In conjunction with an international convention of fire chiefs being held in Toronto, four stamps will be issued on September 23, 1991 to draw public focus on four Canada's Dangerous Public Service Occupations: fire-fighting; police; search and rescue; and the ski patrol. Firefighting is one of the oldest dangerous professions. A device for spraying water on fires can be traced to the second century B.C. History is full of fiery disasters including the Great Fire of London in 1666 and Chicago's inferno supposedly caused by the Mrs. O'Leary cow. Canada has not been spared its major disasters, with for example Quebec City being devastated in 1759, 1845, 1862, 1865 and twice in 1866. Forest fires today are one of the worst environmental catastrophes facing Canadians. Modern technology has both helped and hindered the role of the firefighter. Science has given us many new extinguishing agents at the same time as it has developed equally lethal combustants. The life of a modern firefighter is complex indeed.
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