National News

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Boston fire chiefs concerned about carbon monoxide poisoning in schools

Fire chiefs renewed warnings Tuesday that students across the state face risks of carbon monoxide poisoning because of a gap in regulations that effectively allows many older school buildings not to install detectors. Any new school constructed with state funds must include carbon monoxide monitoring technology, but that mandate does not apply to existing structures because students do not stay overnight. Several bills before the Joint Committee on Education would amend those rules and require every district to ensure detectors are present in every building, something public safety officials called a necessary step. "No parent would expect their child to go to school without a fire alarm," said Douglas Fire Chief Kent Vinson. "That's an enemy we can see. We can see fire, we can see smoke. Carbon monoxide is odorless and tasteless. It'll take you before you even realize."
Lowell Sun

VIDEO: Cal Fire uniform changes are on the way - what do you think of the new look?

Big changes are coming to Cal Fire this year, especially when it comes to those iconic red and yellow colors. Over the next 6 months, Cal Fire will be making changes to their uniforms including updated shirts and a new style of pants. However, they say this isn't a fashion update, it's all meant to better protect firefighters while they work. "Fighting fire at 103 degrees, 105 degrees, 107 degrees with double layers, your body's just keeping the internal heat. So the pants and the shirt change will hopefully help to reduce some of that internal core temperature by a few degrees," said State Rank and File Director for Local Cal Fire 2881 Darren Dow. Dow says the growing heat and intensity of wildfires across the state every year has been causing more heat related issues for firefighters than in the past. That's why they're making big changes to the uniforms, starting next month.
KRCR-TV ABC 7 Redding

Bringing back Sharon’s bell: Pennsylvania firefighters to restore city’s historic symbol

A piece of Sharon's history has finally found a new home, but firefighters need help getting it there. Sharon's 1,700-pound bell hung at West State Street and South Water Avenue for more than 30 years before it was taken down in March 2016 to make way for a metal sculpture designed and fabricated by local students. The bell has a special meaning for Sharon firefighters, including fifth-generation Sharon firefighter Paul T. McSherry. "When I walked past it to work every day, I tapped the bell and asked my dad to keep us safe that day," McSherry said. "One day the bell was gone. It was put into the city garage and was buried." McSherry's father, Paul E. McSherry, who served 32 years as Sharon's fire chief, used to ring the bell to alert the city of a fire, as his father and grandfather before him.
The Herald

Female firefighters in Florida participate in study for new gear

VIDEO: The number of female firefighters is growing in Orange County and across the country, but what's not changing is the way their gear fits -- until now. Thanks to efforts from researchers from more than a dozen universities across the country and the female voice, a study is underway to make sure firefighters can do their job without fear their gear will interrupt their duties. Shannon Zielonka has been a firefighter with Orange County since 2012. Her uniform is her bunker gear, and it's gear that is made to protect her while she's protecting the community. There is nothing wrong with the gear she wears on a daily basis and during her 24-hour shifts. It is tailored to her height and waist, but that's about it. That's why she's taking part in the study. It consists of placing small blue stickers on parts of hands and fingers along with certain parts of her body. A hand and full body scan will document exact measurements to help create a bunker suit specifically for women's body types.
WKMG-TV CBS 6 Orlando

San Francisco firefighters learn Spanish to save precious time in emergencies

On a Wednesday morningin the middle of July, class is in session at San Francisco Waldorf High School. "So, Ha pasado antes? Has it happened before?" But, these students aren't teenagers, they're first responders, learning Spanish one phrase at a time. "Yo soy bombero. Que tal?" "Today is my off duty day," said Lam. "I live not too far from here. So it's nice to roll in, in my flip-flops and learn a little Spanish." Lam already knows English and Cantonese. "I can run calls in Chinese and take care of people," said Lam. "But, Spanish. It's like a complete different language." Teacher Dino Rosso who teaches Spanish here in the school year gears this class to making sure first responders can act fast in emergencies. Firefighters do have access to translator services. But, knowing the language can save precious time.
KTVU-TV FOX 2 Oakland

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Michigan fire department enlists aid of cancer-sniffing dogs

The mental and physical anguish of being a firefighter can extend far beyond the day-to-day routine. Whether they attend to large building blazes or conduct medical checks in what can be unsterile environments, these first responders continually put themselves at risk of contracting what could be a multitude of diseases. That is why the Clinton Township Fire Department recently aligned with a Canadian detection screening service called CancerDogs. Based out of Quebec and started back in 2010, the service uses specially-trained dogs to detect the odor of all types of cancer present in a person’s exhaled breath. Screening trials commenced in 2011. Four trained dogs are able to detect a general cancer odor composed of metabolic waste products. The dogs are trained via a library of breath samples collected from people diagnosed with cancer, but not yet treated. Abnormal or precancerous cells are also able to be detected.

PG&E using satellite technology in time for 2019 California fire season

VIDEO: Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is using first of its kind satellite technology with the goal of being the first to know when a wildfire sparks. With the 2019 fire season underway, PG&E has launched their wildfire tracking system, using heat sensored satellite technology to better track wildfires. According to the utility company's spokesperson, Paul Moreno, PG&E has devoted several years of testing and development to incorporate the wildfire detection and alert system. Just as Cal Fire and people who live in California have had to adapt to the "new normal" of devastating wildfires, so have they. In many cases the satellite system is expected to provide an early, if not the first, indication of an incident. According to PG&E, it works by incorporating data from two new GOES satellites, as well as three polar orbiting satellites, to provide PG&E with advanced warning of potential new fires.
KRCR-TV ABC 7 Redding

Montana to commemorate 70th anniversary of Mann Gulch tragedy

The 70th anniversary of the Mann Gulch fire tragedy in Montana won’t go unmarked. The U.S. Forest Service and its partners, including the Museum of Mountain Flying, are formulating plans for a public event on Monday, Aug. 5, near the Meriwether Picnic area at the Gates of the Mountains north of Helena. Twelve young Missoula-based smokejumpers and fire guard Jim Harrison of Missoula lost their lives when the routine wildfire blew up on Aug. 5, 1949, in the steep, rocky gulch 40 miles north of Helena. The jumpers were flown to the fire on a Johnson Flying Service Douglas DC-3, N-24320, which has gained recent fame as Miss Montana. The airplane was resurrected by the Missoula flying museum and flown to and from Europe in May and June to help commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the 70th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift.

D.C. Fire and EMS continues to push diversion program meant to reduce non-life threatening calls

If you call 911 in the District, chances are you may not always get an ambulance. “In the past, we would always have to transport no matter what,” said Captain Richard Hall with Engine 2, in Chinatown. “It wasn’t even a question of what the emergency was." The fire department is one of many stations within the city that is working with the Right Care, Right Now nurse triage diversion program, meant to reduce calls that first responders don’t always deem life-threatening. “We are overtaxed and the emergency departments in the city are also overtaxed,” said Dr. Robert Holman, medical director for D.C. Fire and EMS. He said that instead, patients are being diverted to clinics and rideshares as part of the diversion program that launched a little more than a year ago. Holman said the city realizes that many people of the older generation may have some hesitations against the program but the hope is that the program will continue to change that habit and expose patients to the nurse line.

Fire department agreement could cut staffing levels in Connecticut city

The city and firefighters’ union have agreed to a memorandum of understanding that changes the future staffing distribution of the New Haven Fire Department and creates a potential path to cutting required staff levels. As compared to the collective bargaining agreement that expired in June 2018, the agreement mandates two squads, tactical and special operations companies, each be replaced with a Heavy Rescue/tactical company and an additional Advanced Life Support, or ALS, unit, bringing the department’s total to three. Under the agreement, Fire Chief John Alston can, as an alternative, instead choose to decrease the number of firefighters required to be on shift at one time from 72 to 69 by eliminating the department’s ALS units, then, picking one of two options: ensuring the department has 60 medics to staff 10 paramedic engines or deciding to “drop or pause ALS service.”
New Haven Register

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