Who We Are:
The Alberta Professional Fire Fighters & Paramedics Association represents professional firefighters, paramedics, and dispatchers in 20 communities across Alberta and the North West Territories. Over 75 per cent of Alberta's population is served by professional firefighters.
The Alberta Professional Fire Fighters & Paramedics Association (APFFPA) is affiliated with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). Our locals, through the IAFF, are affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), and the American Federation of Labour-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).
We are Alberta's Professional firefighters working on the front lines serving our local communities and keeping the public safe.
What We Do:
Alberta’s Professional Fire Fighters mitigate all types of fires. From single and multi-family residential structures, to industrial complexes, schools, vehicles, and wild land fires, APFFPA members are on the frontlines serving their communities. The number of firefighters responding to a fire varies from one jurisdiction to the next and depends on the severity of the incident. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that 15 to 17 personnel respond to a single-family house fire, due to the many tasks and responsibilities that exist on an active fire scene.
AUTO EXTRICATION AND EQUIPMENT RESCUE
At times, firefighters are required to stabilize vehicle accident scenes and to plan an efficient and expedient rescue. When a few wasted seconds can cost lives, sometimes the Jaws of Life are utilized to remove victims from the crashed vehicle. These hydraulic tools are specially designed to remove patients from vehicles. Often the firefighter must ensure that the vehicle is stable so it does not shift during the rescue, which could endanger both those that are injured and the emergency personnel on scene. They help the injured by providing medical assistance – supporting their head and neck, and stabilizing any broken bones, dressing open wounds, etc. – before other medical assistance arrives.
From a child choking, to a person suffering a heart attack or a fall, firefighters in all jurisdictions provide life-saving medical care when someone is injured or experiencing a medical problem. Eight departments are fully EMS integrated and are the provider of Advanced Care Paramedic services for their communities.
HAZARDOUS MATERIALS RESPONSE
Firefighter teams are trained to handle material spills, leaks and fires. They include: natural and chlorine gas leaks, gasoline spills, fuel tankers, rail cars, boat and industrial accidents, in addition to chemical spills and radiation leaks.
Hazmat incidents are potentially one of the most dangerous and unpredictable types of calls firefighters can respond to. In fact, every call is a potential HazMat call. Each year thousands of firefighters are exposed to chemical and biological hazards in the performances of their duties.
Technical Rescue can be broken down into many different, but related, disciplines. Firefighters rely on many methods, such as rope rescues to remove patients from dangerous situations.
Firefighter also perform aquatic rescues. Open water, swift water, surface ice, and diving operations are the different types of aquatic rescue services that firefighters provide to their communities across Alberta.
IAFF Dispatchers provide professional call-taking and dispatching for 286 communities across Alberta. Operating from 6 Dispatch Centres (Red Deer, Lethbridge, Strathcona County, Grande Prairie, St. Albert and Fort McMurray). Most are based in professional IAFF Fire Halls, benefitting from fire specific training opportunities and education.
The Fire Prevention Bureaus across the province have certified Alberta Safety Codes Officers in accordance with the Alberta Safety Codes Council.
• Fire Inspection Services: Our members conduct routine inspections of commercial businesses, public buildings and multi-family residential occupancies. The inspections limit the risk to life and property loss by identifying conditions, which could contribute to the start and spread of smoke and fire.
• Fire Investigations: Fire investigators investigate every fire or explosion that results in property damage, injury, death, and arson to determine the origin, cause, and circumstances of the fire/explosion. Incident commanders will initiate the investigation immediately after the fire is brought under control. The results of the investigations are forwarded to the Provincial Fire Marshal for statistical purposes and possible amendments to safety codes.
• Public Education: Our members run many programs to connect with their communities and provide them with fire safety information so they can prevent fires from occurring, but also be prepared for when they do.
The IAFF is making sure our members are equipped and trained to safely and effectively respond to the challenges of wild land and urban interface fires. Increasingly, dangerous urban interface fires are raging across North America, becoming catastrophic with enormous loss of property and significant risk to human life. IAFF members are faced with a variety of extraordinary challenges that will only worsen if not addressed.