Fire Services and Emergency Management

Fire Fighting Services Image
For Questions Contact:
Gary Johnston |
Job Title
Fire Chief
gjohnston [at]
Barbara Pinnell |
Job Title
Admin/Public Works/Drainage/Fire Coordinator
bpinnell [at]
Glencoe Station Truck Images

Southwest Middlesex Fire Department 

The Southwest Middlesex Fire Department is made up of trained volunteers who do a tremendous job of promoting public fire safety, protecting your lives and protecting the property of our community.  We have two stations within Southwest Middlesex with one located in the community of Glencoe and another located in community of Wardsville.  Our volunteers from both stations are dedicated to responding to 9-1-1 calls for fire, carbon monoxide, vehicular accidents and medical situations as quickly as possible.

Emergency Management

In accordance with the Emergency Management Act RSO 1990, Chapter E. 9 as amended, the municipality is required to conform to standards set out by Emergency Management Ontario in accordance with international best practices, including the four core components of emergency management, namely: mitigation/prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.  Southwest Middlesex Council in cooperation with the County of Middlesex has implemented an emergency management program to protect public safety, public health, the environment, critical infrastructure and properties and to promote economic stability and a disaster resilient community.

Emergency Preparedness Week: May 5-11, 2024

Is your family prepared for unexpected emergencies? Natural disasters and unforeseen events can happen suddenly.

During Emergency Preparedness Week, taking place from May 5-11, 2024, Canadians are urged to enhance their readiness to protect themselves and loved ones during crises.

To ensure preparedness, consider the following:

Understand the Risks

Identify potential hazards and emergencies in your area to better equip yourself. In Southwest Middlesex, these may include extreme weather like snowstorms, power outages, flooding and transportation accidents.

Create a Plan

Develop a plan so your family knows what to do during emergencies. Consider:

  • Home details: fire extinguisher location, water and gas valves, electrical panel, and floor drains.
  • Escape routes from your home and neighborhood.
  • Meeting places for family reunification.
  • Childcare arrangements if you're unavailable.
  • Local and out-of-town emergency contacts.
  • Communication methods with family and responders (accounting for phone service disruptions).

Tailor your plan to your family's specific needs, such as medical requirements, mobility challenges, language barriers, and children's needs. If you have livestock, pets, or service animals, include their care in the plan.

Assemble an Emergency Kit

During emergencies, essential services may not be available. Prepare a kit with supplies to keep your family safe and comfortable for at least three days. Start with safety essentials like non-perishable food, bottled water (4 liters per person daily), medications, first aid items, toiletries, phone chargers, flashlights, a battery or crank radio, and essential documents (ID, prescriptions, contact lists, etc.), along with some cash in small denominations.

Stay Informed

Stay updated by following local news and official social media channels during emergencies. Keep an eye on Ontario's Alert Ready System for emergency messages sent directly to your phone, radio, or TV.

Find helpful resources for emergency preparedness by visiting

Fire Dispatch Areas

Please see the attached map for fire service areas throughout Southwest Middlesex.

Fire Inspection Requests and Fire Safety Complaints

Southwest Middlesex offers fire safety inspections on a request and a on complaint basis.  It is the municipality's responsibility to ensure fire safety inspections are conducted upon complaint, or on request, and as necessary to meet the mandatory requirements of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 (FPPA) and associated regulations.  Inspection requests can be submitted through our online submission portal below or by contacting our office.

Complaints of a fire-specific nature can also be requested. 

When submitting a request or complaint consider the following:

  • If your matter is about an emergency situation, please call 911
  • Fire safety inspections are not usually completed on single family homes
  • Complaints should be limited to specific fire safety concerns such as non-compliant open air burning


Fire Insurance Rating Upgrades For Melbourne Area Residents & Businesses

Important information regarding upgraded Fire Insurance Ratings for homes and businesses of Southwest Middlesex that are within 8 kilometers by road of the Strathroy-Caradoc Melbourne Fire Station.

On October 24, 2023, the Strathroy-Caradoc Fire Department received accreditation for the delivery of Superior Tanker Shuttle Service (STSS) for commercial and personal lines for each of Strathroy-Caradoc's three (3) fire stations.

This Accreditation may have a significant impact on Commercial and Personal Fire Insurance premiums for homes and businesses within 8 km by road of the Strathroy-Caradoc Melbourne Fire Station. Residents and businesses can contact their insurance provider and inform them of this recent Fire Insurance Rating upgrade for their area. Proof of Accreditation can be provided to your insurer by attaching the links below.

Certificate of Accreditation - Melbourne Fire Station 

Commercial Lines

The Commercial Lines Insurance certificate verifies that the fire protection district is capable of delivering the minimum accepted fire flows to Commercial Lines insured property throughout the fire protection district and within 5 kilometres by road of the responding fire station.

Commercial Lines Insurance - Recognition for Fire Insurance Grading Received 

Personal Lines

The Personal Lines Fire Insurance certificate verifies that the fire protection district is capable of delivering the minimum accepted fire flows to detached dwellings throughout the fire protection district and within 8 kilometres by road of the below accredited Fire Stations:

Personal Lines Fire Insurance - Recognition for Fire Insurance Grading Received 


Melbourne Area FUS Commercial

Melbourne Area FUS Personal

Fireworks Safety Tips

Southwest Middlesex Fire Department Wishes everyone a Safe and Happy Canada Day. Please celebrate safely!

Glencoe Fire Station 

The Glencoe Station is located at 71 Main Street, Glencoe, ON.  Included below is a photo showing our facility and the equipment used to protect the community everyday.

Glencoe Fire Station Image
Glencoe Station Truck Images
Green Flashing Light Awareness

In Ontario, all motorists are well-acquainted with the red flashing lights and sirens on emergency vehicles like police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks. It's common knowledge that when these lights and sirens are active, it's a legal requirement to yield the right-of-way by pulling over to the right and coming to a stop. However, not everyone is aware of the Green Flashing Light used by Volunteer Firefighters.

In a city, emergency vehicles are staffed by full-time professionals who utilize red lights and sirens to navigate through traffic swiftly and reach the scene of an emergency urgently. In life-threatening situations such as fires or rescues, every second is crucial, and delays caused by traffic congestion can have a significant impact. In contrast, residents in rural and smaller urban areas rely on volunteer firefighters for their fire protection needs. These dedicated individuals often respond to emergencies using their personal vehicles, which lack the conspicuous red lights and sirens commonly found on official emergency vehicles.

When a call for assistance comes in, these volunteer firefighters may be at their regular jobs, spending time with their families at the beach, or even asleep in the middle of the night. Regardless of the circumstances, they drop everything and rush to the fire hall to retrieve the fire trucks and respond to the emergency. In cases where some firefighters couldn't make it to the fire hall in time, they proceed directly to the emergency scene using their personal vehicles.

It's essential to understand that the Green Light does not grant volunteer firefighters any special privileges when responding to emergencies. Instead, it serves as an identifier to other motorists, signaling that they should yield the right-of-way and allow the firefighter to reach the emergency unimpeded. The use of this green light is under the control of the Fire Chief, who has the authority to permit or revoke its use by firefighters.

Previously, a challenge existed in that regular traffic didn't always recognize the presence of an emergency, inadvertently obstructing the progress of firefighters rushing to respond to the call or reach the fire hall to initiate the dispatch of fire trucks. To address this issue, the Ministry of Transportation made an amendment to the Highway Traffic Act, allowing volunteer firefighters responding to emergencies to employ a green flashing light.

As per the Ontario Highway Traffic Act: Section 62.(16), a firefighter, as defined in subsection 1(1) of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997, is authorized to carry a lamp in their vehicle that produces intermittent flashes of green light. They can activate this light when their motor vehicle is en route to a fire or another emergency. Likewise, Section 62.(16.1) of the Act specifies that only individuals described in subsection (16) are permitted to operate a lamp that produces intermittent flashes of green light.

If you encounter a vehicle with the distinctive flashing green light activated, now you know it belongs to one of our dedicated volunteer firefighters, rushing to aid a neighbor in need. Please remember that the home they are hurrying to save or the life they are about to rescue could be yours or that of a close friend. Kindly yield the right-of-way and let them pass without delay. Your cooperation can make a significant difference in emergency response times and ultimately save lives and property.

Flashing green light
Open Air Burning & Controlled Burn Permit Application

Open air burning is regulated within Southwest Middlesex through By-law No. 2001-075.   Before starting any fires, contact the fire chief at 519-521-7850 and fire dispatch at 519-245-1300 or 1-844-220-1300 to avoid unnecessary fines and/or charges.  You may also request a control burn through the following form.   Please allow a minimum of 24 hours when using this form for the fire department to get back to you.  

Open Burn Infographic - Page 1
Open Burn Infographic - Page 2
Volunteer Firefighter Application

If you would like to be a part of protecting your community as a volunteer firefighter, please complete the application form and submit it to:

Barbara Pinnell, Fire Coordinator, at @email or drop it in our mailbox at the front door of the Southwest Middlesex municipal office at 153 McKellar St. Glencoe.

If you seek additional information in regard to this opportunity please contact  Fire Chief Gary Johnston  via email at @email or at 519-930-7850.

Firefighter Recruiting
Wardsville Fire Station

The Wardsville Station is located at 1784 Longwoods Road, Wardsville, ON.  Included below is a photo showing our facility and the equipment used to protect the community everyday.

Wardsville Fire Station Image
Wardsville Fire Station Equipment Image