Tonight SaultOnline.com published a letter entitled “Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs takes exception to OPFFA President Hyndman.”
The letter was a response to Hyndman’s comments earlier this week in the name of the Ontario Professional Firefighters Association, which was addressed to the citizens of Sault Ste. Marie where he was disturbed by Sault Fire Chief Mike Figliola’s now famous comments in closed-council that “after 2 minutes no one is getting in and no one is getting out…rescue is almost nonexistent… death has already occurred.”
Frankly, it took about 20 minutes for SaultOnline.com to get a call from the OPFFA because they were deeply troubled with what the Fire Chiefs had to say and are worried about the residents of Sault Ste. Marie as well as the firefighters.
OPFFA president Hyndman (pictured) looked at the letter very closely and said “there’s a lot of words here but unfortunately they are not actually saying anything.”
Hyndman referred to the famous quote of the fire chief Figliola and would like to pose a simple question to the Urban Chiefs that make up the OAFC and that is “do you agree and support that after two minutes rescue is almost non-existent, death has already occurred.”
The discussion was quite frank and open about many things the fire chiefs had to say and about a meeting that Hyndman had with Figliola and the director of Human Resources back on December 11th, 2015.
Now this was two months after the chief made his famous comments in closed-council that was investigated by the Ontario Ombudsman.
At that December 11th meeting Hyndman was representing the International Association of Firefighters with Peter Osterberg of the Ontario Professional Firefighters Association and members of the Sault Ste. Marie Professional Firefighters Association.
Hyndman and Osterberg specifically discussed the three lines of defence, what plan the department had put forward to communicate that rescue could not occur under the new staffing levels, a comprehensive risk assessment, what the department had done to reduce the risk in the community to correspond with the reduction in staff, and public information among other things. At the end of these questions and prior to reconvening the meeting after a lunch break, Figliola and Peter Niro asked Hyndman and Osterberg not to return.
“We were extremely disappointed in the direction of the administration,” Hyndman said, “in my opinion, the administration had no interest in evidence based discussions, their conclusions were already drawn.”
Now, Hyndman is deeply concerned at the “lack of objective thought,” by the fire chiefs association letter.
“At the end of the day, this is about the safety of the firefighters and the citizens,” he said, “the OAFC is talking about Office of the Fire Marshal directives on the three lines of defense that any visit to their website will clearly show that they are under review.”
Hyndman challenged the OAFCs position on his understanding of the three lines of defense by saying, “I graduated the Public Fire and Life Safety Educator program from the Ontario Fire College, I spent almost 5 years in my home community as a Public Educator for my Fire Service and I have developed, implemented and delivered numerous public education programs to a wide demographic of my community.”
Hyndman is concerned that the OAFC is now promoting a risk assessment, which is what former Fire Marshal Pat Burke was saying was needed but the decision makers in the Sault declined.
It was also only a few days ago that Sault mayor Christian Provenzano also declined to comment on the current OPFFA stance.
Hyndman also questioned the OAFCs position on NIST and NFPA, “NFPA standards are used across the spectrum of fire protection, whether it be bunker boots, fire extinguishers or kitchen hood systems. For anyone to take the position that all of these standards are the industry best practice but, for a reason they fail to explain, the standard on staffing is not, is disingenuous at best.”