The Howling Wolf

Just as our wolf logo symbolizes the leadership, loyalty, strength of character and sense of family that is displayed by emergency responders, The Howling Wolf serves as the voice of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. A wolf’s howl attracts other members of the pack, invites communication and creates a strong bond between pack members. We hope this blog will have the same impact on emergency responders, workplace safety professionals and traffic safety advocates, bringing us all together in the same pack and providing valuable information about workplace safety issues affecting first responders.

Check in frequently for updates on JPMF events and initiatives, interesting research and to add your own howl to our pack.


Faces Behind Stats

Monday, April 25th, 2022

A Few of the Faces Behind Workplace Fatality Stats

Second Animated “Casket” Video Ready to View

 

“Safety isn’t expensive, it’s priceless.”

– Jerry Smith

April 28th is the Day of Mourning.

This is a day set aside to remember workers who have died as a result of their work – either from an injury or an occupational illness.

Since Cst John Petropoulos died on the job in 2000 (he stepped through an unmarked false ceiling while clearing a building and succumbed to a brain injury, as there was no safety railing in place to warn him of the danger), more than 20,000 Canadians have died from their work.

To raise awareness about this fact, in September 2020, the JPMF released the first animated “Casket” video (30-second PSA).

You can view that PSA here.

On April 28th, 2022, we are releasing the second animated “Casket” video (2.5 minutes). This powerful video highlights a few of the fallen workers – and their loved ones left behind.

Because 20,0000 fatalities isn’t just a stat…that’s 20,000 people whose lives were cut short because of a workplace injury or illness. We cannot bring those people back…nor can we remove the horrific impact their death had on their loved ones.

But by raising awareness about their deaths, perhaps we can help prevent future workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities.

Here is the link to view the second animated Casket video (2.5 minutes).

If you can share these videos on social media, please do.

A special thank you to the families who are participating in this ongoing campaign

On behalf of all of us at the JPMF, a sincere thank you to all the families who contributed photos of your loved ones for this special project. We are very honoured to be able to, hopefully, help transform your devastating personal loss into positive change. From our hearts to yours, thank you…and take care.

About the JPMF

The JPMF was started after the death of Calgary Police Constable John Petropoulos on Sept 29th, 2000. John was investigating a break and enter complaint when he stepped through a false ceiling, fell nine feet into the lunchroom below and died of a brain injury. There was no safety railing to warn him of the danger; the complaint turned out to be a false alarm.

John was 32.

The JPMF is a registered Canadian charity that raises public awareness about workplace safety issues and educates people about why and how to ensure their workplaces and the roads are safer for everyone, including emergency responders. For further information, please visit jpmf.ca.

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Together Forever Until the Ship Sinks

Thursday, April 21st, 2022

Together Forever…

Until a Preventable Workplace Fatality Claimed Yet Another Life

Paul and Virginia Campeau

“In the early morning hours of January 7th, 2015, Paul was found in the back of the hopper, lodged in the auger, frozen solid.”

Virginia Campeau, Paul Campeau’s widow

Together forever until the ship sinks…

That’s what Virginia Campeau and her husband, Paul, always said to each other. In 2012, they met at work and began dating. From that point on, Virginia knew she would spend the rest of her life with him.

“Paul was a caring, passionate and humble man,” says Virginia. They married in 2014. Paul had a deep love for his wife, family, friends, and dog, Baloo.

Paul and Virginia

In January 2015, it wasn’t a sinking ship that tore Paul and Virginia apart – it was a jammed auger in the back of the sand truck Paul was working in. Paul was driving a sand truck, maintaining the roads for winter. He was working alone on a bitterly cold day. When it was freezing outside, there were issues with the auger getting jammed.

 

Paul’s life was tragically cut short at the age of forty-five.

 

On January 6th, 2015, Paul left for work like every other day…

“We kissed and said, ‘I love you,’ to each other for the last time,” says Paul’s widow, Virginia.

“In the back of the sand truck there was a hopper with an auger inside,” Virginia explains. “Paul was working alone at the time, so no one really knows what happened, nor do I have a time of death.”

What Virginia does know is this:

In the early morning hours of January 7th, 2015 Paul was found in the back of the sand truck, lodged in the auger, frozen solid. There was a shovel nearby. Click To Tweet

“I will never know the exact time Paul took his last breath, or what exactly happened, but I do know the truck he was driving had experienced similar issues in the past.”

– Virginia Campeau

“When it was really cold outside,” Virginia says, “there had been issues with the auger getting jammed, which prevented the sand from filtering through. They had been using a shovel as a temporary solution to get the sand through – and the auger moving again. A replacement part was on order but hadn’t come in yet. If it did, maybe things would have turned out differently.”

After Paul’s frozen body was discovered, the truck had to be dismantled and one of Paul’s legs had to be amputated below the knee, so they could free him.

Paul Campeau

What went wrong?

Because Paul was working alone at the time, we will never know for sure. But we do know this: there was no safety cover on the back of the hopper to protect Paul. Plus, while waiting for the replacement part to arrive, he was dealing with malfunctioning machinery.

“Workplace safety is non-negotiable. There is no coming back from a workplace fatality. You have the right to say no to unsafe working conditions. And you have the right to come home to the ones you love.”

– Virginia Campeau

 

“What I miss the most about Paul,” says Virginia, “is the wink he would give me signaling that everything would be okay…and having his arms around me at night, feeling safe and falling asleep to the sound of his heartbeat.”

 

Virginia holding a photo of Paul

Paul’s life ended in tragedy. And Virginia was left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and the shattered dreams for the future they had planned together. This is not the way either of them – or their loved ones – wanted their love story to end.

Whether you are an employee, an employer, or a business owner, please make workplace safety your top priority. 

Safety must come first...because fatalities are forever. Click To Tweet

 

Here is the link to view the 2-min video about Paul Campeau. 

A little bit more about Paul Campeau…

Paul was born in Shawville, Quebec, and was the youngest of three children. When he was young, his family moved to Red Lake Ontario where he grew up. Paul had many loves including his family, his dog, Baloo, and his many friends. He loved Monte Carlo cars, driving his semi-truck, and watching Nascar racing.

 

To help raise awareness about workplace safety and provide support for others dealing with workplace tragedies, Virginia is a speaker with the Threads of Life Association for Workplace Tragedy Family Support.

Here is the link to read Virginia’s Threads of Life article, “The Day Life Shattered.”

 

 

Since 2000, more than 20,000 Canadians have died as a result of their work – either from an occupational illness or injuries sustained on the job.

Is this the legacy we want to be building?

 

About the JPMF

The JPMF was started after the death of Calgary Police Constable John Petropoulos on Sept 29th, 2000. John was investigating a break and enter complaint when he stepped through a false ceiling, fell nine feet into the lunchroom below and died of a brain injury. There was no safety railing to warn him of the danger; the complaint turned out to be a false alarm.

John was 32.

The JPMF is a registered Canadian charity that raises public awareness about workplace safety issues and educates people about why and how to ensure their workplaces and the roads are safer for everyone, including emergency responders. For further information, please visit jpmf.ca.

 

 

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More Questions Than Answers

Monday, March 21st, 2022

More Questions Than Answers

But the Outcome Remains the Same

Lance & Rebecca Orr

“When I tried calling Lance the first time, it kept ringing. The second time it went to voicemail. I remember thinking something was terribly wrong.” 

Rebecca Orr, Lance Orr’s widow

Lance Orr was a construction worker.

He was a rigger. His job was to ensure the concrete load was safely and securely attached to the sling of a crane.

 

 

Lance was an out-going and boisterous Alberta cowboy. He thrived in the outdoors.

 

 

 

Lance loved to fish, hunt, camp, and gather with his family and friends. At 19, he met Rebecca and they became close friends. They fell in love and were married.

 

 

The soon-to-be father enjoyed working hard to provide for his family. For many months, he’d been working long, exhausting days.

On May 8th, 2009, their baby was due to arrive soon, so Rebecca was getting their baby registry set up. Lance was looking forward to a quiet night at home after a long week at work.

Lance never came home. Instead, Rebecca received a call from an RCMP officer while she was leaving the store where she was setting up the baby registry. Lance had died on the job.

This was not the future Rebecca and Lance had envisioned.

 

 

So what happened? 

In the months leading up to Lance’s death, he had been working fourteen to sixteen hours a day. He had discussed with Rebecca how exhausted he was and how he hoped to finish his current job as soon as possible. The job had extended beyond its deadline and was a very demanding construction project.

“Lance had used two different lengths of chain and hadn’t tied the load down correctly,” explains Rebecca. “So when he gave the crane operator – his best friend – the okay to move the load, it slid off and crushed him instantly.”

“My world came crashing down,” says Rebecca. “Two months shy of our third wedding anniversary, all our plans and dreams were gone. I was left to pick up the pieces.”

 

 

At the age of twenty-five, Rebecca became a widow and a single mom. Lance and Rebecca’s daughter, Caitlin, was born three months after his death.

Fatigue can be fatal.

When workers are consistently working long days with insufficient rest in between, exhaustion takes a toll. Fatigue can affect a worker's physical, emotional, and mental health. Fatigue can impact a worker's decision-making abilities. Click To Tweet In the worst-case scenario, fatigue can be fatal.

We will never know exactly what happened the day Lance died, but fatigue likely played a significant role in the choices he made and the actions he took.

“Lance was one of the safest guys I knew. He would never intentionally put himself or anyone else at risk,” says Rebecca. “But that day he made choices that have left me with more questions than answers…and the only person who can answer those questions isn’t here.”

 

 

As an experienced rigger, Lance had been properly trained. He knew what he was doing and was very good at it. But when you’re dealing with a load of concrete, the margin for error is small. One minor mistake can make the difference between life and death.

Lance Orr was 27.

 

Caitlin & Rebecca Orr

 

Caitlin has grown up to embrace her father’s love of the outdoors and horses. She is a cowgirl at heart.

To help raise awareness about workplace safety and provide support for others dealing with workplace tragedies, Rebecca now works with the Threads of Life Association for Workplace Tragedy Family Support as a speaker and family support volunteer.

 

For further info, please visit Threads of Life.

 

 

Since 2000, more than 20,000 Canadians have died as a result of their work – either from an occupational illness or injuries sustained on the job.

Is this the legacy we want to be building?

 

 

About the JPMF

The JPMF was started after the death of Calgary Police Constable John Petropoulos on Sept 29th, 2000. John was investigating a break and enter complaint when he stepped through a false ceiling, fell nine feet into the lunchroom below and died of a brain injury. There was no safety railing to warn him of the danger; the complaint turned out to be a false alarm.

John was 32.

The JPMF is a registered Canadian charity that raises public awareness about workplace safety issues and educates people about why & how to ensure their workplaces and the roads are safer for everyone, including emergency responders. For further information, please visit jpmf.ca.

 

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Workers Have Right to Say No

Saturday, March 5th, 2022

Workers Have the Right to Say No

Sean Bradley Casket Profile Video

Sean Bradley

Sean Bradley was hired as a truck driver…

But that’s NOT the job he was doing when he died…on the job.

Every worker has the right to return home safely at the end of every workday. Every employer has the responsibility to ensure that happens. Click To Tweet

What happened to Sean Bradley…and why?

Please view (and share on your social media) Sean Bradley’s video (1 min, 30 sec) on the JPMF You Tube channel.

For further details about the factors that led to Sean’s death, please visit the JPMF newsroom.

About the JPMF’s “Casket” Workplace Safety Campaign

Since Const. John Petropoulos died on the job in 2000, more than 20,000 Canadians have died as the result of their work, either due to an injury or occupational illness.

You can view the first 30-second “Casket” PSA here

Sean Bradley’s video is the second profile video in the “Casket” series. The first was Tim Hamilton.

Please view Tim’s video (and share on social media) on the JPMF You Tube channel.

Thank you for caring…and sharing. You just never know who’s life you might save.

About the JPMF

The JPMF was started shortly after the death of Calgary Police Constable John Petropoulos on Sept 29th, 2000. John was investigating a break and enter complaint when he stepped through a false ceiling, fell nine feet into the lunchroom below and died of a brain injury. There was no safety railing to warn him of the danger; the complaint turned out to be a false alarm.

John was 32.

The JPMF is a registered Canadian charity that raises public awareness about workplace safety issues and educates people about why & how to ensure their workplaces and the roads are safer for everyone, including emergency responders. For further information, please visit jpmf.ca.

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Slow Down Holiday Safety Video

Monday, December 20th, 2021

Please Slow Down When Passing Emergency Scenes This Holiday Season

‘Tis the busy holiday season…

But please take a moment and view this new 1-min traffic safety video, entitled “Please Slow Down & Give the Gift of Life This Holiday Season.”

And if you are on social media, please share. You just never know who might need to see this important reminder.

Life gets busy and it’s easy to get distracted…but everyone has the right to get home safely.

 

Thank you, take care & stay safe this holiday season.

Happy Holidays from all of us at the JPMF!

About the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund

The JPMF was started shortly after the death of Calgary Police Constable John Petropoulos on Sept 29th, 2000. John was investigating a break and enter complaint when he stepped through a false ceiling, fell nine feet into the lunchroom below and died of a brain injury. There was no safety railing to warn him of the danger; the complaint turned out to be a false alarm.

John was 32.

The JPMF is a registered Canadian charity that raises public awareness about workplace safety issues and educates people about why & how to ensure their workplaces and the roads are safer for everyone, including emergency responders. For further information, please visit jpmf.ca.

 

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21st Anniversary of John’s Death

Tuesday, September 28th, 2021

Remembering John on Sept 29th

Sept 29th, 2021 is the twenty-first anniversary of John’s death

In honour of this, we thought we’d share the very first public service announcement the JPMF produced, way back when!

The PSA was called “The Fairytale Ended – Make Your Workplace Safe for Everyone,” and it’s safety message is as pertinent as ever today.

Here is the link to the view the 30-second PSA on the JPMF You Tube Channel.

The woman doing the voiceover is our dear friend, Heather Cumming. Here is a great party pic of John and Heather:

I remember the day that photo was taken. In fact, I probably took the photo. We were on Robson Street, celebrating a Stanley Cup win of some sort. We had so much fun!

Here are a couple more photos of John that you may not have seen before:

Maryanne & John, Tofino, 1990

 

John & Sable, “Quiet Time”

This year’s anniversary is a special one because this is the year John would have retired…or could have retired, rather. He probably wouldn’t have, after only twenty-five years. He probably would have just kept on going…like the Energizer Bunny, which was the nickname his team had given him.

I remember, like it was yesterday, the day John graduated from recruit class. I remember exactly what I was wearing. I remember seeing the excitement on John’s face, when Chief Silverberg handed him his badge. It was a dream come true for John…the moment he’d worked eight years for.

But from where I was sitting in the audience, I couldn’t hear what the Chief said to John, in that moment he was handed his badge. It wasn’t until later, when I watched the video of the ceremony, that I heard what the Chief had quietly said to John:

“Stay safe.”

For four years, he was able to. And then, on Sept 29th, 2000, his dream, career & life ended when he stepped through an unmarked false ceiling, because there was no safety railing in place.

John had done what he could to stay safe. He did what he was trained to do. Unfortunately, the building he was clearing hadn’t followed proper workplace safety protocol.

And that, of course, is why the John Petropoulos Memorial was started and continues to this day…raising public awareness about why and how to make workplaces, and the roads, safer for everyone, including first responders.

Although John’s policing career ended abruptly after only four years on the job, he packed an awful lot into that short time. He lived and breathed policing. He loved being a police officer. And he was very good at it.

Thank you for supporting the JPMF. Whether you are a newly on board or have been with us from the very beginning, we sincerely appreciate your support. We will never know the full impact our safety education efforts have on reducing workplace injuries, fatalities & illnesses.

But we do know this: doing something is better than nothing at all.

Thank you & take care,

Maryanne & the JPMF team

 

About the JPMF

The JPMF was started shortly after the death of Calgary Police Constable John Petropoulos on Sept 29th, 2000. John was investigating a break and enter complaint when he stepped through a false ceiling, fell nine feet into the lunchroom below and died of a brain injury. There was no safety railing to warn him of the danger; the complaint turned out to be a false alarm.

John was 32.

The JPMF is a registered Canadian charity that raises public awareness about workplace safety issues and educates people about why & how to ensure their workplaces and the roads are safer for everyone, including emergency responders. For further information, please visit jpmf.ca.

 

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