Leadership in Action

By Graham Pawlett, President, CVFSA

Last year, we embarked on a major change for the CVFSA. After holding our AGM in Ottawa for nine consecutive years, we made two major changes.

First, we took the event on the road to Wolfville, Nova Scotia and were generously hosted by the Kings County Firefighter Assocation. Second, we expanded the event so that it was not simply our AGM, but a full conference. Without a doubt it was an absolutely success.

This year, we continued that practice and were hosted in Slave Lake, Alberta by the Lesser Slave Regional Fire Service — also known as the stars of Discovery Channel’s ”Hellfire Heroes”.

They pulled out all the stops and, as a result, we saw close to 300 volunteer firefighters participate this year while about a dozen vendors put on displays at the Slave Lake fire hall. For two days, participants benefitted from HOT (Hands On Training) Sessions on a wide range of topics including:

In addition to the high-quality training, we had three guest speakers join us and share their thoughts, insights and experiences.

Over the course of the Conference and AGM, we were deeply honoured by the attendance and involvement of some very special guests.

First, I’d like to thank Air Canada for generously made it possible for some of the first responders from Humboldt to join us. As their story unfolded and the nation turned its eyes towards this community, we joined together to show our support for these important leaders.

We were also honoured to have with us as official guests of the CVFSA, representatives of the Japanese Firefighters Association. This senior delegation included Assistant Chief Hiroshi Fukuchi of the International Division Japan Firefighters Association, Ms. Okasawa, specialist from Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency, and Dr. Shinohara, Senior research scientist, Technical Official, of the Ministry of International Affairs and Communications.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the 300 participants who joined us, I would like to offer my thanks, respect, and gratitude to Chief Jamie Coutts and his team at Lesser Slave Regional Fire for the outstanding work they did to make this event such a success. It takes an extraordinary level of effort behind the scenes  coordinating training, travel, sponsors, prizes, schedules, shuttles, food, entertainment, etc. and this team did an excellent job.

Finally, a special thank to CVFSA Vice President Troy Mutch who contributed so much to the planning and successful execution of the 2018 conference. He was everywhere, and always available to provide guidance and direction.

This is perhaps the most important event for volunteer firefighters across Canada. Our commitment is to continue to work with you to make it as meaningful, relevant, and impactful as possible.