The risk of fire is one of the greatest threats to health and safety, property and the delivery of essential services in any community. The loss of life or property, as a result of fire, is a tragedy. Industry, government, and indeed everyone, share in the responsibility of protecting Canadians from the consequences of fire.
The Government of Canada is committed to working with First Nations and partners to ensure the safety and well-being of First Nation communities.
Education and awareness on how to prevent fires is key, as many fires are preventable. Everyone must take steps to protect themselves by learning about how to prevent home fires and taking action. This way, fires can be stopped before they even get started!
Along with working with First Nation partners to increase awareness of fire prevention strategies, AANDC also supports First Nations so that communities can have the fire equipment needed to respond to emergencies.
In 2010-2011, AANDC provided approximately $28 million to First Nations on reserve for fire protection services, which include funding for fire halls, fire trucks, training and operation and maintenance of assets. First Nations manage fire protection services on reserve using their core capital allocation, which they prioritize to meet the needs of the community.
In addition, AANDC provides approximately $200,000 annually to the Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada (AFAC), to support a number of fire prevention activities, including the National Fire Safety Poster Contest for school-age children and the National Aboriginal Firefighters Competition.
AANDC is working collaboratively with our partners to improve fire protection.
AANDC is implementing a collaborative First Nations Fire Protection Strategy in partnership with the following stakeholders and experts: the Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada , regional firefighters associations, First Nation regional organizations and other government departments.
The First Nations Fire Protection Strategy focuses on fire protection in on-reserve communities and encourages collaboration between First Nation populations and national and regional firefighters associations while promoting the development of municipal service agreements between on and off-reserve communities.
Activities under this strategy include:
The initial short-term phase of the strategy (2010 to 2012) is focused on enhancements to fire safety education and awareness, improvements to the inspection process and a review of existing service standards.
The National Fire Poster Contest is an annual event sponsored by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and is coordinated by the Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada. For more information about the National Fire Poster Contest, please visit the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corp. website.
The First Nations Fire Protection Strategy emphasizes the need to strengthen educational awareness and training on reserve. AANDC sponsors the Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada to coordinate the annual National Aboriginal Firefighters Competition.
Teams of fire fighters from First Nation communities across Canada qualify for the competition through the regional competitions coordinated by AANDC regional offices.
The National Competition provides an opportunity to qualifying teams from British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Nunavut and the Atlantic region. Teams compete in a series of challenges ranging from rolling hoses, fast coupling drills and replacing a burst length, with achievements recognized at an awards ceremony. Participants also attend training seminars and networking events.
The National Aboriginal Nations Firefighters Competition provides an important opportunity for training, capacity building and skills development, while enhancing governance and raising awareness about fire protection and safety.
For more information about the National Aboriginal Firefighters Competition, please visit the Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada website.