The FIREWELL Research Champion series profile our firefighter collaborators and their critical contributions to our research on firefighter health and wellbeing.

Meet Louise Hine-Schmidt

Louise Hine-Schmidt has been with Ottawa Fire Services (OFS) since 1999 and was one of the first female firefighters in the City of Ottawa. She is currently an Acting Lieutenant with the OFS and President of the Fire Service Women Ontario (FSWO). Louise believes a diverse fire service is a strong fire service. She co-founded FSWO to help promote the career of firefighting to other women. The three original co-founders of FSWO also initiated the City of Ottawa’s CampFFIT (Female Firefighters in Training) which is a week long day camp for young women which gives them the opportunity to try out firefighting first hand and to help them decide if it is a career they would like to consider. Currently women make up approximately 4% of firefighters in Ontario; FSWO is working to help increase this number.

Louise was recently awarded the prestigious Honeywell DuPont 2018 FDIC Scholarship which gives her the opportunity to attend 2018 Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) International—the largest fire service conference in the world.

Louise is an instructor with the OFS Fire Dynamics team which has been a part of a program called “From Knowledge to Practice” (FKTP). FKTP is based on a curriculum that includes theory and practical teaching using a science-based approach to learn more about how modern fires develop and how to apply firefighting tactics that are both effective and safe. This program is currently being developed with funding from several levels of government in Canada and will soon be available for fire services across Canada to use.

To watch Louise’s mini-fire demonstration, click here.


How are you involved in FIREWELL?

I have seen the slow evolution of women in the fire service and there has been limited evidence on the impact of a physically demanding, male-dominant work environment on this emerging cohort in firefighting. I’m excited to be part of FIREWELL research which is examining the interrelationships between gender, work and health in firefighting. I represented female firefighters at the SSHRC-CIHR Healthy and Productive Work (HPW) Strengthening Workshop. I participate in meetings and studies that established the research priorities of female firefighters.


Louise’s Media Interviews

Women at the heart of annual firefighting conference in London (Global News, November 3, 2017)

Female firefighters and male allies working together to create diverse and inclusive industry (The Sarnia Observer, November 13, 2016)

Young women invited to learn from Ottawa’s firefighting pros (Waterloo Chronicle, March 16, 2016)

Fighting Firefighting Expectations (The Newspaper by the University of Toronto, December 4, 2014)


Do you want to be a FIREWELL Research Champion?

If you’re a firefighter who would like to get involved in FIREWELL research, please contact us.