone who knows who I am and they can find me 24/7. You are no longer alone, I promise you that! S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 59


3888 RECENT HAPPENINGS

Members of the Toronto Fire Fighters Pipes and Drums Band shown wearing wristbands in support of a fundraising initiative for member Pete Czulinski.

Toronto Fire Fighters Pipes and Drums Band member, Adrian Pleasants, joins the band for a song at a fundraising event held in his honour on January 7, 2012 in Whitby.

est recruit class at Union Local 3888 Members join the new Boot Drive for MDC. 60

Members of Local 3888 march in the Beaches Easter Parade on Sunday, April 8, 2012.

ticipate in a

Station on March 16, 2012 to par

S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 60


Wade Jackson (344D) wins a $100 gift certificate and Karen Borne (FP 412) wins tickets to a Leafs game at the March 27 and March 28 General Membership Meetings.

It was a great turnout and a fun day as Toronto Fire Fighters participated in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Toronto on March 11, 2012.

Local 3888 Executive Board Offi cers pose with forty new recruits at the Fire Academy after swearin g them into the Association as new members.

Toronto Fire Fighters “A” Division hockey team was crowned champions of the 37th Annual SOFFHL Tournament. S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 | F I R E WAT CH 61


2012 UPCOMING EVENTS EVENT Local 3888 Retirement Dinner and Dance Victoria Day Retirement Information Session

LOCATION Q'Ssis, Toronto

TFS/TPFFA Memorial Rib Cook Off

Station #334 Woodbine Park, Toronto

June 4 - 6, 2012 Monday, June 18, 2012

OPFFA Convention Stewards Meeting

Blue Mountain Union Office, Toronto

June 18 & 19, 2012

Rob Penny Slo Pitch Tournament East Point Park, Scarborough

June 19, 2012 Tuesday Night meeting (1900 Hrs) Wednesday, June 20, 2012 (0930 Hrs) Thursday, June 21, 2012 1230 Shot Gun Start Sunday, July 1, 2012 (July 2 Stat.) Tuesday, July 10, 2012 July 21 - 27, 2012

3888 General Union Meeting

RCL Br. 527 948 Sheppard Ave. W.

3888 General Union Meeting

RCL Br. 527 948 Sheppard Ave. W.

3888 Golf Tournament

Bethesda Grange (Formally called Rolling Hills)

Canada Day

Canada

TPFFA Picnic

Centre Island, Toronto

IAFF 51st convention

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Canada Toronto Fire Services Academy

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Toronto FIre Watch - Spring 2012  

FIRE WATCH is an official communication tool of the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association.

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