Ministry of the
Solicitor General

RSS and Fire Service

RSS and the Fire Service

(PDF version available on request at AskOFM)

RSS & Fire Service

What is RSS?

How to Use RSS Readers

Fire Service websites using RSS feeds  

Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management
Resource Centre, Ontario Fire College

How to Subscribe to RSS Feeds and Use an RSS Reader

What is RSS?

RSS is an abbreviation of Really Simple Syndication. It's a format that websites use to distribute content either text based or audio, and video (Podcasting).

Using an RSS Reader allows you to access updated content from a website without having to visit the site over and over again looking for current information.

There are many RSS feeds for the Fire Service – from general media (CTV, CBC, CityTV) to newspapers to magazines.

In order to view a feed you need a feed reader. All modern web browsers (Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer) allow you to view feeds within the browser itself but you can also view feeds through a web-based interface or a desktop application

The Fire Sciences Library and Audiovisual Resource Centre views RSS feeds with Google reader (web-based). There are other RSS readers such as , Bloglines (web-based), NewsGator (Windows application), and NewtNewsWire (Mac application).


Using RSS Readers

To subscribe to a RSS feed you will need a RSS reader. There are over 2,000 different reading applications, also known as news aggregators (for text) and podcatchers (for audio/video). Most of these applications are free, however some charge a small fee particularly mobile readers. The online readers have an advantage in that you can access your updates anywhere from a web
browser. Also, updates and upgrades are done automatically. This brochure will only cover Online Readers, using Google Reader as an example.

Online Readers

Internet Browser Readers

Mobile Readers

Google Reader 

Internet Explorer 7, 8

NewsGator Go! (fee)



Google Reader Mobile





Fire Fox

Egress (fee)



(OFM does not endorse any commercial products that may be advertised in this brochure.)


Benefits of Using an RSS Reader

  • Centralize preferred sources from the Internet into one place rather than visiting individual sites
  • Sources can include news sites, social media– Blogs, Twitter, Wikis, Facebook, Podcasts (audio/video feeds), YouTube etc.
  • Eliminate online advertising
  • Subscribe and unsubscribe to RSS feeds
  • Anonymity – your IP address is not left on the site
  • Eliminate email updates, less clutter in your inbox


Choosing an RSS Reader

Choose your RSS reader–Google, Bloglines, Netvibes, Newsgator, MyYahoo all work similar in that they provide instruction/tutorials to help you set up your feed. Your preference will depend on brand and what additional features you are looking for.

Google Example:
Go to and click on More and choose Reader from the drop down list.

google homepage

Set up an online account using your email address. You can use your current email address or create a separate gmail address.

setting up an online account


Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Add feeds to your account by going to sites that have sources you want to subscribe to - look for the words RSS, Subscribe, XML, Atom, 2.0, Podcast or the RSS Symbols which are usually found on the top or bottom of the web page. After you click on the Subscribe button, import it to your Google Reader. Can also cut and paste the URL into the Add a Subscription category.
eg. NFPA Fire Service Today Blog

example: Click subscribe. #1. Choose your reader– click on Google icon and the RSS feed will be automatically added to your Google Reader.Recent posts on site appear in chronological order. Click to read. Sites subscribed to will appear.


Organize Feeds

Feeds from your sources (news, blogs, magazines, weather etc.) will populate your reader. Feeds can be organized using folders, tagging, labelling, and notes. Feeds can also be arranged by subject. Click on Setting in upper right corner of Google Reader and choose Subscriptions.

organize feeds


Reading RSS Feeds

Check your RSS feeds for current content, make it part of your homepage (iGoogle for example), can also upload content to your mobile browser.

Scan the headlines, sort by date or topic. Preview the latest content and click on the title to read the full post.


Fire Service Social Media Sites

Many Fire service websites have added social media tools to their web pages. Check for RSS Feeds, Blogs, Twitter, Podcasts, Facebook, and YouTube links.

For a listing of Fire Service websites using social media, click here

 rss feed logos

Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management
Resource Centre, Ontario Fire College 
1495 Muskoka Rd. North, Gravenhurst, Ontario, P1P 1R8