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Beyond Hoses and Helmets
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Strategy and Tactics of Leading a Volunteer or Composite Fire/Rescue Organization

The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) and the Ontario Fire Chiefs Associations  (OFCA) have been working in partnership with the Volunteer and Combination Officers Section (VCOS) of the International Association of Fire Chiefs to offer this two day course to provide chief officers who manage volunteers within the fire/rescue/delivery system with information, education, services and representation to enhance their professionalism and capabilities.

Designed and delivered by active fire chief officers from across Canada, the course is packed with practical hands-on fire department examples on how to provide leadership, how to recruit and retain firefighters (a critical issue for volunteer fire departments) how to run successful training programs, and how to build community support.


The Beyond Hoses and Helmets course focuses on five key areas of fire department operation:

·       Leadership

·       Training

·       Recruitment

·       Retention

·       Branding/Marketing

The modules are highly interactive with group assignments and presentations.  Students are left with many ideas and solutions that they can take home and use immediately.  The key areas covered in the course are critical to the operation of any fire department.


The course is delivered by two instructors, one from the host province (who understands local legislation and context) and the second fire chief is from another province.  This combination allows us to share best practices from across the country and to challenge the participants to improve their local fire department, in the process, improve public safety in the community.


The course is two days long and is usually run on a weekend.   In order to maximize the amount of discussion and interaction, the course is limited to 40 participants.


The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs has agreed to provide administrative support for the Beyond Hoses and Helmets Course.  If you are interested in hosting a course, please fill out the online course request form.  For additional course information and details, please send an email to

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