Posted on

“The Other Side of the Hero” Documentary

The Other Side of the Hero takes us into the world of the first responder we rarely see: life out of uniform. Actor Enrico Colantoni, who played Sgt Greg Parker for five years on the international hit series Flashpoint, is our guide on this journey.

We’ll get to know first responders through their families, their spouses, their co-workers, and themselves; people who have experienced the flip-side of what can happen when a hero discovers that they are not emotionally immune to all that happens in the course of a shift.

We’ll also meet Vince Savoia, a former paramedic who, some 20 years ago, had to quit his job after a traumatic call that changed his life. He now runs the Tema Conter Memorial Trust.

Enrico Colantoni, Producer with firefighters

Several actors who portray first responders on TV are also featured in the doc. These actors acknowledge the  responsibility they have to inspire and inform audiences. As Paget Brewster from Criminal Minds notes, young women often tell her they want to do “exactly what she does on TV” as an FBI Profiler. When approached by fans who tell him they want to become a cop because of his show, Colantoni says, “You don’t want to be a cop, you want to be an actor!”

Watch the trailer:

Visit the website:

If you’re in Canada and would like to host a screening for your community or colleagues, please email:

Posted on

Firefighter, 29, earning $90,000 worries about the health of his pension




Name: John*

Age: 29

Annual income: $90,000

Savings: $3,000 in savings account; $8,000 in TFSAs; $5,500 in index fund

Debt: $210,000 mortgage; $23,000 car loan

What he does: firefighter; partner in tech startup

Where he lives: Rothesay, N.B.

Top financial concern: “There’s part of me that’s worried that I’m paying into a pension and it will be like what happened at Sears,” he says. “My goal is financial stability – putting enough aside for retirement. Hopefully, there will be enough for me to live on.”

John always knew he wanted to be a firefighter. After studying for a few years at the University of New Brunswick, the now 29-year-old couldn’t wait to fulfil his dream, getting his fire school diploma in 2008 from Holland College in Prince Edward Island.

For seven years John worked full time in St. John in a junior firefighting role that came with considerably less pay than a senior one. Earning $55,000 a year, he repaid his $7,000 student loan in five years. He has since been promoted and now pulls in $90,000 before taxes. He also gets vacation pay and has a shared risk plan, also known as a Target Benefit Plan, which is essentially a hybrid of a defined benefit pension plan and defined contribution plan.

“It’s the best job in the world,” says John, who works four days on and four days off, for a total of 48 hours a week. He currently wants to upgrade to a firetruck driver/hose operator. But he worries about his prospects in New Brunswick, which has seen an exodus of residents in recent years. “It’s struggling,” he says.

John is also concerned about his future pension. “There’s part of me that’s worried that I’m paying into a pension and it will be like what happened at Sears,” he says, referring to the bankruptcy of the Canadian retailer last year and word that its pension is underfunded, , leaving its former staffers with significantly fewer retirement benefits that what they are entitled to. Unlinke a  DB pension plan in which which both employer and employees contribute a certain amount and the employer – rather than the employee – bears the investment risk, if a shared risk plan becomes underfunded, the benefits to employees are allowed to be reduced, as opposed to having the deficit paid by the employer.

To that end, he’s building up his equity, having bought a house in 2017 with his wife for $270,000. And he’s building his wealth, belonging to two investing clubs, investing $120 a month primarily in blue-chip stocks. Buying marijuana stocks has also yielded dividends. “In one club, I’ve had a 65 per cent return and in the other club a 45 per cent return,” he says. In total he has made $7,000 over the past three years. John also has investments in his TFSA, which he handles himself through a direct investing account.

Plus, in a move he hopes will yield profits down the road, he’s a partner in a tech startup – a self-serve kiosk service that prints lift tickets for ski hills. For now “it’s a pastime,” he says. “Although the company is profitable, I take no salary in order to reinvest the money to further growth.”

With his high salary and no debt, John is now enjoying a comfortable yet conservative lifestyle. He cuts his own hair. He bought a home gym for his basement to avoid paying gym fees. He eats out a few times a month. And though he travels many times a year – be it Nantucket Island in New England or Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine, with his wife and his or her parents – each trip costs him $600, on average, as his parents or in-laws cover accommodation. “Because our parents are close to retirement and enjoying life, we’re able to reap some benefits of that,” says John

Then there is the recent purchase of a 2017 Honda CRV, which comes with a $23,000 loan. “Cars have been my weak point,” he admits.

For now, John is planning a trip to Europe. He wants to start a family in five years. And he hopes to retire at 55 or 60. “I don’t want to take on debt,” he says. “My goal is financial stability – putting enough aside for retirement. Hopefully, there will be enough for me to live on.”

His typical monthly expenses:

$1,090 on mortgage. “We bought our house in July, 2017, for $270,000. I have a $210,000 mortgage.”

$259 on property tax.

$160 cable and internet.

$285 for electricity. “We have electric baseboards. I do have a propane fireplace but I don’t use it much.”

$100 in home insurance.

$30 in hydro.

$75 for home emergency fund. “This is for home maintenance.”

$680 on groceries.

$200 on eating out. “We go out two times a month. We’re not big on fast food. There’s a place [we like] called Italian by Night – it’s kind of expensive.”

$240 on alcohol. “I enjoy having some beers – I spend about $60 a week. Generally, the people I hang out with are my childhood friends. I’ll have a couple of craft beers and some wings.”

$75 on cellphone. “I brought my own phone to Koodo from Rogers.”

$450 for car. “I just bought a 2017 black Honda CRV in October. I paid $16,000 down and the loan is $23,000. I went for the safe bet.”

$150 on gas. “My commute is 10-15 minutes.”

$100 on car insurance. “You have to shop it around.”

$120 in investments. “I’m a part of two investment clubs. I allocate a certain amount each year to invest. We plan to do this for the next 20 years.”

$0 on hair. “I cut my own hair most of the time. I shaved my head for years but my wife wanted me to grow it out.”

$25.00 in banking/investment fees. “My monthly regular banking fees are $15 a month. Direct investing fees are $25 quarterly and $10 per trade.”

$10 for apps. “I subscribe to Apple iTunes.”

$100 on dog. “He’s a golden doodle. I just bought three weeks of dog food for $70. In the spring, summer and fall, I also buy a heartworm and tick medication for him because there are many ticks out here. It’s $200 for the vet once a year.”

$30 in clothes. “I’m not one to buy clothes. I wear the same pair of jeans every day.”

$155 on sports. “I play in a basketball league once a week. It’s $60 a year. We bought two paddle boards in July – they were $900 each. We like to go for hikes.”

$0 on gym fees. “I had a gym membership but I cancelled it. I went out and spent $1,500 on gym equipment and put it in my basement. I now work out five to six times a week.”

$2,900 per year on holidays/trips. “We have the advantage of going on vacation and not paying for accommodation – we wouldn’t be able to do this without my parents or my wife’s parents. We are going to Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine in a couple of weeks. My wife’s dad is a part of a private fly fishing club – we go there once a year. My family used to go to Nantucket Island for a week – the last time was in 2016. And we went to Florida–Anna Maria Island – for my wife’s parents’ anniversary. That was $600. We didn’t have to pay for the flight, accommodation or rental car. We’re saving to go to Europe now – maybe the south of France.”

* John’s real name has been withheld to protect his privacy.

Link to the original article

Posted on

Holmatro presents new range of cordless rescue tools

14 Dec 2017

Under the name of EVO 3 Holmatro launches its next generation of cordless rescue tools. The full range consists of battery-powered cutters, spreaders, combi tools and (telescopic) rams. Compared to the previous range the new EVO 3 tools offer much more speed when it counts, i.e. when placed under high loads. Combined with the exact same forces as found in Holmatro CORE Technology hose tools this leads to an optimal performance on new car construction.

Improved technology inside

On the outside Holmatro EVO 3 tools look the same as their predecessors. However, on the inside a lot has changed to optimize performance and speed.

New brushless motor

  • Powerful and energy efficient
  • Specially built for the application

Direct-drive pump

  • No gear transmission between motor and pump, no mechanical energy loss

Electronic Speed Control (ESC)

  • Keeps tool speed at a constant maximum level, even at high loads or when the battery voltage drops

Sealed circuit board

  • Cast in resin the electronics inside the tool are fully protected against moisture and dust. This is on top of the tools’ IP 54 protection rate against dust and splashing water.

Full range available

Discover all EVO 3 tools: Cutters. Spreaders. Combi Tools. (Telescopic) Rams.

Designed for freedom

Like their predecessors, Holmatro EVO 3 tools are designed to offer the rescuer ultimate freedom. Their inline control handle with 360° access, centrally located at the back of the tool, enables easy operation in any position. And the battery on top of the drive unit is always within reach, even when space is limited.


Posted on

Rise in fast-burning house fires heats up calls for sprinklers in homes

house on fire

‘I think the concept that the fire department will come and save you all the time is a myth’


Burned-out homes and distraught families are often all that’s left in the wake of a new breed of house fire that feeds off flammable furniture and open-concept designs.

Those fires, which chew through homes with frightening speed, are prompting firefighters and fire-prevention groups in Canada to push for the installation of sprinkler systems in new homes across the country.

“Fires today move very quickly, they are to be taken seriously. I think the concept that the fire department will come and save you all the time is a myth,” said Vince MacKenzie, a director with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs.

Read more here.

Posted on

Introducing the Air-Pak X3 Pro SCBA

Scott Safety logo


Scott Safety, now part of 3M, advances the proven, trusted performance of the Air-Pak X3 with the introduction of the Air-Pak X3 Pro, its most leading-edge SCBA to date. With a commitment to firefighter safety and a focus on the long-term effects of carcinogen exposure, Scott Safety engineered a product that enhances cleanability, comfort and connectivity, while providing compatibility with the upcoming NFPA 2018 standards.


The Air-Pak X3 Pro combines high-performance material selection with an easy-to-remove harness for cleaning, decontamination and serviceability. With minimal water absorption, the new harness assembly can be machine laundered to minimize contamination and reduce long-term carcinogen exposure. Because the gear can be laundered at the station, firefighters have fast and easy access to their equipment when they respond to the next call.

“As an industry leader, our role at Scott Safety is not only to provide the best equipment to protect first responders, but to do our part to protect their long-term health,” said Jeff Emery, global business unit leader, SCBA and fire solutions for Scott Safety. “We take that responsibility seriously and are committed to instituting change, not only for the firefighters of today, but for the firefighters of tomorrow.”

Scott Safety designed the Air-Pak X3 Pro to keep firefighters safe while providing a higher level of comfort. A new shoulder harness design improves the ease of donning the SCBA and minimizes pressure points to reduce user fatigue. A naturally articulating waist pad provides the user a greater range of motion, while transferring weight to the hips for a more balanced load. Superior breathability offers minimal breathing resistance to reduce user burden and improve operational efficiencies.

Offering enhanced electronics with Bluetooth® technology, the Air-Pak X3 Pro supports wireless connectivity for improved firefighter safety and fireground accountability. An electronic PAR feature allows incident command to reliably communicate with firefighters without creating additional radio traffic. Data downloading and configuration changes are made easier using a wireless connection to smartphones.

“Scott Safety is committed to product development that makes the firefighter’s job easier and safer,” said Jason Cannon, senior manager, NFPA air-supplied products for Scott Safety. “With a cleanable, comfortable and connected product, we are working toward minimizing harmful exposure to carcinogens and providing improved peace of mind.”

This commitment to cancer prevention also is reflected in the company’s planned cancer awareness and prevention initiative for 2018. Scott Safety has pledged to make $100,000 in charitable gifts to nonprofit organizations that share Scott’s mission for cancer prevention and work to protect the long-term health of firefighters. The program will launch January 1.

For information on Scott Safety’s latest innovations, please visit

About 3M | Scott Safety
Scott Safety, now part of 3M, is a premier manufacturer of innovative respiratory and personal protective equipment and safety devices for emergency services and first responders including firefighters, industrial workers, law enforcement, military, civil defense, national security and rescue teams around the world. With five global manufacturing locations, Scott products protect thousands of individuals each day from environmental hazards that are inherent in the industriesthey serve. The Scott product line includes self-contained breathing apparatus, supplied air and air-purifying respirators, gas detection instruments, thermal imaging cameras and firefighter locators. For information on Scott Safety’s latest innovations, please visit​.​

Posted on

“Into the Fire” CBC Documentary

This documentary aired Sunday, November 5, 2017 on CBC-TV

Nature created it. Humans harnessed it. And now, as climate change helps light a flame to our forests, scientists are desperately trying to understand it. This compelling documentary travels from Alberta to Australia to follow researchers and firefighters as they head straight Into the Fire.

To director Leora Eisen, fire has always been a source of fascination – and fear. “When I was 21 and living in a high rise apartment, the fire alarm went off at three in the morning. I remember walking down the staircase in a daze, my eyes burning from the smoke, and being scared out of my wits.”

Our relationship with fire is complicated. Through the ages, we’ve used it to stay warm, cook dinner, even decorate our birthday cakes. But we’ve also been devastated by its destructive path. This past summer, more than one million hectares of the B.C. landscape went up in smoke. In 2016, the Fort McMurray wildfire – known as “the Beast”- forced the evacuation of nearly 90,000 residents.

SCENE FROM THE FILM: Research shows that the window to escape a burning home has been reduced from 17 to 3 minutes.
“A spark can light a raging inferno,” says Univ. of Alberta wildfire expert Mike Flannigan. “And where fire intersects with people, the results can be disastrous.” In Into the Fire, he heads to B.C.’s biggest blaze to give viewers a riveting glimpse into fire behaviour.

One of the biggest mysteries is why one house burns down, while the one next door survives. That’s why fire safety consultant Alan Westhaver takes us on a tour through the neighbourhoods of Fort McMurray, a year after the fire. “There are lessons in the ashes,” he notes.

But it’s not just the fires in our forests that are becoming more dangerous. According to Ottawa Fire’s Peter McBride, “modern homes have become like easy bake ovens.” As our homes have changed, urban firefighters have had to change tactics.

“Now that I’ve finished the film, I’m even more fascinated by fire,” says director Eisen. “But I’ve also learned from the scientists that it’s more important to respect it than fear it.” After all, notes researcher and former firefighter Josh Johnston, “it was on this landscape before we were.”

Watch the full episode here. (Only available in Canada.)

Follow Into the Fire on social media on facebook or twitter.

Into the Fire is directed by Leora Eisen. Executive Producer is Gordon Henderson of 90th Parallel Productions.

Posted on

Outfitting your Truck – A place for everything and everything in its place.

tools in truck

Micmac Fire & Safety Source Ltd. (MMFSS) introduces a new line of articles published monthly where our dedicated Truck Team will discuss Emergency Vehicle issues, topics and products.

Whether your Fire Department is ordering a pumper, tanker, heavy/light rescue or aerial truck there are a lot of factors to consider regarding truck design. It is easy to forget small items or sometimes even lose sight of the original purpose, or specific role, that truck was intended to serve. One of the most frequently overlooked items the MMFSS Truck Team notices is not outfitting a truck with proper compartment brackets, backing and holders for the equipment the truck carries. This article will briefly speak about outfitting your truck and why some thought (and budget) should be invested in this area.

Continue reading Outfitting your Truck – A place for everything and everything in its place.

Posted on

Cancer is leading cause of Line of Duty Deaths for firefighters

Cancer infographic

Since 2002, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has attributed more than 60% of firefighter line of duty deaths (LODDs) to cancer — which is more than any cause. This disturbing statistic underscores why firefighters need to take proactive steps to help reduce their exposure to fire service-related carcinogens. This includes making sure that you ALWAYS follow post-fire call decon and gear laundering procedures.
To take the firefighter cancer-prevention pledge and download this infographic sheet (and other ‘Not In Our House’ firefighter cancer awareness materials), click here:

Posted on

Pierce Manufacturing announces new Ascendant® aerial apparatus configurations

Pierce FDIC

Pierce Manufacturing will display a greatly expanded portfolio of its industry-leading Pierce® Ascendant® aerial apparatus – including several never-before-seen configurations – at the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) Exhibition in Indianapolis, Ind.

APPLETON, Wis. (April 11, 2017) – Pierce Manufacturing Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK) company and the leading North American manufacturer of fire and emergency vehicles, will display a greatly expanded portfolio of Pierce® Ascendant® 107-foot aerial apparatus – including several never-before-seen configurations – at Lucas Oil Stadium (LOS) on April 27-29, 2017 during the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) Exhibition in Indianapolis, Ind. In addition, the powerful Oshkosh® Striker® 8X8 Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicle and the Oshkosh Defense Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) will be on display.

Continue reading Pierce Manufacturing announces new Ascendant® aerial apparatus configurations