Ontario Professional Fire Fighter's Association

Cuts worry city's firefighting crews


Despite interim CAO Bob Johnston's resolute assertion that city staff will find $6 million in savings by the time 2016 budget planning ends, cuts proposed by the Project 6 Million (P6M) initiative could imperil public safety, says a local firefighers' union.

Rob Hyndman, president of the Sudbury Professional Firefighters Association, Local 527, explained that until earlier this year, two public educators were responsible for delivering fire-safety education to various audiences throughout the city, including more than 70 elementary schools and the Scouts/Girl Guides organization, as well as developing ad campaigns and community outreach programs.

Public fire-safety education is mandated by the fire prevention act, Hyndman said Friday.

"Since the inquest, Sudbury fire services has always had two public safety officers who have always completed the education for the city," he told The Star.

Former Star reporter Denis St. Pierre covered the 2002 inquest into the deaths of Pearl Shaw, 75, and her two great-grandchildren, Asha-Jade and Ellias McLean, after a fire consumed a Roy Street home in Hanmer on April 22, 2001.

Several of Shaw's neighbours, including a firefighter, made several attempts to enter the house, "at one point hearing the cries of young Ellias and Asha-Jade from inside. All were repelled by the lethal smoke," St. Pierre wrote in 2002. "Shaw somehow made her way from the front door of the home, through the living room, down a hall and into a bedroom where her great-grandchildren were trapped. Investigators later found the three victims in the basement, where they fell as the burning main floor of the home collapsed. The bodies were together, apparently because Shaw had managed to reach her (great-) grandchildren and huddle with them in their final moments."

Hyndman said the union cannot "understand why the city would want to cut that position in half."

One of the public educators left in early 2015 and the vacancy has yet to be filled. Under the guise of P6M, Hyndman argued the union believes the city has used that salary to fund a management position.

"It's our belief - and I can't substantiate this without actually hearing from the employer - they're using this money to fund a management position. We didn't have an assistant deputy fire chief before and now we do. And now they're proposing the reduction of a public safety officer."

Those savings could amount to as much as $136,211, according to a staff report prepared by the department of health, social and emergency services.

"From our position, this has a significant impact on service delivery, contrary to what they're talking about at council," Hyndman added.

With their staff halved, he union fears the fire-safety message will not reach the intended audiences - "it's not something to take lightly," Hyndman argued - and wants the second educator position restored.

"When we're talking about the amount of education they're doing in the community, and (the city) is somehow going to cut that in half and have the same amount of work output - it's unfathomable," Hyndman continued. "It's absolutely ridiculous."

"We can't understand why the mayor and council would entertain such a thing," he added.

No one from city hall was available for an interview on Friday afternoon; however, Shannon Dowling, a communications officer, did provide the following statement.

"The public safety officer position outlined in the P6M report, (which was) presented to the finance and administration committee earlier this week, has been vacant since January 2015. This is why it was identified in the report instead of being discussed in-camera. The position has been identified as an opportunity for savings in 2016 through attrition. Because it is a labour relations matter, we can't offer any further information at this time."

The firefighters' union filed a grievance in March, when it became clear the city was not going to fill the vacancy. It had been on hold, pending further information from city hall. Hyndman could not discuss the specifics of the grievance, but is still waiting to speak with city staff and/or council, who he said Friday have not responded to his requests in more than a week. Time is up and Hyndman said the union is moving forward with the dispute resolution process.

"According to discussions coming out regarding P6M, we're trying to figure out what is going on," he said Friday.

The P6M mandate was approved earlier this year to find $6 million in permanent savings, after council dipped into the city's reserve funds to achieve Mayor Brian Bigger's campaign promise of a tax freeze.

The orginal article can be viewed HERE.

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Local 3888 Fundraiser

Please see the notice below from Local 3888, Toronto:


Toronto, Local 3888 has two members who have reached out to us and are looking for some help with a golf tournament that they are running, to help purchase a new wheelchair accessible van for their son Wyatt.

The following is a brief letter that was received that will help explain the request for assistance further:


Good afternoon, my name is Kevin Carr and I am a Toronto Fire Fighter. My other half is Chelsea Russell, who also works as a Toronto Fire Fighter. We are holding a golf and dinner fundraiser on October 17th, 2015 for our son Wyatt.

Wyatt was originally diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, then after years of investigation it was found in November of 2014 that Wyatt has a recessive genetic disorder called Multiple Congenital Anomalies-Hypotonia-Seizure Syndrome Type 1. His sister Lauren, who passed away in October 2012, had the same genetic syndrome. I am Wyatt and Lauren's biological father, and Chelsea is their step-mother, but she has been 100% involved in their parenting since early 2011 and we have a healthy son named Kaidyn together.

We are currently fundraising to purchase a new wheelchair accessible vehicle for Wyatt as he uses a wheelchair exclusively and is non-verbal. Wyatt has extensive health issues, but is a fabulous little boy and the van we currently use is shared with Wyatt's biological mother and is 10+ years old and really starting to show its age.

If you'd like to read more about our story and about all of our fundraising efforts to date, we have a gofundme page for Wyatt at http://www.gofundme.com/agvr48, where we post regularly.

We are currently looking for hole sponsors and auction items for the tournament and wondering if there is anything available via the job/charity committee.

Thank you so much!

- Kevin Carr


The Toronto Professional Fire Fighters' Association will be sponsoring three holes, as well as donating some prizes to help with their event. They would like to challenge all Locals and OPFFA brothers and sisters to help out any way that you can.

Visit the link below to enter a team.


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Sudbury PFFA Raises $46,700.00 for Muscular Dystrophy Canada

Sudbury PFFA ran a Fill the Boot drive for Muscular Dystrophy Canada on Thursday Sept 10th and Friday Sept 11th.

Sudbury ran the drive from 9:00am to 9:00pm each day with Brother Brian Gattoni running the Southend Mall Boot Drive and Brother Scott Roper running the New Sudbury Mall Boot Drive.

Sudbury PFFA managed to raise an incredible $46,700.00 which is the highest total to date!

Some brand new Recruits also spent time on the drive, even though their training won't begin until Sept 28th 2015.

The Sudbury PFFA would like to thank the citizens of City of Greater Sudbury for helping them achieve this remarkable goal for such a worthy cause.


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Ontario Fire Fighters Memorial Cancelled

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Clarington Fire's new EpiPens save bee-stung senior

Emergency medicine for severe allergic reactions added to fire truck equipment just this year

Clarington This Week
By Jennifer O'Meara
CLARINGTON -- A Newcastle firefighter saved an unresponsive senior from a severe allergic reaction by using the department’s new EpiPens, added to Clarington fire truck equipment just this year.

“We put our first one to use,” said Clarington Fire Chief Gord Weir.

A man in his mid-70s who is highly allergic was stung by a bee on Friday, Aug. 7. He didn’t have an EpiPen on him and had a friend drive him to a Newcastle pharmacy to buy one. The pharmacy was out of stock and the man began to go into anaphylactic shock.

Emergency crews were called and the firefighters were at the pharmacy within three minutes. By the time they had arrived the man was unresponsive. Firefighters injected the EpiPen into the man’s right thigh.

By the time paramedics arrived, the senior was again able to open his eyes when spoken to by emergency workers. He was taken to hospital.

Epinephrine auto-injectors, or EpiPens, are used to help treat anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction some people have to certain foods, insect bites or medications. Patients suffer swelling, hives, low blood pressure and increased heart rate. If anaphylactic shock isn’t treated quickly, it can be fatal.

With firefighters often responding to local emergency calls before paramedics, Chief Weir said the pens improve firefighters’ ability to respond to severe allergic reactions.

In the fall of 2014, both adult and child EpiPens were added to the list of life-saving equipment on three Clarington fire trucks. All eight of the municipality’s pumper trucks were carrying the injectors come 2015. Firefighters were trained in how to use the EpiPens before the medicine was placed on the trucks.

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Winnipeg Fire/EMS combination works well

March 18, 2015
Winnipeg Free Press
We, the leadership of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS), express our profound dismay with
Mary Agnes Welch’s column of March 11, 2015 (“Firefighters skilled at manipulating the political system”). Ms. Welch had an opportunity to research and report facts as a service to your readers; instead, the article used only select facts that do not paint an accurate picture.
In this limited space, it is difficult to fully describe the tremendously successful integrated EMS-Fire model of the WFPS. Perhaps we can interest the Winnipeg Free Press in publishing a series of articles to fulfill that task. For now, we are hopeful the following facts will be published to assist readers in seeing beyond the limits of the article:
The majority of paramedics who work on Winnipeg’s ambulances are primary care paramedics (PCPs). They hold the same emergency medical education, qualification, and licence as those who work on Winnipeg’s fire trucks. In fact, the vast majority of paramedics in Manitoba are PCPs. Ms.
Welch’s characterization of “hand-holding” is as wrong as it is offensive. Regardless of the uniform they wear, PCPs are the foundation of Manitoba’s EMS system. PCPs are proud of the emergency medical care they provide, as are we.
A community’s fire service is part of its infrastructure which attracts investment of business, industry, and residents. Proper fire resourcing reduces the insurance premiums of homeowners and business owners, on the order of $2 in savings for every $1 of taxation to support fire service.
Fortunately, fires don’t occur continually, resulting in an inherent response capacity in the fire protection service.
Placement and staffing of fire resources is solely determined by response time to all parts of the City for fire-related calls. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guideline 1710 describes the response time standards to which urban fire services are held.

Integrated fire & EMS departments provide service to almost 60% of Manitoba residents, as this model is also used in Brandon, Thompson, and Shilo. Integrated service has existed in these communities for many years. As well, a number of other Canadian communities employ this model, and it is very common in US centres.
Winnipeg’s integrated model arose in the late 1990s and early 2000s due to the lack of capacity of the existing, standalone EMS service. Using the inherent response capacity in the fire service avoided significant duplication of resources. The integrated model framework was recommended by several independent consultants, was created in the mid 2000’s, and culminated in 2007 with negotiated work sharing agreements. These agreements remain in our practice today.
The popular myth that fire departments bolster their call volumes with medical calls to preserve their staffing is categorically false. In fact, if Winnipeg’s fire service ceased medical response, our staffing and resources would not change at all, and our net cost would increase significantly with the loss of several million dollars of funding we receive for our fire service’s contribution to the EMS system.
Equally false is the notion that sending a fire apparatus to a medical call is a waste of tax dollars. As noted above, that crew and apparatus would be on duty and paid regardless of their involvement in medical response. Indeed, not responding with that crew would truly be a waste of tax dollars.
In 2014, our integrated system provided average travel times to the highest priority calls of 3.72 minutes. Had we relied only on our ambulance resources, the average travel time would have been 6.73 minutes. Welch’s statement that “speed doesn’t matter” on these calls demonstrates a lack of understanding of medical and traumatic emergencies. We are confident that anyone who has called 911 for themselves or a loved one in medical distress would agree that having a skilled paramedic arrive almost 50% faster is critical, regardless of the vehicle in which they arrive.
In 2014, fire-based PCPs responded alone to 11,192 calls. Almost 90% of these were “person down,” “falls,” or “assist police.” This represents the call volume of approximately three, 24-hour ambulances. Without fire involvement, these three ambulances would have been unavailable for calls more likely to require advanced care and/or transport to hospital. The addition of three ambulances would further add to the tax burden.
Fire crews DO NOT respond to every medical call. We have used our many years of experience to hone the system responses to send the most appropriate resources to different types of calls.
Of 63,000 calls for emergency medical service in 2014, fire resources attended just over 31,000, less than half. We send resources according to the initial information in the call, then scale up or down as the situation presents.
·The efficiency of our system is demonstrated by impartial comparison to other cities. Winnipeg participates in the Ontario Municipal Benchmarking Initiative (OMBI), which involves many facets of municipal services. The 2013 data shows Winnipeg as providing among the highest number of ambulance service hours servicing the most calls at the lowest cost per hour among 13 cities. Winnipeg was among the busiest fire services, with the second lowest unit staffing costs among nine cities.
All of these bona fide facts were available to Ms. Welch for the asking. We publicly presented the OMBI data during our budget presentation on March 9, 2015. Regrettably, the only fact that Welch chose to verify with the City was the percentage of female firefighters in the WFPS. Her insertion of this figure to insinuate a gender issue borders on salaciousness.
While the focus of the article was clearly limited to observations on a political landscape, the selectiveness of factual reporting has led to an imbalance that not only slights the paramedics who serve our city, but also does a disservice to your readers by not accurately representing the integrated model citizens are served by. The March 16 column by Dan Lett (“Firefighter-paramedic rift harmful”) exacerbates the misunderstanding of the integrated model and its benefits to our citizens. We respectfully urge the Free Press to address this imbalance.
John A. Lane, BSC Tom Wallace
Chief Deputy Chief
Winnipeg Fire & Paramedic Service Winnipeg Fire & Paramedic Service

Rob Grierson, MD Joe Seewald
Medical Director Deputy Chief
Winnipeg Fire & Paramedic Service Winnipeg Fire & Paramedic Service

Christian Schmidt
Deputy Chief
Winnipeg Fire & Paramedic Service

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Download the new OPFFA App!

Download the new OPFFA App! Search for "OPFFA" on the App Store for iPhone, Blackberry World, or Google Play for Android users, or click on the links below:






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Ebola Response: Medical and Behavioral Concerns

Keeping Emergency Responders Safe 
Dr. Donald Stewart, Medical Director, Fairfax County Public Safety Occupational Health Center
Jim Brinkley, IAFF Director of Health and Safety

So far, the IAFF's series of videos on Ebola preparedness and response has focused on exposure protection. In the fourth video, Dr. Donald Stewart, medical director for the Public Safety Occupational Health Center in Fairfax County, Virginia, addresses some of the medical and behavioral concerns related to responding to possible cases of Ebola.



Watch the entire series of videos here. More information on Ebola preparedness is also available online and on the IAFF Frontline app. The IAFF will be continuously updating this site with the latest information on the Ebola virus. 

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Ebola Response Information

As you may be aware, municipalities across Canada are preparing and revising emergency protocols that deal with how emergency responders react to a potential Ebola patient. The OPFFA has a representative at the Ebola Advisory Table to offer our perspective on this emerging issue.

At a provincial level, the Ministry of Health has described the threat of Ebola to first responders as low risk. Instead, the province wants to ensure we prevent individuals from exposure in the first place. Five airports across Ontario are screening passengers travelling from or through African countries for symptoms. Ten hospitals – including four pediatric hospitals – have been designated as Ebola-ready facilities.

Emergency staff in hospitals have received a directive (Directive 1) detailing their protocols for dealing with a potential Ebola patient. A response protocol for EMS responders is expected in the coming days. We will advise you when it becomes available.

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Safety Stand Down for Ebola Preparedness

The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history and has spread to multiple countries in West Africa. The first confirmed case in North America was recently reported in Dallas, Texas, where the 9-1-1 system was used to treat and transport the patient to the hospital. The patient has since died. The ambulance crew - all members of Dallas, TX Local 58 - have been taken off duty with pay and are under continuous medical observation at their homes. For more information on what you need to know about Ebola, click here.

It is highly likely that more individuals infected with Ebola will seek assistance from emergency response personnel as the disease spreads. The IAFF is urging every affiliate to conduct a "safety stand down" with their employer and review all infectious exposure policies, procedures and guidelines. You should assess your department's preparedness for responding to and caring for patients with possible symptoms of the Ebola virus and whether you have the equipment and training needed for safely responding to worst-case scenarios in potential Ebola exposures should this virus spread in the United States and Canada.

All policies, procedures and guidelines should at a minimum address the following:

Use standard precautions, including fluid resistant and or impermeable long-sleeved gowns, single or double gloves, eye protections, leg coverings, and disposable shoe covers. The IAFF recommends N95 respirators for all patients with respiratory symptoms.

If there is a potential exposure, or the crew thinks they have been affected, DO NOT return to the firehouse. After transport, remove the unit from service while at the hospital. If an engine and EMS unit both respond, they should stay together throughout the call to keep other fire fighters from potential contamination. Exposure reporting should be activated from the hospital or while in route to the hospital with the patient.

Establish follow-up and reporting measures after caring for a suspected or confirmed Ebola patient.

Develop policies for monitoring and management of EMS personnel potentially exposed to Ebola. Policies should be flexible in terms of the amount of time required for monitoring and potential isolation of exposed personnel.

Establish sick leave policies for personnel that are non-punitive, flexible and consistent with public health guidance.

Ensure that all personnel, including staff who are not directly employed to provide patient care but provide essential daily services, are also aware of the sick leave policies.

Ensure that fire and EMS personnel exposed to blood, bodily fluid, secretions or excretions from a patientwith a suspected or confirmed Ebola virus immediately:
1) Stop working and wash the affected skin surfaces with soap and water and irrigate with a large amount of water or eyewash solution.
2) Contact an occupational health supervisor for assessment and access to post-exposure management services.
3) Receive medical evaluation and follow-up care as appropriate. Medical evaluations should include fever monitoring twice daily throughout the Ebola incubation period, which is two to 21 days.

Establish return-to-work protocols according to EMS agency policy and discussions with local, state and federal public health authorities.

Fire and EMS personnel who develop sudden onset of fever, intense weakness or muscle pains, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains or any other symptoms after an unprotected exposure should NOT report to work or, if at work, immediately stop working, isolate themselves, notify their supervisor (who should notify local and state health departments as appropriate), contact an occupational health supervisor for assessment and post-exposure management service and comply with work exclusions until they are considered no longer infectious to others.

Identify a single occupational health representative for reporting exposures.

Fit test all personnel for use of N95 masks and provide them, as well as appropriate eye protection.
The transmission of the Ebola virus occurs through direct contact with blood and bodily fluids of an infected person. It can also be transmitted through exposure to objects that are contaminated by the bodily fluids, such as needles. Healthcare workers, including fire fighters and EMS personnel, are at the highest risk of becoming sick because they are exposed daily to many patients with common symptoms of Ebola and other infectious diseases.

The IAFF stresses the importance of consistently using standard precautions during every patient encounter and having the proper training and equipment to safely respond to and care for individuals exhibiting signs of Ebola.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides important guidance documents, most notably the Interim Guidance for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems and 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) for Management of Patients With Known or Suspected Ebloa Virus Disease and EMS Checklist for Ebola Preparedness. For more CDC infection control guidelines, click here.

For more information on what you need to know about Ebola, click here.

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Take a moment to watch this video and find out how important it is to have good response times in any municipality.

Ask your candidates: where do they stand on public safety?

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Six Additional Cancers Added to Presumptive Legislation List

Please click the link below to access the Press Release:


PRESS RELEASE - April 30th 2014

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Knockout childhood cancer

Box Run is a charitable initiative started by Mike Strange in 2012 in an effort to "knockout" childhood cancer. The goal was to raise awareness and funds by running across a portion of Canada, starting from the point where Terry Fox was forced to stop his run in 1980. The inaugural Box Run took Strange nearly 3,200kms down the Trans-Canada Highway, from Thunder Bay, ON to Victoria, BC. The run raised over $100,000, all of which was donated to Childhood Cancer Canada.

click for more info on the;



Box Run route

Pledge sheet

Corporate sponsorship



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Muscular Dystrophy Canada Thanks Ontario's Fire Fighters

Ontario's Professional Fire Fighters raise $475, 977 for Muscular Dystrophy Canada

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Mississauga fire trucks now equipped with EpiPens


MISSISSAUGA - All fire trucks in Mississauga now carry life-saving EpiPens to treat people experiencing a severe allergic reaction.
Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services officials brought the news to City councillors last Wednesday.
EpiPens are used to administer ..........read more

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More than Fires- Ajax Fire Fighters

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Muscular Dystrophy Canada Danielle Campo Extra Mile Award

Congratulations to Sarnia Local 492 member Chris Ireland, on receiving Muscular Dystrophy Canada Danielle Campo Extra Mile Award

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Check out our new facebook page - click here


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Ontario's Fire Fighters

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OPFFA Members

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OPFFA Video Playlist

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Check out Fred LeBlanc's IAFF 13th District Blog


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"Thank you for all you have done this past year for those affected with muscular dystrophy. We are so fortunate to have you on our fundraising team."

Pamela Musgrave


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