Posted by Francesca Solano | Events, General, News, People
Friday, November 21st, 2014 11:11 am

United Way and LION Team Up for Family This Holiday Season

From the United Way of the Greater Dayton Area

Vandalia-based LION, a world leader in the delivery of equipment and training solutions for fire departments, worked with United Way officials to adopt a special family this holiday season with a child suffering from a rare, debilitating illness.

Each year, as part of their annual United Way campaign, employees at LION adopt at least one family for the holidays as part of their LION Cares program.  United Way officials connected with the Epilepsy Foundation of Western Ohio, a United Way Partner Agency, and learned about a local girl who is suffering from a severe case of epilepsy and whose father is a firefighter.

Graeson Riley Rutmann was born on March 11, 2013 with a rare seizure disorder called Ohtahara Syndrome.  This severely progressive form of epilepsy affects newborns, usually within the first few days of life.  Seizures caused by this form of epilepsy are nearly impossible to control with medication, and the progressive nature of the disorder causes many children to die from it before the age of three.  Treatment is possible, but these children will be totally dependent on others, as their brains make little developmental progress.

Graeson’s father James Rutmann works full time as a firefighter and her mother Claudine works with a local health clinic – providing cost effective care to those in need.  The family is hoping to raise enough money to supplement their income so Claudine can work only part time.  The extra hours available in her schedule will be used to not only ensure that Graeson can receive proper care and attention but also attend to the active lives of their other older daughter and son, Dylan and Ian.

LION employees were happy to work with United Way of the Greater Dayton Area and Epilepsy Foundation of Western Ohio to make the Rutmann family’s goals a reality.  Steve Schwartz, 4th generation family owner of LION and CEO said: “Being a good corporate citizen is a core value of our company.  Graeson’s situation hit all of us very hard as parents and as members of the fire service family.”  Through this collaboration, we will raise awareness in our community about epilepsy and Ohtahara Syndrome and Graeson will be able to continue her fight while under the care of her mother and family.

To learn more about Graeson’s story, visit

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, People
Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 10:06 am

Baptism by Fire: A New York Firefighter Confronts His First Test

By N.R Kleinfield

For The New York Times

IN THE HUSHED DARKNESS of a chilly night, a fire truck carrying six men rolled toward its Brooklyn firehouse. They had just finished up at a women’s shelter, where steam wisping from an iron had set off an alarm. Not much to it. There had been a few other runs for Ladder Company 105 — a gas leak, a stuck elevator — but for Jordan Sullivan, another 15-hour shift was unspooling without what he so eagerly awaited.

A fire.

In his 96 days in the field as a firefighter, a probie out of the Fire Academy — the Rock, as it’s familiarly known — it had not happened. Around the firehouse, the veterans continually swapped fire stories. That was how they both taught and regaled one another, and the stories were good ones. He could not contribute. He hadn’t had a fire.

Sometimes a probie goes on the maiden run of his career and, bam, a fire. Usually, in New York, it happens during the first few tours. Maybe it takes a week or even a month. But 96 days — nearly triple digits! That was ridiculous.

Probies take a lot of ribbing, part of the subculture of being a probationary firefighter, and it was a running joke about how Jordan Sullivan could not catch a fire. The others would say drolly, “Well, I know I’m not going to a fire tonight, Jordan’s here.”

Fires happen all the time in New York. On average, the Fire Department responds to 68 structural fires a day, most of them minor, but usually eight to 10 that qualify as serious. Fires everywhere, and yet after 96 days Firefighter Sullivan kept wondering, “When’s it my turn?”

Read the full article here.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, Health, People, Safety
Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 11:05 am

Trouble in Mind: Behavioral health in the fire service

By Janet A. Wilmoth

For NFPA Journal

KYLE IENN WAS ONE OF THE NEW BREED OF FIRE CHIEFS. A 23-year member of the fire service, he led a progressive volunteer fire department in his hometown of Ralston, Nebraska, a suburb of Omaha. He was active on the state and national level with the Nebraska Fire Chiefs Association and the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ Volunteer Combination Officers Section. He served the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s “Everyone Goes Home®” program, an initiative to prevent firefighter line-of-duty deaths and injuries. As founder of the Nebraska Serious Injury & Line of Duty Death Response Team, Ienn was first on the scene to help fire departments with the death of a firefighter.

In a 2010 interview for, when asked what kept him motivated, Ienn replied, “Knowing I have helped someone.”

On the morning of January 31, 2012, just days before his 41st birthday, Ienn’s body was found hanging from a bridge in an Omaha park. A fire department vehicle was parked nearby. Omaha police concluded that Ienn committed suicide. He left behind his wife, who worked as an administrative assistant with the fire department, and three teenaged children, two of whom participated in the fire department’s Explorer program.

The suicide of an active, high-profile chief sent a shock wave through the nation’s fire service. Deaths like Ienn’s, along with “suicide clusters” in recent years involving firefighters in metropolitan fire departments around the country, have focused increased attention on behavioral health problems—alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among them—affecting first responders, primarily firefighters and emergency medical service (EMS) personnel. While empirical data on the problem remains scarce, there are suggestions that behavioral health problems among emergency responders may be widespread; studies have found that as many as 37 percent of firefighters may exhibit symptoms of PTSD. Compounding the problem is a lingering stigma that can make it difficult for emergency responders to acknowledge behavioral issues like depression, whether it’s their own or that of a colleague.

Read the full article here.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, People, Safety, Training
Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 10:04 am

Building a Better Definition of Fire Attack

By Shannon Pieper


Culture of safety vs. culture of extinguishment. Offensive vs. defensive operations. Interior vs. exterior fire attack. The classrooms of fire service conferences, the pages of trade journals, and the kitchen table conversations of stations across the country have been filled over the past five years with a heated debate about the changing fireground and whether traditional tactics need to change as well. Some see the introduction of new tactics such as transitional attack as a failure to live up to the fire service’s sworn mission; others argue such tactics are not new at all. Bring up positive pressure ventilation and flow paths, and the conversation becomes even more complex.

“If you ask people what they mean by ‘fire attack,’ that can mean 20 different things to 20 different people,” says Chief Rick Mueller of the Waterford (Wis.) Fire Department, who retired recently as a battalion chief from the West Allis (Wis.) Fire Department. He sees the debate as less of a controversy and more of a misunderstanding. “If I qualify what fire attack means, now it locks me into behaviors that some people don’t necessarily want to be accountable for.”

For Mueller, defining what fire attack is—specifically defining its various stages—is essential to ensuring that the fire service doesn’t continue to lose and damage firefighters to preventable line-of-duty deaths. “Today, science has caught up to our tradition,” Mueller says. “Science is saying to us, maybe you should think about the way you think about fighting fires. Because that will in turn affect what we actually do; it will affect our behavior.”
Read more.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, Health, People
Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 10:03 am

How to lead your department through a LODD

By Dennis Rubin


By the time a person has struggled to the top firefighter position, that member has managed a lot of issues. It is likely that the fire chief has experienced about everything under the sun.

Whether managing a complicated administrative process or handling a complex emergency response, the hope is that the chief has been there and done that, at least once.

According to NFPA figures, there were more than 370,000 structural fires in 2011. In addition to fires and rescues, each year career and volunteer fire chiefs oversee some type of budgetary and other administrative processes.

As the chief settles into the “routine of the position” (if there is such a thing), there are not too many surprises happening in the corner office. Then, on the most horrible day of an entire fire service career, the department experiences a line of duty death.

I don’t know anyone who has the experience to be comfortable handling a LODD. After the initial shock and stress of learning that a member’s precious life has been lost, time will seem to speed up and the department will be tested to its breaking point.

Continue reading.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, People, Safety
Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 9:03 am

Changing the Culture of the FDNY

By Shannon Pieper

For Firefighter Nation

When FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano first met Ron Siarnicki of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), the FDNY was reeling from the tragedy of September 11. So many officers had been killed that day, it was the equivalent of 4,400 years of experience disappearing. “Some people didn’t think the department could come back,” Cassano says. “But Ron did.”

That was the beginning of a long relationship between the FDNY and the NFFF, one that Commissioner Cassano—speaking Monday evening at the Firefighter Life Safety Summit in Tampa—credited with changing the culture of the fire department and, ultimately, saving lives. He shared the department’s progress in part because “now we’re ready to pay it forward, to help everyone else,” but also because he believes that if cultural change can be enacted in the largest fire department in the country, it can happen anywhere.

Convincing the Masses
Not surprisingly, when as chief Cassano began working with the NFFF to stress the importance of safety, he faced some pushback from FDNY members. “One of the things we had a problem with was [the attitude], ‘Is safety going to trump everything?’” he says. “And the answer was yes—but we’re still firefighters. We still have people to save. You can still be brave, dedicated, but we just want you to do it a little safer.” Cassano believes that this approach, echoed by leaders across the department at every opportunity, was key to gaining buy-in with the members.

Another key: ensuring that the safety effort was carried out sincerely, with one goal—making members safer. “When people understand that their safety, their wellbeing, the wellbeing of their families, is important at the top levels of the department, you start to get buy-in,” he says. “Every speech I give, every speech the chief gives, the most important thing we stress is safety.”

Read the full article here.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, News, People
Thursday, January 30th, 2014 10:01 am

Boy who died saving relatives from fire laid to rest as ‘firefighter’

By Chris Boyette


Friends and relatives Wednesday paid their respects to Tyler Doohan, the 8-year-old upstate New York boy who helped rescue six relatives from a fire but then perished while trying to save his grandfather.

In a Mass at St. John of Rochester Catholic Church, Tyler was honored with a firefighter’s funeral. The funerals of two other relatives who also died in the fire were held at the same time.

The church was filled with mourners, including basketball players from Wisconsin Silver Lake College, who were so moved by his story that they traveled to New York to be pallbearers.

In addition, firefighters from multiple jurisdictions stood at attention in Class A dress uniforms as bagpipers played traditional music, as is customary when a firefighter is laid to rest.

Read more.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, People
Friday, December 27th, 2013 11:12 am

How Education Helps Beyond the Fire Service

By Anthony S. Mangeri

For FireRescue

Two pieces of advice from my father have always stuck with me. The first was that there is a tool for every job. The second is simply that every professional understands the value of their tools and can identify the right tool for the job.

A Profession in Transition

When it comes to the fire service, education is the tool for transitioning throughout your career. There’s no doubt that education provides opportunities to maintain a productive lifestyle. Beyond the tactical training we go through to learn how to better protect our communities, it is education that provides an opportunity to really professionalize the service. Having an educated workforce raises the organizational capacity to provide service within the community and to address dynamic and ever-changing threats.

As the fire service transitions from a trade to a profession, academic degrees, such as associate, bachelor’s and even master’s degrees, are becoming more commonplace. They are often requirements now to advance from firefighter to specialist, officer and eventually chief fire officer.

Further, the value of education is not just in training for a career but also in developing learning, critical thinking and writing skills. Education provides the knowledge to manage budgets, develop public education programs, integrate technology and articulate the department’s needs within the administrative structures of government. There are no tactical classes that will teach an officer these day-to-day duties that are not only vital to the operations of a fire department but can also have a significant impact on the community.

Continue reading.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, News, People, Performance
Monday, December 23rd, 2013 11:12 am

Firefighter develops award winning mobile app

By Chris Arnold

NBC News

Firefighters across the country deal with the daily struggle of responding to the scene of a fire. For smaller or volunteer departments, that challenge is amplified. However, a fire captain in Hesston has found a way around this obstacle.

Captain Stephen Owens and his partner, Carlos Fernandez Jr. developed a mobile app called Page-Out.

The app took about a year and a half to develop and was launched in September.

Owens says the app serves a practical purpose.

“You can now know in a moments notice exactly who is available and who is not available,” said Owens.

This allows for response times to be almost cut in half. The average response time for a volunteer fire department is between 6 to 12 minutes. Owens says the use of Page-Out would cut response times by the same amount of time for any additional resource dispatched to a fire scene.

“Without Page-Out, you just had to go through the process, you had to go to the scene, you had to assess your needs and whether you needed other resources,” said Owens.

Read more.

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Posted by Francesca Solano | Fire and Rescue, General, News, People
Thursday, December 12th, 2013 9:12 am

Accident crushed firefighter’s body, not his spirit

By Brendan Milewski

Special to CNN

Editor’s note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle — injury, illness or other hardship — they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn’t know they possessed. This week we introduce you to Brendan Milewski, who bravely served in the Detroit Fire Department for over a decade before one act of arson ended his career and changed his life forever.

When people find out you’re a firefighter, the first question they ask is: “What made you join the fire service?”

This is typically followed by: “My dad, grandpa, or uncle was on the job.”

That wasn’t the case for me. Instead, interest in a career in public safety came in waves throughout my adolescence. I assure you, I am a first and last generation firefighter.

It first started at age 13, when I was spending the night at a friend’s house in the neighborhood where I grew up. After seeing an ambulance race down the street, we went outside to find the house two doors down on fire. The closest fire company hadn’t arrived yet.

I had a front-row seat to the entire scene. I heard the sirens, smelled the smoke, saw the rigs arrive, and watched as these courageous men entered the house and pulled three people out of the fire.

Continue reading.

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