What We Do Saves Lives

Our History

It started with a common mission – to protect people 

This mission is the reason why two organizations joined forces in 2021 to create Classic Fire & Life Safety – combining the strength of all partners, united in this one, clear mission.  

In June 2021, Classic Fire Protection and FCFP began a journey to come together to create a new, stronger partnership with the intention of continuing to grow with and through new partners if and when the decision to do so would be beneficial to stakeholders – partners, employees and, most critically, customers.

Based on these initial partnerships, and a period of reflection among the leadership team, the company introduced in the fall of 2021 its new name, Classic Fire & Life Safety, to reflect the growing life safety services offered to customers.  

Determined to partner with great people and build successful businesses for the long term, the new leadership has a long history of not only achieving business success but nurturing principled, sustainable, and fruitful company cultures that make life better for stakeholders.

We are proud to build on this foundation and contribute to this culture through and in the fire and life safety industries.  Focused on the present and future, with an eye on the learnings from our shared past, Classic FLS plans to continue expanding with the goal of becoming the premier fire protection service provider in Canada in pursuit of its vision: A safe environment for your business to grow.

History Of FCFP

  • In 1985, Dan Bird, Dave Manners, Geoff Triggs and Melvin Zietsma started Forest City Fire Protection. From the outset, the entrepreneurs settled on a clear vision: to make a difference within the fire protection industry and be a positive force in the local, regional and global community.  

    “We had talked about starting our own company well before and had even taken steps in preparing for it, but the real catalyst was in March 1985 when the company we worked for closed our local branch and we all found ourselves facing unemployment.  We knew what we had to do, but wanted to make sure we did it right.” 

    In the first few years, FCFP expanded gradually throughout Southwestern Ontario, earning the reputation of being an industry leader in the design, fabrication and installation of fire sprinkler systems.  In 1996, the company added alarm and security products and services to its fire sprinkler portfolio.  In 1998, Forest City moved to a 40,000 square foot location at Adelaide Street South in London.  

    The next ten years saw much expansion across Ontario and into the United States.  Over the years, FCFP has successfully completed projects around the world including Mexico, Bahamas, St. Vincent and Grenadines as well as Newfoundland and the eastern United States.   

    Asked how he was able to keep mindful of the foundational goal to make a difference even beyond business in various communities, Dan replies, “You have it backwards.  It’s not about how we keep mindful of our goal in the midst of success - it’s because of the implementation of our goal ‘to make a difference’ that we are successful.”

History of Classic Fire Protection

  • In 1988, Rick Berwick left one of the largest fire protection companies to start a new company, Classic Fire Protection. From a 400 square foot office, Rick and three partners devoted themselves heart, mind, body and soul to meeting the needs of their first customers.

    “Each one of us was very passionate about our work and we succeeded by focusing on meeting the needs of our customers, one request or opportunity at a time,” comments Berwick. Within a year, they had eight staff working with them.

    “We were very well diversified,” Berwick explains. “I was a fitter on the road, we had a sales estimator, a fire alarm systems expert, we had all aspects covered, and our customers knew that.”

    Quality service meant a continued dedication to their customers from all of the experts, and that meant a lot of work. As time went by the company grew, attracting others with a similar passion for fire and life safety. By 2004 the company had 75 staff and two offices and, by 2020, the small company that Rick established had grown to three offices and close to 200 dedicated staff, including Rick’s sons, Chris and Gary.

Testimonials