About the Ottawa First Responders Foundation

We were founded out of response to a need.  Learn about this need and help us grow and to help First Responders.

Our Story

The Ottawa First Responders Foundation came about when the creator of the foundation, Brenda Tirrell (link to her bio), spoke to a fellow firefighter after a traumatic experience.

She asked him, if he could have anything to help at this point, something that would make difference, what would it be.

His answer… I would like a magnet. A magnet with ONE number to call for help.

And so, the idea for the OFRF was born.

“I could never do your job.”
A sentence that First Responders hear regularly.

Tragedy strikes on a personal and city-wide basis daily, while first responders continue to answer the calls day and night. Traumatic events do not just affect the victims of the event, the trauma circle spreads much wider than that. First responders are exposed to these incidents daily, sometimes multiple times a day. The rates of mental health issues are significantly higher in first responders than the average population.  Research from the University of Regina in a 2017 study shows 45% of first responders screen positively for 1 or more mental health disorders, compared to the general population at a rate of 10%. The majority of these disorders are rooted in mental injury sustained while on the job.

Currently, government assistance to first responders is purely reactive. Meaning, that a first responder is only able to receive support once they have been traumatized. In order to be effective in the battle against mental injuries, we need to be PROACTIVE. Helping first responders and their families develop resilience, know the warning signs of an issue and what to do when they need help. Learn about the OFRF Mission, Vision, and Values.

When someone needs help, they call the first responders in. Let’s make sure that when they need help, their call is answered.

Board of Directors

Brenda Tirrell

Steve Bond

Joleen Surman

Gerry Pingitore
Director – Retired Fire Chief

Sean Tracey
Director – Deputy Fire Chief

Scott Patey
Director – Fire Fighter

Christine Godin
Director – Paramedic

Lorraine Downey
Director – Paramedic

Brent MacIntre
Director – Police

Geoff Walker
Director – Private Business Owner

Become a Sponsor

We need your support to help support Ottawa's First Responders

In this family, no one stands alone.