Firefighters Without Borders believes in sustainability and we achieve that goal in several ways. As each project is specific to the needs of the community, we work closely with the team on the ground to build a strategic plan addressing the communities needs and goals, be it training, equipment or a mix of both. We ensure that all equipment donated for the project is safe and in good working order, and that they have the means to ensure it remains that way once we leave. Our courses are all taught to a recognized industry standard, in a train the trainer format, to ensure they have lasting impact and can be extended out past the immediate group to a much broader team of firefighters. Finally, we provide ongoing teaching and technical support between visits and after the project is technically complete. We’re here for our firefighter brothers and sisters when they need us to ensure they can continue to protect their community.
The tragedy of September 11, 2001 devastated firefighters across North America including the crew of Station 114 in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. The five-member “A” shift wanted to commemorate the victims of 9/11, so the firefighters decided to sponsor a child. During a subsequent visit to World Vision’s headquarters, they pored over photographs of 10 children. These men, who constantly make life or death judgements, couldn’t decide which child to help. Finally, firefighter Kevin Bailey, 34, broke the stalemate, choosing a boy from Indonesia. Sadly, Kevin died two weeks later in an off-duty rock climbing accident. “Kevin was a firefighter with a passion for life and a love of humanity,” said the crew’s captain, Alan Hills. “In lieu of flowers at his funeral, his friends and family were asked to make a donation to World Vision. We started thinking how we could honour Kevin’s memory and get even more involved as a crew.” The men contacted World Vision and learned about Ventanilla, Peru, a poor district where a fire had recently left 604 people homeless. The crew felt an immediate connection.Read More
They wanted to help the local volunteer fire brigade to better cope with such disasters. Together, the crew members — Captain Hills, Tom Gojak, Andrew Melville, Aron Reppington, and Jamie Stark — decided to travel to Ventanilla on their own time and at their own expense with World Vision’s Destination Life Change (DLC) volunteer program. Before their trip, the men approached other fire stations and local corporations for donations of equipment, which the Peruvian firefighters desperately needed. They collected firefighting gear, Spanish training manuals, and rescue equipment, including a manual version of the Jaws of Life. “We come from a full-time department with an annual budget of millions of dollars, the latest high-tech equipment, vehicles, and personal protective gear,” says Captain Hills. “The Ventanilla bomberos (firefighters) receive some funding from the National Fire Service of Peru, but they rely on local fundraising to make ends meet.”
The trip ignited a partnership. Their counterparts in Ventanilla were thankful for the training and for the Canadians’ generosity. “This was our first experience in receiving brother firefighters from overseas,” says Captain Raul Thais. “We didn’t expect to receive so much equipment, but we are really grateful because it was needed for so long.” On their last day together, all the firefighters signed an “Act of Brotherhood,” committing to work together for their communities’ safety. Kevin Bailey would be proud of all they accomplished together. Kevin Bailey was one firefighter with a dream for a strong organization which reaches out whenever there is a need. Today, Firefighters Without Borders continues to honour Kevin by reaching out to communities in Canada and around the world.
2001 – In memory of the tragedy of September 11th, Mississauga Fire Station 114, “A” shift, decide to commemorate the victims by sponsoring a child through World Vision. Firefighter Kevin Bailey was part of that team.
2002 – Tragically Kevin Bailey died in a tragic rock climbing accident in February in New York state. In lieu of flowers at his funeral, his friends and family were asked to make a donation to World Vision. This started the team thinking how they could honour Kevin’s memory and get even more involved where firefighting services are needed.
2002 – Firefighters Without Borders is founded, bringing equipment and training in the first of two missions to Ventinilla, Peru where 604 families had recently lost their homes to fire. In partnership with World Vision Canada, Firefighters Without Borders provided training and equipment in fire suppression and medical response.
2004 – A second mission to Ventinilla, Peru takes place conducting courses in First Aid, CPR, Hazardous Materials and Vehicle Extrication. A heavy vehicle mechanic accompanies the mission to teach pumper operations and vehicle maintenance
2009 -The first in a series of six missions to Honduras in partnership with World Vision and the Honduran National Fire Service. Following Firefighters Without Borders model of sustainability trainers were trained in CPR, First Aid and provided techniques of instruction for Adult Learners. These trainers from Tegucigalpa, El Progresso and Yorrow spread this valuable training throughout fire services across the country
2010 – The next in our series of sustainable training was in vehicle extrication, delivered to a core group of 35 Honduran Firefighter trainers. Vehicle rescue equipment is also provided to support the program.
2010 – We returned to Yojoa, Honduras to conduct a Hazardous Materials Awareness session empowering Honduran Fire Service trainers to replicate the training on a national level.
2011 – We returned to Valle De Angeles, Honduras to conduct a Hazardous Materials Awareness session in the Spring and again in the Fall to teach breathing apparatus operations and maintenance as well as vehicle extraction techniques in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
2012 – Continuing to equip tomorrow’s heros, Firefighters Without Borders conducted public education sessions on fire prevention for children as well as conducting our first Fire Service Extrication Competition in partnership with the Honduran Fire Service.
Russell Chalmers served as Platoon Chief for the Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services, having served in both the Training and Operations Divisions. He was directly responsible for the development and oversight of department wide programs in Hazardous Materials response, Auto Extrication and Incident Command. He was also a Program Coordinator in the Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training Program at Seneca College in Toronto. Prior to his Firefighting career, he was a Police Officer with Peel Regional Police Service. Russell has completed an Advanced Certificate in Public Administration from Ryerson University in Toronto, and has received numerous certificates from the Ontario Fire College and Ontario Police College. Russell has been a volunteer with Firefighters Without Borders since 2004 and has travelled in eight deployments to Honduras and Peru.
Craig Dockeray has been a firefighter for over 22 years and currently holds the rank of Captain for the Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services. Originally from Montreal, Craig has a Bachelor and Master Degrees in Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering from McGill University. He has been a Board member for Firefighters Without Borders since 2004 and has been involved with multiple International training and equipment delivery projects.
Rebecca Chalmers is an experienced HR leader and is President of RLC Consulting – HR Solutions, Inc. a company providing consultative services in the areas of Human Resources and Board Governance. Rebecca has held senior HR leadership roles in a broad spectrum of industries including healthcare, retail, manufacturing and food service – both in the public and private sectors. Prior companies include: CML HealthCare, Shoppers Drug Mart, Laura Secord, Ontario Telemedicine Network and Cara Operations Ltd. She holds her Canadian Human Resources Leader Designation (CHRL), an MBA from Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC and a Bachelors of Education from the University of Alberta. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Information Markham & Volunteer Services and is a Volunteer Advisor with the Canadian Executive Services Organization (CESO).
Fredda is a CPA, CMA and holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta. In
2014 she retired from her position as an accounting manager in a publicly held fully-owned
subsidiary of Finning Canada, part of Caterpillar’s largest dealer network, to volunteer in the non-profit environment locally and abroad. She is currently Treasurer and Board member of ACGC (Alberta Council for Global Cooperation), a founding member of CRA registered charity Nafasi Opportunity Society, a recent CUSO volunteer in Myanmar, and an active volunteer with CESO (Canadian Executive Service Organization).
Darius Kharazmi is currently a firefighter with Pickering Fire Services and serves on the Executive Committee of the Pickering Professional Firefighter’s Association. He graduated with Honours from Seneca College in the Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training Program in 2012. While he was at Seneca, Darius was the President of the Pre-Service Firefighter’s Volunteer Committee. He has won both national and provincial volunteer awards in recognition of his volunteer work with thirteen organizations including Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity and the Durham Regional Critical Incident Stress Management Team. He has been a volunteer with Firefighters Without Borders since 2011.
Mathieu Pierre Dagonas is the Director of Government Relations and Philanthropy for Youth Fusion. Mathieu has 15 years of political affairs experience, which includes diverse experience in senior provincial government roles. In 2011, Mathieu led the team that won Mike Crawley the position of LPC President as National Campaign Manager. Mat has served on many boards, owns his own consulting company, and is a passionate advocate for youth engagement, activism & mentorship. Mathieu is a passionate volunteer, family man and sports fan. He completed his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Economics at the University of Toronto. Mathieu is a proud resident of Ajax, Ontario where he lives with his wife and young son.
Rae Ravani is a solicitor with a broad practice in real estate law, corporate law and wills and estates. Rae holds a law degree from the University of Windsor, where she spent a summer working as a law student at the Chatham-Kent Fire Department. Prior to her career in law, she obtained an Honours B.A. from McMaster University and a Masters in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario. She joined Firefighters Without Borders in 2017.
Camille Krupa has held senior marketing positions leading tier one organizations in branding, communications, promotions, product management, media relations, communications, social media and digital. She has experience in consumer goods, quick service restaurants, retail, energy and not for profit. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Ryerson University with a certificate in Marketing Strategy from Cornell University and was awarded the President’s Award for new product growth at YUM Brands. Prior companies include: Superior Propane, UNICEF Canada, Canadian MedicAlert Foundation, YUM Restaurants (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell), Laura Secord, Seagram and The Body Shop UK. She has been a volunteer with Firefighters Without Borders since 2015.
Advisory Board Members
Tim Beckett is Fire Chief for the City of Mississauga Fire & Emergency Service where he manages the overall strategic, financial and day to day operations of the department.
With 29 years of fire service experience, Tim has served as Fire Chief in Kitchener and City of Whitchurch-Stouffville prior to coming to Mississauga. He is also past President of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (2010-2012), and has served on the board of directors for 9 years in many capacities.
Andrew Boyce is currently a firefighter with Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services. In 2013, he graduated with honours from Seneca College in the Pre-Service Firefighter Program after completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo. While at Seneca, Andrew was involved with various volunteering initiatives including being a peer mentor, and a leader on the Volunteer Committee. In Spring of 2013 he and fellow classmate Andrea Bondi planned and carried out an educational visit to Nibinamik First Nation to teach the students about fire safety and fire prevention and offer the adults a workshop on fire safety in the home. Now at Mississauga Fire, Andrew is a medical Shift Training Instructor and in his free time as volunteer with Firefighters Without Borders is planning to help continue his ambition of bringing fire safety education to remote First Nations Communities in Canada.
Andrea Bondi has been a firefighter with Markham Fire and Emergency Services since 2014. She completed Seneca College’s Pre-Service Firefighter Program with Honours in 2013 after deciding to change her career. Andrea completed her undergraduate degree and degree in education at The University of Western Ontario and spent three years as a teacher before focusing on her goal of becoming a firefighter; one of those years spent teaching in a remote First Nations community. During her time at Seneca, Andrea and fellow classmate Andrew Boyce carried out an educational visit to Nibinamik First Nation to teach the students about fire safety and fire prevention and offer the adults a workshop on fire safety in the home. At Markham Fire, Andrea volunteers as part of the Night of Honour committee honouring retired firefighters. In her free time, with her knowledge as a firefighter, her experience in First Nations Communities, and her background as a teacher, Andrea is looking forward to helping Firefighters Without Borders plan and perform their first initiatives in First Nations Communities across the country.