The Mattawa Fire Department is a volunteer fire department with approximately 20 members. Leadership includes the fire chief, deputy fire chief, and several captains.
The Mattawa Fire Department provides high quality, efficient and effective emergency response along with fire prevention and educational services to those who live in, work in, and visit the Town of Mattawa.
Our team provides response to fire calls as well as medical emergencies, accidents, ice water rescue, hazardous material emergencies and carbon monoxide and fire alarms. The Mattawa Fire Department also provides fire protection services to other municipalities as required through mutual aid activities.
The team regularly conducts fire safety inspections of all types of occupancies as defined by the Ontario Building Code under the provisions of the Ontario Fire Code/Fire Marshall’s Act. The team responds to and resolves citizen complaints and concerns regarding fire safety and is very active in public education. As part of the public education program, training sessions are conducted at health care facilities, senior housing complexes and schools. Training sessions include proper use of fire extinguishers, fire evacuation and other fire safety issues. We are very proud of the end results being a reduced number of serious incidents and injuries due to fire.
Volunteer training is coordinated by the training officer. The fire fighter training program ensures that fire fighters develop and maintain the knowledge and skills necessary to operate equipment, perform fire fighting, rescue, hazardous materials operations and respond to medical aid calls. Fire fighters also receive specialized training in advanced first aid and defibrillation.
There are 656 fire departments in the province of Ontario. A total of 522 (80%) of these departments are staffed exclusively by volunteers, while only 34 departments are staffed by full-time, paid personnel. In the remaining 100 departments staff is a composite of full time and volunteer firefighters. There are 17,000 volunteers and 900 full time firefighters in the Ontario Fire Service. As a note, most volunteers do receive a small monetary compensation for being a firefighter.
The first organized firefighting recorded occurred in ancient Rome, but it was not until the middle ages that the buckets were finally put away in favour of hand fire engines using large syringes. Insurance companies began to operate their own brigades but these brigades were only allowed to fight fires involving the property of insured customers of the company operating the brigade. In 1865, the control of firefighting passed into the hands of the local Municipalities and new methods and technologies rapidly contributed to its effectiveness. Today, the design of equipment, breathing apparatus, vehicles, and training is very sophisticated making the job easier and safer. An innovation such as radio communication has made major changes in attack strategies.
Firefighting is both an art and a science and is best accomplished by safe, disciplined teams with special training and equipment directed by officers and captains while utilizing procedures gained through study and experience.