Oshawa Firefighters Association

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Scientific Analysis Confirms Oshawa

Needs to Boost Frontline Fire Protection



October 4, 2018


OSHAWA – Oshawa’s professional fire fighters are urging the city to heed the findings of a scientific report they released today that confirms the urgent need for additional frontline fire department resources to meet minimum public safety standards, especially in the downtown area where higher population and building densities mean greater risk to the public.

The fire fighters released the final report of a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis, a state-of-the-art tool which used mapping and actual response time data supplied by the city to determine fire department response times and personnel levels on a street-by-street basis.

Conducted by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) at the request of Oshawa fire fighters, the GIS measured current response capabilities against the science-based National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1710 Standard and makes recommendations about how to improve public safety.

Peter Dyson, President of the Oshawa Professional Fire Fighters Association, said the report clearly shows there are public safety shortfalls, and urges the city to heed its findings and to act quickly to improve response capabilities, especially downtown where fire department management slashed the number of frontline personnel and vehicles in half last year at Station 1 and relocated them to the new Station 6 in the north end of the city.

“This report validates our suspicions that the most negative impact of the city’s decisions is on our most vulnerable neighbourhoods,” he said. “The city cannot in good conscience ignore or dismiss this report, and should no longer deny all Oshawa residents and property owners the effective fire protection they expect and deserve.”

While the city currently deploys fire vehicles with four fire fighters as specified in NFPA 1710, they typically arrive on scene in six minutes not the required four minutes. And the four-personnel requirement is only one aspect of a multi-faceted standard that specifies the need for additional frontline resources in medium and high-density areas of a city, where the report identified numerous other response shortfalls in Oshawa.

The report, which is available at www.oshawafirefighters.org, recommends that in order to work toward meeting the industry standard, the city should adopt a deployment model that provides an initial deployment 15 fire fighters to low-density structures instead of the current 13, consider five or six fire fighters per vehicle in high-density and high-risk areas and add an additional suppression vehicle at Station 1 staffed with four multi-role fire fighters.

Dyson says the association feels an obligation to speak out on behalf the public, who were not consulted when resources were redeployed away from the downtown area and who are still reeling from the Centre Street North tragedy that occurred earlier this year.

He emphasizes that his members give their all every time the alarm sounds and do the best with what they have, but have urged the association to be proactive about fire protection shortfalls and their impact on the citizens they are sworn to serve.


Peter Dyson, President

Oshawa Professional Fire Fighters Association

(905) 391-6234










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Preliminary GIS Report Of Oshawa's Downtown Core


Please click on the link below to see the preliminary geographic information system risk and hazard analysis of the City of Oshawa's downtown core and immidiate surrounding area.



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Media Release March 1, 2018

Analysis shows need for a thorough Fire Risk Assessment in Oshawa

Fire fighters’ association calls on city to share data on fire department deployment



March 1, 2018


OSHAWA – The Oshawa Professional Fire Fighters Association is calling on the city and the leadership of Oshawa Fire Services to work with them to conduct a thorough risk assessment of the city in the wake of a science-based preliminary analysis that examined projected response times to the scene of a tragic house fire on Centre Street North in January.

The fire fighters’ association is also calling on the city to share fire department response data, so that decision-makers like city council and other stakeholders including fire fighters and citizens can make informed decisions about fire protection and public safety.

The Oshawa Professional Fire Fighters Association commissioned a science-based Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis from the International Association of Fire Fighters earlier this year in the wake of the tragic fire on Centre Street North, in which four people lost their lives. The association delivered a copy of the analysis to the city today, and a copy is also available on their web site at www.iaff465.com.

A risk assessment would thoroughly examine fire department response capabilities and ensure that fire service resources address existing risk and demand. It would also consider the demographic and socioeconomic composition of the city.

Using state-of-the-art mapping technology and data from Statistics Canada and other official sources, the GIS analysis found that downtown Oshawa has a disproportionately high number of residents who have an increased likelihood of being fire casualties than other parts of the city, due to a number of demographic factors tied to income levels, age, population density and proportion of dwellings built before 1960.

But in April 2017, OFS management slashed staffing at the downtown Fire Station 1 on Adelaide Ave. West in half from two fire trucks staffed by four fire fighters each to just one, which also cut in half the number of fire fighters available to be on scene quickly as part of the critically-important first-alarm assignment.

“High-risk areas like downtown Oshawa typically need additional frontline resources that are positioned to respond quickly in the event of a fire or other emergency,” says Peter Dyson, President of the Oshawa Professional Fire Fighters Association, adding that senior fire service officials have rebuffed the association’s attempts to gather information and have indicated they don’t believe the IAFF should be studying fire department response issues in Oshawa.

“The city needs to address the current deployment model, and we are ready and willing to work with them toward the goal of effective fire protection downtown and in all areas of the city.”

According to the IAFF’s GIS analysis, fire crews now have to travel to downtown Oshawa from two additional fire stations, which adds to response times.

GIS analysis, which relies solely on data for its conclusions, is considered the gold standard for determining fire department response capabilities across North America. It is required, for example, by fire departments seeking accreditation through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International and other institutions.

The Centre Street North Tragedy was the fourth fatal structure fire in downtown Oshawa in 12 months, following fatal fires in 2017 on Brock St. West, Park Rd. South and Grenfell Street.

“We owe it to the residents of Downtown Oshawa to ensure we’re doing everything we can to avoid another tragedy like the Centre Street North fire,” Dyson said, adding that fire fighters will always work their hardest to save lives and property with the resources they have. “We trust the city shares that view and is prepared to conduct a risk assessment as an important first step in ensuring people’s lives and property are adequately protected.”

In the meantime, Dyson urges all Oshawa residents to ensure they have working smoke alarms on every floor of their dwelling, noting that both early detection and early response are important factors when it comes to minimizing the impact of a residential fire.

Founded in 1918, the International Association of Fire Fighters represents 310,000 professional fire fighters and paramedics across North America including the 185 members of the Oshawa Professional Fire Fighters Association. For more information, visit www.iaff.org/


Peter Dyson, President

Oshawa Professional Fire Fighters Association


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Preliminary GIS Report of Oshawa's Downtown Core

Please click on the link below to see the preliminary geographic information system risk and hazard analysis of the City of Oshawa's downtown core and immidiate surrounding area.



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2017/2018 Association Meeting Dates

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The The Ontario Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn visited the new IAFF Centre of Excellence in Maryland.

Click on the link below to watch the 2 minute video.

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2017 Rob Penney Slow Pitch Tournament Champions

Congratulations to the Oshawa team for winning the 2017 Rob Penney Slow Pitch Charity Tournament

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Congratulations to our 2017 Kiwanis Firefighters of the Year

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IAFF Center of Excellence

IAFF Dispatch Special Edition

Clink on the line to view the latest edition of the IAFF Dispatch Special Edition video. This episode is on the IAFF Centre of excellence.

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Congratulations to Jason Pow

Congratulations to Jason Pow. Jason is the 2017 recipient of the Oshawa Fire Services Humanitarian Award.

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Thank you to Captain Rick Kurelo for representing the Oshawa Fire Service and Local 465 at the 2017 New Year's Levee.

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Members of #465

We have been approached by the Social Action Committee of Durham (Violence Against Women) asking if we could support them this year. This was presented initially to me by Councilor Saunders, and has only come about very recently.
Although this is last minute, the executive feels this is most definitely a worthy cause and I have responded to their steering committee advising that we would take part.
The following are dates that are pertinent, November 15th is Wear Purple Day, November 18th is #PutaNailInIt Day and November 25th is #PainttheTownPurpleNight.

For the members that are working on the 15th (1A and Day staff) I sent out emails to your city account Saturday night when this was all finalized asking for your support in wearing anything purple, Suppression are not to wear anything around their neck that may present a H&S risk. If you choose to wear a shirt, the Executive and the Chief ask that they be respectful, tasteful and non offensive.

On November 18th the executive will be putting the challenge out to the rest of the membership and ask that all participate to paint their ring finger nail purple. This is to initiate conversations when asked by family, friends and anyone you may come in contact with as to why your fingernail is painted purple. Our hope is obviously a successful campaign so that next year we can throw the challenge out to other Fire Dept. in Durham Region as well as Police and EMS.

The Media may be coming around to the stations for pictures but is unknown at this time. Please take pictures of your crews or fellow members wearing purple so that we can post in Support of this worthy Cause.

Thank You to all for your support and participation,

Rod Thwaites

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2016/2017 Association Meeting Dates

September 13, 2016
October 11, 2016
November 8, 2016
December 13, 2016
January 10, 2017
February 14, 2017
March 14, 2017
April 11, 2017
May 9, 2017
June 20, 2017 (moved to the 3rd Tuesday due to OPFFA Convention)

Location: Woodview Community Centre
151 Cadillac Ave. North
Time: 7:30 pm

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I'd like to thank Mississauga Professional Firefighters Association for allowing us to share this with you.


If You Don't Mind Listening 

This narrative is based on a compilation of true stories taken from firefighter experiences. I'd like to add some of my own and dedicate it to the four D Shift firefighters that were injured at the Thamesgate fire in Malton, April 23, 2014. I'd like to include the fellow firefighters on scene who acted so quickly and bravely to overcome severe conditions and get their brothers to safety. I'd also like to acknowledge our Association Executive members who were on the ground immediately. Their rapid and professional response to Thamesgate was very comprehensive and highly appreciated by all those in attendance.

I have been a firefighter for 32 yrs. I'll retire this year. People ask me what its like to be a firefighter and most of the time I play it down or make a joke. To those who persist I have no trouble telling the stories which have made up some of my career experiences.
I’d like people to understand the thoughts that race through my mind as I respond to a call. Is this a false alarm or a working fire? Is it a minor incident or life threatening? How is the building constructed? What hazards might be inside the building? Is anyone trapped inside?
I’d like people to consider the unique smell of burning insulation, the taste of soot-filled mucus, the feeling of intense heat through your turnout gear, the sound of flames crackling or the eeriness of being able to see absolutely nothing in dense smoke and knowing that someone is in there and still needs you to find them.
I’d like people to comprehend a wife's horror at 6 a.m. in the morning as I check her husband of 40 years for a pulse and find none. Start CPR anyway, hoping to bring him back, knowing intuitively that it's too late but wanting his wife and family to know everything possible was done to try and save his life.
I’d like people to see the emergency room as a doctor pronounces dead, a beautiful child that we’ve been trying to save for the last hour, knowing they’ll never go on their first date or say the words "I love you too Mom," ever again.
I’d like people to know my thoughts as I try to extricate a person from the remains of an automobile. What if this was my daughter, my sister, my wife or my friend? How will her parents comprehend the overwhelming grief when they find out later that day their loved one won't be coming home again?
I'd like people to know the panic and surreal moment it takes to look past the heat and choking smoke as you desperately dig into the rubble of a collapsed wall to find a firefighter, a friend, who was just talking to you moments before.
I wish people could know how it feels to walk in the back door and greet your family not having the heart to tell them I nearly didn’t come home from work today.
Sometimes I’d like people to know what we do then maybe they’d understand that look in our eyes and know we just need to sit and breathe on our own sometimes... but never wanting them to leave the room.
I’d like to tell you what the feeling is like when you sit with an injured person knowing your eyes will be the last eyes they ever see. To have someone tugging at your arm and asking, “is he going to be ok?” or to hold back a life time friend who watches his buddy receiving CPR as they load him into the ambulance. What do you say to them? What do you want to say to them? What can you say to them?
I wish people could realize the physical, emotional and mental drain of lost sleep, missed meals, missed holidays, missed family celebrations and missed social activities because an emergency response work schedule requires me to work all days of the year.
I’d like to tell you about attending another funeral for another firefighter, another friend who has died far too early in life from occupational diseases like brain cancer or kidney cancer or esophageal cancer. Firefighters who worked thirty years to get a full pension then didn’t live thirty months to enjoy it.
I wish people could know the self satisfaction of helping save a life or save a house or just able to help someone in their time of worst need while creating order from total chaos.
I have always enjoyed being a participant in my life, not a spectator, so I am proud of the work I do and the people I do it with.
Some of my greatest memories have been sitting with a group of firefighters after a good working fire and melting into another round of stories and pints to wash them all down. Good men and women. Strong men and women. Caring men and women. Not so surprising, fun loving men and women. 
Unless you have lived this kind of life, people may never truly understand or appreciate what firefighters do and what our job really means to us. I wish people could though.
So I don’t mind talking about it, if you don’t mind listening to it.
Here’s to firefighters, everywhere. Active, retired, professional or volunteer........... Cheers!
Captain Marty McNally
Mississauga Fire Fighters Association Local 1212


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Oshawa’s fire fighters are valued in our community

Because it does matter… to us


Oshawa, ON – A mangled car wreck. A heart-stopping medical event. A collapsed construction site. A downed power line. A toxic spill. We never know when it’s our turn to face these or other life-threatening situations. That’s why every second always counts.

It’s why people in Oshawa believe in fire fighters’ tremendous value to our community. Fire fighters take on an immense responsibility – the protection of our lives, our health, our businesses and our personal property.

Fire fighters’ value doesn’t just start and end when there’s a crisis. Each day, fire fighters are hard at work preventing emergencies from happening to us, improving our community, and sharpening their skills so they can continue to act when our lives and property are at risk.

Here in Oshawa, we’ve experienced, first-hand, the benefits that fire fighters bring. Whether it’s a fire at the Diamonds Grill Restaurant, a fire at McAsphalt, a high angle rescue, a medical call or train derailment….Oshawa’s fire fighters are always there to help.

“Every day, the citizens of Oshawa thank fire fighters for putting everything on the line for our community,” says Steve Barkwell, President, Oshawa Professional Firefighters Association. “They tell us that they need fire fighters, because it does matter to them.”

Oshawa’s fire fighters:

·         Do more than run into burning buildings. They respond within minutes to medical emergencies, motor vehicle collisions, construction accidents, hazardous material spills, damaged high-voltage power lines, swimming pool and boating rescue situations and so much more.

·         Make our homes, businesses and communities safer. They inspect our buildings, remind us to use home appliances safely, show us how life-safety equipment works, and teach us to plan for escape routes.

·         Improve our community. They teach children and the public how to stay safe, raise money with boot drives, and lend a hand to many important community causes. Whether it’s raising over $50,000.00 for Lakeridge Health, $15,000.00 for Camp Bucko or many of the other local charities, the firefighters always give back.

·         Willingly risk their immediate safety and their long-term health and well-being to protect us. Their families stand behind them every step of the way, all the while knowing the risks and accepting the sacrifices.

·         Regularly sharpen their critical decision-making abilities as their jobs become more complex. When they aren’t at the site of an emergency, fire fighters participate in vital education and training, and they maintain the equipment that keeps us safe.

·         A full-time fire fighter works 42 hours per week. And when every second counts, fire fighters stay sharp and are there for you 24 hours per day.

For more information, contact:

Peter Dyson, President

Oshawa Professional Firefighters Assoc.

E-mail: President@iaff465.com


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Firefighters: Valued in Our Community

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