Who We Are

‘It’s not what happens. It’s what you do that makes the difference’. – Jim Rohn

The Fire Prevention Officers’ Association of British Columbia is an organization dedicated to the prevention of fire and the reduction of its impact on the population and economy of B.C.

This is accomplished through the following means:

  • Public education program development
  • Professional training and education for our membership
  • Active participation in the development of fire, life safety, and building codes
  • Involvement in provincial and nation-wide fire prevention associations and programs
  • Dissemination of information and exchange of ideas through meetings, seminars, and website forums
  • Problem-solving through the peer support network
  • Consensus building among AHJ’s regarding code development, enforcement, and interpretation
  • Promotion of professional relationships within the Fire Prevention Officer’s Association and other stakeholder groups, such as but not limited to: Volunteer and Professional Fire Chief and Fire Fighter organizations, Office of the Fire Commissioner, Public Fire Educators, Insurance industry, Building Officials, Community Colleges, Universities and Institutions, and the RCMP

The Objectives and Purposes of the Fire Prevention Officers’ Association of BC “Unite, for mutual benefit, those public officials engaged primarily in the prevention of fire or the investigation of fire, or both. Assemble its members for discussion and exchange of information concerning laws, codes, regulations, inspections, and education related to the cause, prevention, and spread of fire and to the escape from fire. Promote and develop ways and means for improving all matters concerning the preservation of life and the protection of property from fire. Promote a high professional standing of its members. Create a fraternal feeling and to foster good spirit of friendship among its members.”

Where did it all begin?

The FPOABC inaugural meeting was held on January 22, 1969, in the City of North Vancouver. Fire Prevention Officers, representing ten lower mainland communities, met for the purpose of forming an association. The Association took shape, formed by a constitution and set of association by-laws, which established the first executive committee.

The Association’s initial objectives were to unite, for mutual benefit, those public officials who are engaged primarily in the prevention of fire or the investigation of fires, or both. The Association would act as a central agency for the exchange of professional information among its members and would assist fire inspectors in the conduct of their fire prevention activities. The future goal of the first Executive was to direct efforts towards educating the public in fire safety with the major aim being the reduction of fire waste, which occurs on a daily basis in the province.

In 1969, only ten lower mainland communities were represented in the association. It was the intention of the first Executive to contact all other Fire Prevention Officers in the Province and invite them to participate. It was expected that a monthly newsletter would be prepared and distributed to all members throughout the Province. Such a newsletter will serve to keep all in close contact with the current events of the group.

Where are we now?

FPOABC represents members from over 125 fire departments throughout the Province & Alberta. As “fire prevention” is everyone’s job, membership is not limited to those designated as fire inspectors, or fire prevention officers. Included, are fire chiefs, firefighters, training officers, etc. Membership has expanded to include 35 associate members from the industry, including consulting engineers, insurance underwriters, fire protection equipment service technicians, building officials, ULC, ULI, and Fire related Public Education distributors, and others.

There is a global trend towards developing life safety codes, which reflect certain objectives or levels of building performance. As key stakeholders in the protection of life and property, the FPOABC maintains a strong presence on the Building and Fire Code development and review committees in the province.

The codes are typically of “black and white” situational content. The reality of the world shows that the colors are actually many shades of gray, requiring significant experience and analytical ability to ensure compliance. Our involvement in code development will serve a number of purposes, by ensuring that:

The united voice of those involved in the prevention of fire is heard by senior governing bodies.

  • The content of codes and standards is practical, enforceable, and manageable
  • Training and critical information are made available

The structure of the FPOABC allows the individual member an opportunity to voice fire safety opinions and concerns through a vast network of individuals, either by Committee representation, an internet discussion forum, and direct email contact with peers.

Our Association Structure and Committees.

An Executive Committee consisting of a President, Past-President, 1st, 2nd & 3rd Vice-President, an Administrative Assistant represents the Association. Zone Directors, representing Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland, Southern Interior/Okanagan, Northern Region, Kootenay area, and Alberta support the Executive.

Educational Value

Members enjoy the benefits of peer-to-peer learning and problem-solving by exchanging views, opinions, or interpretations, in a variety of ways, some of which include:

  • FPOABC Website
  • Zone Educational Forums
  • Annual Education Seminars Special Educational Forums
  • more coming…!

FPOABC Website

Both effective and efficient, the FPOABC website offers rapid exchange of information if you have a problem, or are merely offering information for the benefit of the members. The website provides discussion forums, notices of educational opportunities throughout the Province, interpretations of technical merit, advances in fire prevention, public education or investigation of fires, checklists, programs of interest, etc.

Educational Forums and Seminars

The FPOABC strives to keep its members well informed and current in trends associated with fire prevention, public education programs and resources, and fire investigations. These forums are held monthly in certain zones or regions as requested/organized by the zone members and as a formal annual working seminar hosted by various fire departments throughout the Province. The annual educational seminar and association annual general meeting provide top quality speakers from across the continent, in a 4-day package.

Where are we going now?

It’s fairly easy to crank out codes and standards of performance and human behavior in relation to textbook fire-safety situations. Are those codes and standards realistic to enforce and maintain? Are those same codes and standards within the realistic expectations and comprehension of those appointed or responsible for enforcement? Where do you go for help when things are fuzzy or not quite black and white situations?

The FPOABC is recognized as a caring leader and innovator in promoting fire and life safety concepts within the Province. The FPOABC is committed to be front and centre in the development and delivery of achievable, manageable and realistic training for its members and the Province.

The FPOABC is working on the development of further accredited courses that will be offered to its members at the best value and highest standard in training in different categories or levels. As each community differs in a number of ways (e.g. geographic, volunteer/composite/paid, manpower and fire fighting equipment resources, technical needs, etc.) the certification development will be suitable, practical and realistic to the specific needs of the members.

There is so much to say about being a member of the FPOABC! I sincerely invite you to join, participate and learn within the Association. If we were not all concerned with the protection of life and property within this amazing province, we would not be here.

Please feel free to contact us at any time at admin@fpoa.bc.ca 

Marco D’Agostino
President FPOABC

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