About FIREWELL

The Firefighter Injury/illness Remediation Enterprise: Work-participation that Enables Life & Livelihood program is a collaborative work-health research program established in 2006.

FIREWELL is a national team of firefighters (full-time, part-time, volunteer), researchers and people interested in firefighter health who are working together to improve firefighters’ health and safety through research. Our goal is to develop and share tools that can be helpful in supporting healthy work participation specifically for firefighters.


Firefighter Collaborators

Firefighters involved in FIREWELL have various roles including: helping set the research direction; working together with researchers to define the research questions important to firefighters; designing study methods; executing the study protocol; and implementing the research findings in the fire service.

Mr. Robert D’Amico Lead Firefighter Researcher

Mr. Robert D’Amico is a Captain with the Hamilton Fire Department and the Secretary of the Hamilton Professional Firefighters Association. As a champion of firefighter research, he has played an integral role in the development and operationalization of research projects. Mr. D’Amico ensures that the tools developed from research findings are relevant to firefighters.

Mr. Regan Bolduc

Mr. Regan Bolduc is a Professional Firefighter with Thunder Bay Fire Rescue and a member of the Thunder Bay Professional Fire Fighters Association (IAFF, Local 193). He is Co-Chair of the Department’s Critical Incident Response Team, as well as a “Road to Mental Readiness” and Auto Extrication Instructor. Mr. Bolduc is working with Dr. Kathryn Sinden (Lakehead University) to identify the impact of firefighting on Thunder Bay Firefighters’ work health.

Mr. Steve Fraser

Mr. Steve Fraser is an Acting Captain of Occupational Health and Safety with Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services (VF&RS) and the coordinator for VF&RS critical incident stress management team. With 20+ years of experience in the fire service, he has taken his knowledge and expertise in the field and applied it to firefighter-specific programs, training and education. Mr. Fraser is the co-author of the Resilient Minds program, an approved instructor for the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation and a certified Field Traumatologist with the Canadian Traumatology Institute.

Chief John Hay

Chief John Hay of the Thunder Bay Fire Rescue oversees the deployment of over 200 firefighters to support the City of Thunder Bay and surrounding areas. Chief Hay has extensive knowledge and experience in firefighting, health and safety, implementation of training in the local fire service, and fire service operations across Canada and North America. Chief Hay will champion FIREWELL research with the Thunder Bay Professional Firefighters Association.

Ms. Louise Hine-Schmidt

Ms. Louise Hine-Schmidt was one of the first female firefighters in the City of Ottawa. She is currently an Acting Lieutenant with the Ottawa Fire Services and President of the Fire Service Women Ontario (FSWO). Ms. Hine-Schmidt co-founded FSWO to help promote the career of firefighting to other women.

Chief Ken McMullen

Chief Ken McMullen is the Fire Chief of the Red Deer Fire Department. Mr. McMullen is a Board Member and Lead on Mental Health with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC). He also represents CAFC on the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) steering committees.

Mr. Chris Ross

Mr. Chris Ross is a Lieutenant with the Montreal Fire Department and new President of the Montreal Firefighters Association. During his years as the Association’s Vice-President (2011-2018), Mr. Ross managed the Montreal firefighters’ occupational health and safety issues. Mr. Ross also serves as Co-Chair of the Joint Workplace Health and Safety Committee and has applied his occupational health and safety expertise on other firefighter research projects.

Researcher Collaborators

Our national network of researchers have demonstrated expertise in conducting research in partnership with firefighters, as well as occupational health.

Dr. Joy MacDermid PT, PhD, Project Director

Dr. Joy MacDermid is a physical therapist, hand therapist and researcher. She is cross-appointed as a Professor in Rehabilitation Science at Western University and McMaster University. Upon request of the fire service in Hamilton, Dr. MacDermid established a collaborative research program focusing on firefighter health and work outcomes. This longstanding partnership with the Hamilton Firefighters has been sustained for 10 years. Dr. MacDermid holds the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Chair in Gender, Work, and Health and the Dr James Roth Chair in Musculoskeletal Measurement and Knowledge Translation.

Ms. Amanda Brazil PhD(c), MAEd

Ms. Amanda Brazil is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education at the University of Prince Edward Island (PEI) and a volunteer firefighter and medical first responder with the Cross Roads Fire Department (PEI). Her research areas include mental health and critical incidents, corrections and social justice. She recently published a descriptive study on critical incident exposure and post exposure management in the volunteer fire service. Ms. Brazil’s unique experience as a social scientist and volunteer firefighter gives her valuable insight into firefighters’ roles and responsibilities.

Ms. Robin Campbell BSW, MRM

Ms. Robin Campbell is a PhD student in the School of Occupational Therapy at Dalhousie University. Robin’s doctoral research will explore the mental health service planning and delivery systems for volunteer firefighters in Nova Scotia. Robin was a volunteer firefighter and pump operator with the Wolfville Fire Department (NS) for ten years, and currently volunteers as a Fire Commissioner with the Greenwich Fire Department (NS). Robin’s research interests include volunteer first responders and occupation health, mental health, and the criminalization of mental illness.

Dr. R. Nicholas Carleton PhD

Dr. Nicholas Carleton is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Regina. He is also currently serving as the Scientific Director for the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment. Dr. Carleton is actively involved in clinical and experimental research involving biopsychosocial measurement, assessment, and treatments of trauma, anxiety, and somatic disorders. Dr. Carleton also maintains a small private practice for military, first responders, and other public safety personnel who have anxiety and related disorders, particularly pain and posttraumatic stress.

Dr. Heather Carnahan PhD

Dr. Heather Carnahan has a Ph.D. in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo and is currently the Dean of the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation at Memorial University, and also holds a cross appointment at the Offshore Safety and Survival Centre at the Marine Institute. Her research involves applying current motor control and learning theory to studying the acquisition and retention of technical skills in various real life domains such as safety and survival skills associated with marine transport, aviation, zero gravity environments, and health care.

Dr. Heidi Cramm PhD, OT Reg. (Ont.)

Dr. Heidi Cramm is an Assistant Professor at the School of Rehabilitation Therapy in Queen’s University. She is also the Interim Co-Scientific Director of the Canadian Institute for Military & Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR), and the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) Chair for Firefighters. Dr. Cramm’s research focuses on military and Veteran family health, with an emphasis on mental health.

Dr. David Frost PhD

Dr. David Frost is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto.  Dr. Frost’s research interests include: sport, exercise and occupational biomechanics; musculoskeletal health and injury prevention; and firefighter wellness and fitness. Dr. Frost is involved in the International Association of Fire Fighters’ Wellness Fitness Initiative (WFI) and Peer Fitness Training Program for Firefighters.

Dr. Veronica Jamnik PhD

Dr. Veronica (Roni) Jamnik is an Associate Professor  and the Coordinator of the Fitness Specialization Stream in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science.  Dr. Jamnik’s current research has three different themes: i) establishing bona fide occupational physical plus physiological fitness screening and incumbent protocols for physically demanding occupations in conformity with court decisions and human rights requirements; ii) investigating the mechanisms underlying the heterogeneity in individual training adaptations resulting from the same training impulse; and iii)  evidence-based exercise prescriptions for the following chronic conditions:  Prediabetes, Type 2 Diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes, Creeping Obesity.

Ms. Jennifer Keir MSc

Ms. Jennifer Keir completed the first ever study to assess firefighters’ exposure to carcinogenic and mutagenic compounds during emergency fire events, which received worldwide media attention, in 2017. She is passionate about translating findings from in-field, scientific studies to the firefighting community so that they can improve and reinforce procedures that reduce firefighters exposures, ultimately reducing illness, disease and injury for their departments. Ms. Keir is currently a Research Technician in the Environmental Tracers and Contaminants at the University of Ottawa focusing on methods of dermal decontamination for firefighters.

Dr. Kathryn Sinden R.Kin., PhD

Dr. Kathryn Sinden is a Registered Kinesiologist and Assistant Professor in the School of Kinesiology at Lakehead University. Dr. Sinden’s research is focused on improving the health and well being of workers using a participatory, applied ergonomic approach with foundations in knowledge translation theory. She also is interested in furthering understanding of how occupational physical demands and physical capacity influence task performance strategies particularly with respect to mechanisms of muscle fatigue. Dr. Sinden also has 14 years of work experience as a kinesiologist in the field of disability management and ergonomics.

Susan Stock

Dr. Susan Stock MD, MSc, FRCPC

Dr. Susan Stock is a specialist in occupational medicine and in public health & preventive medicine and researcher at the Québec Institute of Public Health where she heads the Scientific Group on Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSD). She is also an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Montreal. Dr. Stock led the development of evidence-based guide and decision aid tools to assist workplaces implement modified work programs for workers with WMSD. Her expertise includes WMSD epidemiology and development and evaluation of preventive and rehabilitation interventions.

Healthcare Professionals Collaborators

Clinicians and disability management specialists involved in FIREWELL bring expertise in work accommodation.

Ahmed Negm

Dr. Ahmed Negm MD, MSc, PhD(c)

Dr. Ahmed Negm completed his medical training and orthopaedic surgery residency in Egypt. He completed the musculoskeletal screening of 150 firefighters in the original FIREWELL study. Dr. Negm is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University under the supervision of Dr. Lehana Thabane.

Dr. Mike Pysklywec MD, MSc, CCFP(EM) DOHS FCBOM

Dr. Mike Pysklywec is the physician for the Occupational Health and Exposure Program (OHEP) for Hamilton firefighters. He also works at the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) with broad experience in evaluating work-relatedness of musculoskeletal disorders, as well as conducting and evaluating surveillance and wellness programs in Ontario workplaces.

Liz Scott bio photo

Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Scott PhD

Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Scott is a researcher and Principal / CEO of Organizational Solutions Inc. (OSI), a national disability management company. Dr. Scott has expertise in developing workplace accommodations designed in response to individual worker and employer needs. Dr. Scott and her organization have worked with a local firefighting service to assist workers’ RTW following work-related and non-work-related injuries.

Trainees

Our academic trainees come from different disciplines and are involved in all aspects of FIREWELL research: project development, data collection, data analysis, stakeholder engagement, co-authorship of papers and presentations, and mentorship by program experts.

Current Trainees

NameYearDegreeUniversity / Supervisor
Goris Nazari2016-PhDPhysical Therapy, Western University
Supervisor: Dr. Joy MacDermid
Sara Sayed2017-MScKinesiology, Lakehead University
Supervisor: Dr. Kathryn Sinden
Shannon Killip2016-MScRehabilitation Science, McMaster University
Supervisor: Dr. Joy MacDermid
Temitope Osifeso2016-MScRehabilitation Science, McMaster University
Supervisor: Dr. Joy MacDermid

Past Trainees

Firefighter Partner Organizations

FIREWELL is a coast-to-coast partnership that represents diversity in types of fire services, genders, provinces, and rural/urban contexts. Firefighters across all levels in the fire services hierarchy–from front-line firefighters to chiefs–contribute to the development, implementation and evaluation of FIREWELL research.

Fire Service Women Ontario

Fire Service Women Ontario (FSWO) is a member-driven, not-for-profit organization committed to fostering a professional, skilled, harmonious, and diverse fire service. Our membership represents 246 individuals (female and male) in career and volunteer fire service roles, as well as fire service leaders, educators, municipal officials, fire management and associations. View website

Hamilton Fire Department

The Hamilton Fire Department is comprised of 548 full time and 270 volunteer firefighters and is responsible for providing Fire Protection Services to the City of Hamilton. Over the last 10 years, the Hamilton Fire Department has collaborated with FIREWELL researchers to identify contextually relevant research that can be immediately implemented to the benefit of their firefighters’ work health. View website

Hamilton Professional Fire Fighters Association

The Hamilton Professional Fire Fighters Association, IAFF L288 represents 535 men and women fire fighters who provide full-time fire protection in the City of Hamilton. HPFFA has a long history of working collaboratively with the management of the Hamilton Fire Department and FIREWELL researchers to create healthy and productive firefighters. View website

Montréal Firefighters Association (L’Association des Pompiers de Montréal)

The Montréal Firefighters Association, IAFF L125 represents over 2,400 firefighters working in 67 stations across Montréal. The Association is committed to protecting the health and wellbeing of Montréal firefighters. View website

Prince Edward Island Firefighters Association

The PEI Firefighters Association represents firefighters who are providing fire services across Prince Edward Island. The Association is dedicated to advancing the safety of fire services through training across the Island. View website

Thunder Bay Fire Rescue

The Thunder Bay Fire Rescue consists of 206 active duty firefighters dedicated to providing emergency response and fire protection services to the City of Thunder Bay, and by mutual agreement, the surrounding areas. Thunder Bay Fire Rescue has a long history of developing strategies to improve the health and safety of our firefighters. View website

Thunder Bay Professional Fire Fighters Association

The Thunder Bay Professional Fire Fighters Association, IAFF L193 proudly serves the 206 firefighters, fire prevention, training, administration and mechanical members of Thunder Bay Fire Rescue. TBPFFA is actively engaged with TBFR to develop programs that help to ensure the health and safety of their firefighters. View website

Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services

Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services provides emergency services to residents, businesses, and visitors to the City of Vancouver and UBC. Over 800 uniformed women and men respond to more than 67,000 calls per year out of 20 firehalls, and provide services including fire suppression, auto-extrication, pre-hospital care, hazardous materials response, technical rescue, and marine response. A dedicated team of Fire Prevention Officers based out of three offices work with businesses, tenants, and property owners to educate, and enforce BC Fire Code and City Fire Bylaw. View website

Research Partner Organizations

FIREWELL also collaborates with organizations that conduct research to improve firefighter health and safety.

Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research

The Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) is a network of academic researchers from across Canada who are working together to enhance the health and wellbeing of Canadian military personnel, Veterans and their families through world-class research. View website

The Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment

The Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) is a national network of Canadian academic researchers working with key stakeholders on a long-term initiative to identify the tools required to support the recognition, prevention, intervention, and treatment of mental health concerns facing Canadian first responders, other public safety personnel, and their families. View Website

The Offshore Safety and Survival Centre – Marine Institute

The Offshore Safety and Survival Centre (OSSC) is part of the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University—Canada’s most comprehensive centre for education, training, applied research and industrial support for the ocean industries. The OSSC’s state-of-the art firefighting facility offers training and research in industrial safety and firefighting. View website

Other Partner Organizations

Other FIREWELL partner organizations have unique complementary expertise in mental health, disability management and technology.

Canadian Mental Health Association, British Columbia

The Canadian Mental Health Association, British Columbia Division (CMHA-BC) promotes mental health and supports the resilience and recovery of people living with mental illness. CMHA-BC has been a partner with CMHA-VF in their development of Resilient Minds, a unique firefighter-led mental health program. View website

Canadian Mental Health Association, Prince Edward Island

The Canadian Mental Health Association, Prince Edward Island Division (CMHA-PEI) is a non-profit mental health agency promoting the mental health of all Islanders through programs and services, education and information, research, advocacy and the development of social policy. CMHA-PEI recently introduced a new firefighter mental health and resiliency program called Resilient Minds to the Island. View website

Canadian Mental Health Association, Vancouver-Fraser

The Canadian Mental Health Association, Vancouver-Fraser Branch (CMHA-VF) is dedicated to providing resources people require to maintain and improve mental health and community integration, build resilience, and support recovery from mental illness. CMHA-VF partnered with the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services to develop the peer-led training, “Resilient Minds – Building the Psychological Strength of Fire Fighters”, to increase the mental health literacy in firefighters, provide applicable intervention tools to mitigate the negative impacts of work-related stress, critical incident exposure, and mental health problems, encourage early access care and to strengthen their own psychological health through evidence-based skills and strategies. In addition, the program equips fire staff with knowledge on how to assist a member of the public struggling with a mental health problem or crisis. View website

Dartfish

Dartfish is a video-based movement analysis software that will provide the FIREWELL team the platform to provide visual, performance-based feedback to firefighters on task performance. View Website

Organizational Solutions Inc.

Organizational Solutions Inc. (OSI) is a national disability management company that employs health care professionals from a variety of backgrounds. OSI’s disability management specialists work with employers and workers across Canada to develop individualized solutions for workplace accommodations including RTW. View Website

Project Management Support

The Project Management Support oversees the daily operations of the FIREWELL initiative, including communications, project activities and website management.

Ms. Margaret Lomotan BA, Project Executive Coordinator

Ms. Margaret Lomotan has 10 years of experience working with firefighters on research projects. She oversees FIREWELL’s daily operations and coordinates the team project and knowledge translation activities.

Funding Organizations

The FIREWELL research projects are funded by provincial and federal funding agencies.

Our Newsletters