May 1, 2022 is First Responders Day which gives us a moment to pause and appreciate the incredible services first responders provide to our Mississauga communities to keep us safe and to help us when we find ourselves in a difficult or emergency situation.

Did you know that for over 40 years the Fire Department operated solely with volunteers? The first full time Fire Fighter was hired 1953, under Toronto Township. Chief Braithwaite was hired in 1954 after a few Fire Fighters became fulltime.

During 1954 Braithwaite oversaw 5 stations within the township. Independent communities prior the amalgamation had their own volunteer fire departments. The Mississauga Fire Department began in 1968 the same time when the Town of Mississauga came to be. They are celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2018.

In 1968 many historic communities within Toronto Township amalgamated with independent communities Streetsville and Port Credit to form the Town of Mississauga. Part of the emergence and organization of the new town, the Mississauga Fire Department was born.

The remaining volunteers of Port Credit and majority in Streetsville were replaced by full time staff at the end of February 1974. This left a few remaining volunteers in Streetsville for a few years but only for back up.

Less than 8 months later on July 1, 1975 full time firefighters replaced remaining volunteers, increasing the total of 180 Fire Fighters. By 1980 the total had increased to 350 firefighters. The first woman firefighter was hired in 1994. By 2017 there was total employment of 700. The Transition from volunteers to full time professional firefighters gave the growing city reassurance that they would be well-served in times of need.

The Fire Service’s capabilities grew and were tested as the City matured. Population increased as new houses were built and planned communities such as Erin Mills were created. In addition to daily events, the city also suffered a number of major incidents that helped to put Mississauga and its emergency services on the map.