Board of Directors

Pike Krpan

President

Hamilton Fire Deparmtne

Hamilton

Pike Krpan is a career firefighter with the City of Hamilton since 2013. She currently serves the firefighting community as FSWO President. She has been a member of FSWO since the beginning of her career. She is the organizer of Camp FFIT (Female Firefighters in Training) Hamilton, an annual three-day camp that takes place every fall at Hamilton Fire's training facility for young women aged 16-20.

Pike is a proud member of an engine crew and also works in communications/dispatch, technical rescue (high angle rope rescue) and as a driver/pump operator at Hamilton Fire. She was the recipient of a full Honeywell Scholarship to FDIC 2016. She studied Pre-Service Firefighter Education at FESTI (Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute) in 2012 and was hired within six months of her graduation.

Pike brings a varied background to her career in the fire service. She completed her Masters of Arts at the Ontario Institute of Education in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, with a focus on women's issues in education. Previously, she worked in international development education in diverse countries such as Cuba, Ecuador and Jamaica after getting her undergraduate degree in International Development and Women's Studies at Trent University.

Pike is currently a mentor with FSWO's mentorship program and offers assistance to many young women and men considering a career in the fire service. She also acts as a mentor promoting women in firefighting with the Women in Trades program of the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program as well as with the YWCA Hamilton. She was nominated for a YWCA Hamilton Woman of Distinction Award in 2019 for her work in education and mentoring. She loves to introduce people to the challenge of firefighting.

Kitchener Fire Department

Kitchener

Lydia Wilcox

Vice-President

Lydia has been a firefighter with the Kitchener Fire Department since 2008. Prior to firefighting, she was a Building Inspector and Property Standards officer with the City of Brantford. Her main focus was the inspection of commercial and industrial buildings, including fire suppression and alarm systems.

 

Since joining the fire service, Lydia has completed her Disaster and Emergency Management Certificate at Ryerson University and Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Centennial College. She is currently completing her Masters in Public Administration degree at Western University.
 

Lydia has been running the FSWO mentoring program for Fire Service Women Ontario since 2014. At the 2015 FSWO Conference, Lydia became the first recipient of the 3 E Award (Educate, Encourage, Empower) for her efforts to mentor and recruit women into the Fire Service.

Cheryl Hunt

Secretary

Cheryl Hunt is honoured to be the Director of Professional Development for FSWO. Teaching has always been her passion. Cheryl earned her diploma for Recreation Leadership in 1998, and began working as an outdoor education instructor for the Ottawa Carleton District School Board. It wasn’t until her husband Shaun suggested she apply that she even considered firefighting as a possible career choice. Her reaction was “women aren’t firefighters” to which he replied “OK, but you could be!

With that they trained together and both were hired in 2003 as career firefighters with the Ottawa Fire Service. Life has become a balancing act as they work a 24 hour shift schedule on different shifts with 3 children. Cheryl and her husband are dedicated to ensuring their children don’t make the same assumptions that she did 14 years ago. Women ARE firefighters, and knowing and believing are the first steps to getting there.

As one of the first members of the FSWO, Cheryl attended all the conferences both as a student and recently as an instructor of “Modern Fire Attack: SLICE-RS” in 2016. The FSWO annual conference has been monumental in her growth as a firefighter.

Cheryl teaches in many disciplines. As a white water rafting guide, her swift water experience translated into working at fire station with water rescue capability. She is trained in swift water rescue, ice rescue and boat based rescue and is a Water Rescue Technician for the Ottawa Fire Service. Cheryl is a certified instructor for St. John’s Ambulance Advanced Medical First Aid and CPR. She is an instructor for Mental Health First Aid, developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, is trained in Suicide Prevention, and is now a member of the Mental Health Peer Support Team for the Ottawa Fire Service. Most recently, Cheryl was selected as one of 16 firefighters to instruct the From Knowledge To Practice (FKTP) developed by the OFS. This partially federally funded program is based on science and modern fire attack tactics and will bring a standard language to firefighting across Canada. It has been one of her greatest and most challenging achievements to date. “For me, the best way to learn is to teach!”

For the past 12 years, Cheryl has been a committee member for a fundraiser called “Burn Your Bra for Bev” - an evening of dinner, dancing and auctions for women only. Over the course of 12 years they raised over $500,000 for community causes. Now that “Burn Your Bra for Bev” has come to an end she is so thankful to be able to give back to the FSWO community as the director of Professional Development.

Ottawa Fire Services

Ottawa

Ottawa Fire Services

Ottawa

Jim Andrews

Treasurer

Jim lives in Ottawa with his wife Cathy and has two adult children, Cam Lin and Justin. Jim joined the fire service family in 1990 with the former City of Nepean. He has since held various positions with Ottawa Fire Services including; Lieutenant, Fire Training Officer, Special Teams Coordinator, Urban Search and Rescue Task Force Team Leader, Station Captain and Acting District Chief. Jim assumed the role of Sector Chief with Ottawa Fire Services Rural and Special Operation division in 2017.

Jim is currently taking a Masters Diploma in Municipal Leadership through York University’s Schulich School of Business. He received his Executive Diploma in Municipal Management from Western and Seneca College in 2014. Jim is a certified fire service instructor with extensive special operations training and experience.

Jim’s involvement with FSWO reaches back to the first Camp FITT in Ottawa; where the seeds of this organization were first sown. He has presented at numerous FSWO conferences; providing insight on crisis management, leadership and workplace harassment.

Jim is committed to providing the FSWO membership with high quality professional development opportunities that Empower, Educate, and Encourage.

Ottawa Fire Services

Ottawa

Louise Hine-Schmidt

Immediate Past President

Louise has been a firefighter with Ottawa Fire Services since 1999; she was hired as one of the first female firefighters in the City of Ottawa. Currently she is an acting Lieutenant and hopes to be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in the next few years. She is trained as a technician in Rope Rescue, Confined Space, Elevator Rescue, Extrication and was the editor of the OFS Rope Rescue Manual. Louise sits on the IAFF Local 162 Human Relations and Accommodations Committee.

 

Louise is one of the three founders of FSWO and Camp FFIT (Female Firefighters In Training). Both FSWO and Camp FFIT are a source of great pride for Louise as she helps to promote her love of firefighting to other women who may not have considered the career.

 

Louise has an honours BPhEd from the University of Ottawa and has graduated with her Executive Diploma in Municipal Management (EDMM) from Western Ontario and Seneca College in 2015.


Louise has an athletic background; she was a member of the Canadian Sprint Kayak Team and represented Canada at the Pan Am Games in 1987, winning two silver medals. Louise has been married to her husband for 26 years and they have two children; her daughter is on the Canadian National sprint kayak team and her son is an apprentice Aircraft Maintenance Engineer.

 

Watching FSWO grow from 3 members in 2009 to almost 300 in 2017 has only energized Louise to keep moving forward with the mandate to educate, empower and encourage those wishing to increase the diversity and inclusion of the Canadian fire service.

 

Ottawa Fire Services

Ottawa

Tracey Shields

Registrar

Tracey was hired as one of the first female firefighters in the City of Ottawa in 1999  and has now been promoted as the first female Lieutenant in suppression. She is currently working in many different stations as an Acting Captain. Tracey has also been an integral part of Camp FFIT in Ottawa, volunteeting her time as an instructor with the program.

 

Tracey feels very fortunate to have had four healthy baby boys while working as a firefighter. During her pregnancies she was able to work modified duties in many different divisions, gaining insights into each, including Administration, Training, and Air Management. Tracey has been an active member with FSWO for the past six years, has learned valuable information, and forged new friendships. She is looking forward to serving as Registrar on the Board and continuing the invaluable work that has already been started.

 

Township of Cramahe

Cramahe

Sheri Fisher

Communications

Sheri Fisher has been a volunteer firefighter with Cramahe Fire Department since 2014. She brings a diverse educational and professional background to her role as a firefighter. She has a diploma in Developmental Services Worker and Custom Border Services, and has worked in the social services sector for over 24 years. Sheri has a strong belief in continuing learning, completing various programs and certifications over the years including sign language and most recently Dalhousie University’s Fire Service Leadership program.

Sheri is one of the organizers for the Camp L.I.F.T. (Ladies in Firefighter Training) program, a day camp for girls aged 11-13 in Northumberland County. She has a strong commitment to giving back to her community. She represents her department at the Situation Table, a committee of diverse services working together to connect individuals at risk to much needed services. Sheri is also a member of a critical incident stress management team (After The Call) as a way to give back to her fellow emergency responders.

Sheri has always led an active lifestyle, playing multiple sports throughout high school and college. Upon graduating college, Sheri began training in a gym, which lead to her competing in figure competitions and ultimately obtaining her professional status with the International Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness (IFBB).

Sheri has been a member of FSWO since becoming a firefighter. FSWO has provided her key opportunities to connect with like-minded firefighters in a positive environment. As a board member, Sheri is honoured to have the opportunity to make a positive impact within the fire services.

Toronto Fire Services

Toronto

Debbie Higgins

Director

Debbie Higgins is a Deputy Fire Chief with Toronto Fire Services, with the portfolio of Administrative Services.  In this capacity, she is responsible for finance and budgeting processes, labour relations, quartermaster, facilities, the TFS medical office, and providing professional support for the procurement and maintenance of both apparatus and equipment. Debbie previously held the portfolios of Fire Prevention and Public Education, and more recently Professional Development and Training, including Special Operations (HUSAR and CBRNE). Prior to her promotion to Deputy in 2010, Debbie spent eleven years as an Executive Officer for Toronto Fire. She also previously worked with the City of Mississauga as a Business Planner, where her work included various strategic projects for the Community Services department, including fire. Before joining the municipal sector, Debbie spent five years working as a consultant undertaking social planning studies, including feasibility studies, master plans, emergency response plans, marketing plans and organizational reviews.

 

Debbie has a degree in Applied Geography from Ryerson University, and a certificate in Business from McMaster University.  

 

Audrey-Anne Robinson

Director

Julie Petruzzellis

Director

Julie has been a career firefighter with Toronto Fire Services since 2006. She is a shop
steward for her local and is an active member of the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’
Association’s Human Relations and Equity Initiatives Committee. She also sits on
Toronto Fire’s Joint Management/Association Inclusion Working Group, collaborating on
strategies to enhance the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce. Julie has
experience working on a variety of apparatus in the fire service fleet, including a HazMat
support pumper and aerial trucks; she is currently assigned to a heavy rescue support
pumper and is trained in technical rescue. She is also a member of Toronto’s Heavy
Urban Search and Rescue team.
Julie has been involved with FSWO since 2017 and was honoured to receive the 2018
FSWO Diversity and Inclusion Award for her contributions including the development of
the Where There Is Smoke project, an audio installation of work stories by female
firefighters, and for her work on the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Pregnancy and
Family Resource Guide.
Prior to becoming a firefighter, Julie worked at the Ontario Justice Education Network.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Trent University and a Master of Arts degree
from the University of Western Ontario.

TJ Robbins

Director

Since January 2017, TJ has been a part-time fire fighter in Milton.  At the time of her hire, she had seven years experience as an Auxiliary Police Officer in Halton region and made a natural transition into the fire service command structure and culture.  Always looking for more ways to get involved, she reached out to FSWO and as a result has participated in Camp Fitt the past two years and wrote two pieces for the spring and fall 2018 issues of the FSWO magazine.  She also spent hours lending her talent for proofreading to the magazine.

 

By day, TJ is a sales rep but she has had several interesting jobs in the past from short haul truck driver to the three years she spent as an eviction officer.  She finds balance in her role as a yoga teacher, a job she has been doing for over fifteen years.  As of October 2019, she can add writer to her list of credits as she has just finished writing her first novel.

 

When TJ doesn't make the truck you can find her creating reasons to climb the hose tower!

Milton Fire Department

Milton

Ontario Power Generation

Chelsea Depmsey

Volunteer Director

Chelsea was hired as a Volunteer Firefighter with the Cramahe Township Fire Department in 2011. In March 2018 Chelsea was promoted to Lieutenant, she now serves as the first female officer in suppression. Chelsea also works fulltime for Ontario Power Generation as a Nuclear Firefighter. 

 

Since attending Durham College for the Pre-Service Firefighting program where she served a one year term on the program advisory committee, she has furthered her studies with Dalhousie University obtaining a certificate in FireService Leadership and Fundamentals of Incident Command. Chelsea is a strong believer in continuing education and hopes to complete a Certificate in Fire Service Executive Management with Humber College within the next few years. 

 

Chelsea enjoys having the opportunity to give back to her community, Being one of the founders of Camp L.I.F.T. (Ladies in Firefighter Training) program, a day camp for young women ages 11- 13 in Northumberland County, She hopes to encourage more young women to challenge themselves. 

 

Chelsea enjoys Kayaking, Playing guitar and spending time with her family.

 

 

 

 

 

Jean Cloutier

Student Director