Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, Law Enforcement
Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 9:08 am Coaxing Fire and Police Staffs in Arizona to Cut Own Pensions

Bryan Jeffries of Arizona’s firefighters’ association says that emergency workers have an obligation to protect not just the public but also their cities. Credit Jarod Opperman for The New York Times

By Ken Belson
For The New York Times

PHOENIX — Bryan Jeffries, the chief of Arizona’s firefighters’ association, has been arguing to anyone who will listen that his members — and the state’s police officers, too — should volunteer to cut their own pension benefits.

Mr. Jeffries, a fourth-generation Arizonan who has been a firefighter and a city councilor, says that emergency workers have a special obligation to protect the public not only from physical peril, but also from financial ruin. Cutting pensions for firefighters and police officers would help save their woefully underfunded retirement plan and bail out towns and cities that are struggling to keep up with their mandated contributions, he says.

“It is critical for our state, for the taxpayers and for the next generation that will be here long after we are gone, that we repair this,” said Mr. Jeffries, whose group, the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, is not a union but works on political issues relevant to its membership. “I know intellectually that with these ballooning payments, I feel a direct conflict with the oath I took to protect the citizens.”

His unusual proposal has been a touchy subject for many of the people whose pensions would be cut, because defined benefit pension plans are viewed as compensation for doing dangerous work and a lure to recruit new public servants. And despite the growing shortfall in the statewide pension plan that has put stress on cities and towns, which must make up the difference, politicians have been nevertheless wary of attacking these benefits, for fear of alienating two powerful constituencies and to sidestep questions about why they lavished such generous pensions on them in the first place.

Read the full article here.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, Safety
Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 9:12 am

NFPA promotes holiday fire safety on nationwide media tour

By Mike Hazell
For NFPA Today

If you watch your local TV news this morning, there’s a chance you’ll see Judy Comoletti of NFPA’s public education division sharing tips on how to keep your holidays fire-safe. It’s all part of NFPA’s “Project Holiday” campaign, where we’re offering a free online toolkit filled with safety tips, reports, talking points, videos, and fun gift and tree tags to help your family and community understand the importance of fire safety this winter. Get all of the details on our Project Holiday page.

This morning, Judy is stationed at a private home north of Boston, and through the magic of a satellite media tour, is participating in more than 2 dozen television interviews with stations across the country.

Read more on NFPA Today.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, Law Enforcement, Safety, Safety, Training
Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 9:11 am

Strength in Numbers: fire service and active shooters

By Russ Sanders and Ben Klaene

For NFPA Journal

IN DECEMBER 13, 2012, LOCAL FIREFIGHTERS were among the first to arrive at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut, in response to a shooter in the school. As police entered the building to hunt down the gunman, firefighters helped set up a triage unit at the site to treat the injured. But no injured came. “A few times during the incident I actually [was] hoping that this area [would be] filled with injured people,” one firefighter told CNN. “But fairly early on we realized that wasn’t going to be the case.” People either got out uninjured, or they died in the school. When it was over, 20 children and six adults at the school were dead.

Ten days later, in upstate New York, a 911 dispatcher received a call from an unidentified man who claimed he was under fire. “We are being shot at,” he told the dispatcher, according to NBC News. “Multiple firemen down. Multiple firemen are shot. I am shot. I think he is using an assault rifle.”

Chiefs endorse document on active shooters
At its September 2013 meeting at NFPA headquarters, the Urban Fire Forum endorsed a position paper on active shooters and mass casualty terrorist events. The UFF Position Statement: Active Shooter and Mass Casualty Terrorist Events begins with this statement: “The emerging threat of terrorism and asymmetric warfare, specifically small unit ‘active shooter’ and improvised explosive device (IED) attacks, is a concern for the fire service. An attack by radicals armed with weapons in public areas, such as schools, shopping malls, churches or any other locations where people congregate is a real threat to a sense of security and daily lives.”
Download the position paper as well as free resources, courtesy of Chief Jim Schwartz of Arlington County, VA, to help a community prepare for an active shooter or mass casualty terrorist event.
The Urban Fire Forum brings together the fire chiefs who are responsible for protecting some of the largest urban centers in the world.

The caller was a member of the volunteer fire department in West Webster, New York, near Rochester. Firefighters were responding to a pre-dawn residential blaze in the nearby town of Webster when they were met with gunfire—a man had purposely set his vehicle and home on fire to lure firefighters and other emergency responders to the scene, where he ambushed them. Two firefighters were killed and two more were wounded in the shooting spree. News outlets quickly made the connection that the Webster gunman used the same model of military-style, semi-automatic rifle that the Newtown shooter had used.

The events of last December illustrate how local fire departments need to work with police, as well as with emergency medical services, in responding to events that include a shooter—whether the threat is known, as in Newtown, or unknown, as in the ambush in Webster. Both types are of great concern to fire and police agencies nationwide, and efforts are underway to address issues related to shooter events.

Read the full article here.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Events, Fire and Rescue, Safety
Thursday, November 22nd, 2012 8:11 am

Leatherhead Thursday: Seasonal safety

By J.R. Dennison
For the Leatherhead Instructors, LLC

Thanksgiving starts the holiday season for us and with that, comes the meals, outdoor decorations, Christmas trees, travel, and countless other things.  The holidays are typically an enjoyable time, but because of either mechanical or human error; the holiday season is also linked to a large amount of fires and accidents.

A Thanksgiving meal would not be complete without a turkey, and deep frying a turkey is becoming very popular.  There are many safety considerations that you should take note of when preparing a turkey using a deep fryer.  These are some suggestions to keep your holiday meal preparation a little more safe.

  • Keep the turkey fryer at least 20’ from any structure
  • Do not place a turkey fryer on or near a deck or any combustible/flammable materials
  • Be cautious when using a turkey fryer in the rain or snow – the moisture striking the hot oil can cause it to splatter outside of the pot
  • Make sure that your turkey is fully thawed before placing it in the hot oil; this will prevent crackling and splattering of the oil
  • Make sure that the turkey fryer is on a solid, flat, and stable surface
  • Keep people and pets away from the fryer when it is in use to prevent injuries and prevent the pot from being spilled
  • Make sure that an adult is with the fryer at all times when it is in use


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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, Law Enforcement
Thursday, September 20th, 2012 10:09 am

What’s new in Apple iOS 6 for Emergency Responders?


Apple iOS 6 for iPhone & iPad launches this week. There’s over 200 new features and enhancements, and it’s a free upgrade for everyone so the [D4H] Crew thought we’d do a run down.

1) Google Maps is Gone, Apple Maps are In
Apple have removed Google Maps from the iPhone, we assume it’ll be available as a standalone app, but when you click on an address or location from now on you’ll get Apple Maps. The big difference is vector rendering (how maps are loaded) – whereas Google has tile-based rendering. This will allow you to zoom in & out much smoother, tilt in 3D, and perform flyovers. You also get turn-by-turn navigation on iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and iPad 3. Apparently hi-res 3D flyovers will also be available for metropolitan areas – this is something we’ll keep a close eye on.
Warning: If you regularly look up satellite imagery in Google Maps to get an idea of your operating area, we don’t know what quality Apple Maps will provide yet. Make sure to pre-check your area, especially outside the US to make sure you’re not caught short on a mission. We do know Apple have licenced road network content from a SatNav provider so presumably road content will be top notch but slow to upgrade.


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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, Safety, Safety
Thursday, June 28th, 2012 9:06 am

Half of U.S. is Clueless About Emergency Notifications, Survey Finds

By Mary Rose Roberts

For Fire Chief

Federal Signal this week released its third-annual Public Safety Survey at the BE Safe America congressional briefing at the U.S. Capitol. Conducted by Zogby International, the survey provides statistics regarding Americans’ knowledge of and response to emergency notifications, including what most motivates citizens to take action.

“There was an absence of information on a national scale about people’s public-safety awareness or their own preparation [for an emergency],” said John Von Thaden,Federal Signal’s vice president and general manager for alerting and emergency systems. “We felt this information could be a tool for our customers as well as the general public-safety community.”

The survey found 71% of Americans were unsure whether a personal alerting and notification system (ANS) existed in their area, whether via telephone call, text message or e-mail. At the same time, 58% surveyed expected local communities to provide such a service.

Read more.

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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, General, Law Enforcement
Monday, May 7th, 2012 9:05 am

Until the wolf shows up…

By Lt. Michael Swiman
of the Lake Forest FD

This has been on my mind recently with all the events around the country with budgets: brothers doing harm. I had found this while doing research for a project and this resonates so true. I could have not said it any better. Please take a moment to read

“We know that the sheep live in denial; that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids’ schools. But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid’s school. Our children are dozens of times more likely to be killed, and thousands of times more likely to be seriously injured, by school violence than by school fires, but the sheep’s only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their children is just too hard, so they choose the path of denial.


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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, Law Enforcement, PPE, PPE
Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 9:02 am

Introducing the LION Tactical Rescue Stretcher

Dramatically reduces tactical extrication time

The LION Personal Issue Tactical Rescue Stretcher increases officer safety by slashing the amount of time required to extricate a casualty.

The stretcher is constructed from military grade nylon mesh and webbing and has two restraint straps. It’s strength has been tested to 1,960 lbs.

It weighs just 12 ozs. and stows in a 4″ x 6″ bag. The bag easily attaches to your ballistic vest or belt, so the tools for emergency rescue are immediately at hand.

Alternative stretchers are bulky and cumbersome. They take too long to deploy, potentially creating more casualties.


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Posted by Nick Hrkman | Fire and Rescue, Health, Health, Law Enforcement
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 8:02 am

If you could forget a traumatic memory, would you?

By Jonah Lehrer
For Wired Magazine

Photo illustration: Curtis Mann; Photo: Owen Franken/CorbisJeffrey Mitchell, a volunteer firefighter in the suburbs of Baltimore, came across the accident by chance: A car had smashed into a pickup truck loaded with metal pipes. Mitchell tried to help, but he saw at once that he was too late.

The car had rear-ended the truck at high speed, sending a pipe through the windshield and into the chest of the passenger—a young bride returning home from her wedding. There was blood everywhere, staining her white dress crimson.

Mitchell couldn’t get the dead woman out of his mind; the tableau was stuck before his eyes. He tried to tough it out, but after months of suffering, he couldn’t take it anymore. He finally told his brother, a fellow firefighter, about it.


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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, Safety
Friday, February 17th, 2012 9:02 am

Fire grants under fire

David Mulhausen, Ph.D. recently published this report criticizing the effectiveness of fire grants administered by FEMA for the conservative think-tank The Heritage Foundation:

Ineffective Fire Grants

Fire grants, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), encompass a number of grant programs. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program subsidizes the routine activities of local fire departments and emergency management organizations. The Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grants fund projects to improve the safety of firefighters and the public from fire and related hazards. Created in late 2003, the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants are intended to increase staffing levels by funding the salaries of career firefighters and paying for recruitment activities for volunteer fire departments.