National News

Friday, May 24, 2019

Illinois House sends bill increasing fines for ’Slow Down or Move Over Law’ violations to governor

A bill that would increase penalties for Scott’s Law violations has passed both chambers of the General Assembly. Democratic Rep. Marcus Evans, of Chicago, said the 2002 “Slow Down or Move Over Law” was passed in memory of the death of Lt. Scott Gillen, a firefighter who was killed by a passing motorist while assisting a traffic accident. Senate Bill 1862 passed the House unanimously Thursday. “First responders of Illinois, the message is clear,” Evans said from the House floor. “The Illinois General Assembly wants you to make it home safely.” Evans’ legislation increases fines and creates a fund to better educate motorists on safe driving procedures when passing first responders, Department of Transportation workers, tow trucks and law enforcement that are stationary on the side of the road.
Northwest Herald

Florida fire department taking over water rescue program, move aims to save more lives

VIDEO: Soon, fire fighters will be the only first responders rescuing people from Panama City Beach's Gulf waters. Right now, police officers, firefighters, and parks and recreation officials all share the responsibility. Handing the torch to the fire department aims to save more lives in the end. It's a trend throughout the state. "We're very excited at the opportunity. Chief Whitman has had this program under his watch for years and this is a new opportunity for us," Panama City Beach Fire Chief Larry Couch said. Around $600,000 a year will be moved from the police department to the fire department. With six new hires already, 12 more firefighters will join the team. "Our city is growing, we're adding a new fire station, [and] we're adding 18 firefighters total. This is a new direction for our fire department, and we're very excited about it," Couch said. It all aims to save more lives. All fire fighters will be cross-trained to fight flames and save distressed swimmers.

Mural tells Maine Fire Department’s history

A new mural at the Ogunquit Fire Department -- a colorful, expansive depiction of three key moments in the department’s long and proud history -- will be unveiled after Monday’s Memorial Day Parade. The mural is the result of a collaboration between Nathanael Pierce, a firefighter and paramedic, and local artist John Stand, who owns Out of Sight, Out of Mind, a gallery at 622 Main St. “It has been a really good experience,” Pierce said of the project. “A lot of people have commented how (the mural) lightens up the inside of the department -- it makes it more friendly, instead of just having gray walls and red trucks. It gives a little more depth as to who we are, and what we’re here for, and where we come from.” Pierce came up with the idea of painting a mural inside the station following the recent completion of a new office there. The office resulted in a large, white wall that was slated to be painted gray, or some other formal, mute color, according to Pierce.

Wisconsin governor backs legislation regulating emerging contaminants known as ’forever’ chemicals

An emerging class of toxic chemicals is getting more attention in Madison as worries about contamination from the compounds is growing in Wisconsin. Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, said Thursday he was supporting legislation to give state regulators more enforcement powers over the chemicals. Also, two Republican legislators — Rep. John Nygren of Marinette and Sen. Rob Cowles of Green Bay — indicated that they would be advancing a more limited bill that would curtail the use of the chemicals in firefighting foam. The legislation is coming amid rising national concerns about a group of compounds known as perfluorinated chemicals, sometimes called “forever chemicals” because of their difficulty to break down in the environment. Frustrated that federal regulators are not moving fast enough to establish standards that would limit amounts that humans could be safely exposed to, states are now taking matters into their owns hands.
Journal Sentinel

More than a 100-year-old fire badge discovered, returned to California family

Something more than 100 years old was discovered in the north Valley: A Merced Fire Department badge from 1916. This badge has great significance to the city of Merced. It belonged to a volunteer firefighter and on Thursday, it was returned to his family. "One of my neighbors found a Merced fire badge that was dated 1916 and had the fella's name on it," says Lloyd Pareira, Merced County Supervisor for District 4. Pareira says when he first saw this badge, he was puzzled because he didn't know where to start looking for the owner. "So, Sarah Lim at the county courthouse did research and figured out who it was and stayed on it and found out he still has family living in the area," he explained. Lim works for the Merced County Courthouse Museum. She says she never gave up and eventually was able to put the pieces together and contact a relative. "He was so excited because he told me he heard stories from his grandma about his great grandfather being a fireman. A volunteer firefighter for the city of Merced," Lim says.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Police, firefighters get hands-on training with self-driving shuttles set to debut in Florida community

A man walked directly into the path of a bus in Lake Nona on Wednesday. The 15-passenger self-driving shuttle came to a halt and let out a loud beep – preventing a collision and turning heads from the firefighters in attendance. The demonstration was part of a training session meant to teach Orlando’s first repsonders how to handle emergency situations involving Beep autonomous vehicles, soon to hit the roads in the southeast Orlando community. Beep, an Orlando-based company, plans to introduce the shuttles later this summer. During Wednesday’s training, Orlando Fire Department and Orange County Fire Rescue crews, along with Orlando Police Department officers, got hands-on experience with the vehicles, learning how to enter the passenger area and manually operate and disable the shuttles’ automated driving system, said Beep CEO Joe Moye. Orlando joins a number of cities adopting autonomous vehicles, including Gainesville, Jacksonville, Detroit and Las Vegas, after city officials studied the technology for years as a solution to mobility and traffic safety.
Orlando Sentinel - Metered Site

Proposed tax credits might help attract volunteer firefighters in southeast Wisconsin

As communities in southeast Wisconsin continue to grow, so does the need for volunteer firefighters. Fire Chief Tim Allen of the Union Grove Yorkville Fire Department has been in the business for decades, so firefighting is in his blood. "I grew up in this business. My dad did it for 34 years, so I have been here since I have been a kid," said Allen. He said over the years he has noticed the number of volunteer firefighters decrease and the call volume increase. Allen said the reason the number of volunteers across the state and nation is decreasing is due to the increase in training. "Everybody is facing the same problems. I haven’t heard of anybody that says, 'Oh, we got a ton of people,' " said Allen. To help recruit and retain new volunteer firefighters, state Sen. Patrick Testin and lawmakers proposed a bill called the B.R.A.V.E Act. "We have roughly 863 fire departments here in the state of Wisconsin, and 701 rely solely on volunteers and an additional 100 rely on part-time volunteers. The vast majority of our fire departments are dependent on men and women who volunteer their time to protect our communities," said Testin.
WTMJ-TV NBC 4 Milwaukee

First responders in Missouri use phone feature to help save lives

According to some Heartland first responders, a feature on your smart phone could save your life. “Medical ID” shows information about your health, especially important if you’re ever unresponsive or unable to communicate. “Everybody never thinks it’s going to happen to them until it’s done,” said Quentin Goode, Stoddard County Ambulance District EMT and Strike Team. He’s referring to needing emergency medical assistance for any reason. That’s when the “Medical ID” phone feature comes in handy for first responders. “You pretty much are going into it blind. So not knowing any of the patient’s information, whether their allergic to something to any medication that we’d be giving in route," he said. Captain Jamie Holcomb, EMD, EMT-B for Stoddard County, described it like a tech-savvy medical bracelet. “In the event that a person’s unresponsive, this can be a vast amount of knowledge into a person’s medical history,” said Holcomb.
KFVS-TV 12 CBS Cape Girardeau

How a trip inside a volcano helped a San Francisco man create new firefighting technology

VIDEO: New cutting-edge technology to help firefighters and first responders was developed right here in the Bay Area. It's called "C-Thru" and it allows firefighters to see through thick smoke when battling fire -- and a man from San Francisco came up with the idea. The Menlo Park Fire Department has tried the technology and say it's a game changer. During testing, this technology shaved off minutes of their response time, and that could be the difference between life and death. Behind the technology -- a trip inside a volcano. “While we were inside this active volcano, our team of 60 folks as we were trying to navigate inside the volcano couldn't see where we were going and it presented a hazard,” said the man behind the technology, Sam Crossman. Inside that smoke-filled volcano nearly five years ago, Crossman realized a need to restore vision in high stress, hazardous conditions, not just for volcano explorers but also for firefighters, especially after his own scare last year at his Russian Hill home.
KRON-TV 4 San Francisco

Ohio firefighter remembers the accident that changed firefighting forever

It was an accident that changed policy and the way firefighters protect us. Four Cincinnati firefighters were putting out a fire 28 years ago, when all of a sudden the ladder they were on snapped. Almost three decades later, for the first time, one of those firefighters is talking about that day and the changes that followed. Don Roper remembers that day like it was yesterday. It was a two-alarm fire at an abandoned home in the scorching heat. The mission for Roper and his men seemed simple -- put out the fire and make sure no one was inside. But no fire is ever routine, and July 21, 1991, was proof of that. While Roper and his men from Ladder No. 4 were trying to get to the roof of the Corryville home, the unexpected happened.The wooden ladder Roper and three other firefighters were climbing broke in two. In an instant, all four men fell almost 20 feet to the ground. Suddenly, firefighters coming to the rescue needed to be rescued. Roper said it all just happened so fast -- but he remembers every second.
WLWT-TV NBC 5 Cincinnati

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