National News

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Efforts underway in New York to build firefighter cancer registry amid observed link

No one knows how many firefighters have been diagnosed with cancer in the country, let alone the state or Dutchess County. In the past five years, officials from the state to firemen associations, have recognized the prevalence of the cancer risk that career and volunteer firefighters face. And different organizations are taking steps to quantify the problem. On Oct. 17, 2018, the state Volunteer Firefighter Enhanced Cancer Disability Benefits Program, regulations proposed by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, went into effect. It allows volunteer firefighters to file a claim that they had been diagnosed with cancer relating to their fire service. The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Fire Prevention and Control will be able to see how many claims were filed at the end of the year.
Poughkeepsie Journal

Words Matter: How to Safely Communicate About Suicide - Free Webinar, November 21

The public safety sector—including fire service, law enforcement, EMS and corrections—has made significant gains in raising awareness around suicide among first responders. But did you know that sometimes the very messages used to promote awareness can cause harm and undermine suicide prevention efforts? Fortunately, there is a safe way to talk about suicide. Public safety professionals of all ranks and positions can learn to convey messages of hope and resiliency and promote positive, help-seeking behaviors. This webinar, brought to you by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and Lexipol, will share actionable steps public safety professionals can take to create honest, empathetic, effective messages that support departmental prevention efforts and focus on solutions. A significant portion of the webinar will be set aside for audience Q&A.

1 million dollars for a fire truck? Yup, and here’s why

The Lewiston Fire Department’s new Engine 3, a Pierce Ascendant with aerial ladder, is an impressive beast no matter how you look at it. But the rig cost the city nearly $1 million dollars and there are people who want to know how this truck is better than the old one, which lasted the city 22 years. Lt. Rick Emmons is more than happy to help with that. The new truck is going to help firefighters work faster and more efficiently, he says, and in a vast variety of ways. It starts with the heavy-duty aerial ladder, 107 feet long compared to the old truck’s 75-foot ladder. “It’s much bigger than the old truck’s,” Emmons says. “It’s not always the height that we need. Oftentimes it’s the horizontal reach. We’re often the second or third to the fire and we have to park back a bit. We need that extra length to get to the buildings.” That massive reach has already been put to good use, as it happens.
Sun Journal

New protocol allowing firefighters to leave scene to be tested in North Carolina

All members of the Medical Control Board voted to start testing a pilot program that would allow Charlotte firefighters to leave the scene of a call if the patient is OK and MEDIC is already on its way. "You call 911 and you're going to get a red truck coming pretty fast in a short time frame,” said CFD Chief Reginald Johnson. “But there are non-emergency calls -- foot injuries, back injuries where the person is in a stable place at home but still wants to be transported to the emergency room. That could be one of those type of calls." Johnson said the new protocol would free up his firefighters, so they can respond to more serious, life-threatening calls, like cardiac arrests, car wrecks and seizures. Charlotte resident Shay Morgan suffered a seizure and said it required a response from first responders. "They actually took me to the emergency room and I actually had to stay in the hospital a couple of days," said Morgan.

New Jersey firefighters battle four-alarm blaze live on A&E’s "Live Rescue"

No one was injured Monday night as Paterson firefighters battled a structure fire on Rosa Parks Boulevard that spread to an adjacent building. The fire was broadcast live on national television as part of a three-hour version of A&E's "Live Rescue." Paterson Fire Chief Brian McDermott told TV viewers, "We had a pretty advanced fire on arrival. ... We had a collapse of the main fire building." Ten to 15 people from four families were displaced by the fire, according to Red Cross New Jersey and the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office. Just before "Live Rescue" wrapped up its coverage at midnight, Capt. Arthur Woods told A&E that crews were able to contain the fire to the two buildings and keep it from spreading to more buildings on the block.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

At wake for Worcester Fire Lieutenant, firefighters from across Massachusetts begin a hero’s sendoff

It was the beginning of a hero’s sendoff. Worcester fire officials promised Tina Menard and her three children a hero’s sendoff for Lt. Jason Menard. It’s a promise no fire department wants to fulfill, and one Worcester firefighters have had to deliver eight other times in the last 20 years. Firefighters, police officers and paramedics from across Massachusetts lined up outside Mercadante Funeral Home in Worcester on Sunday afternoon, paying their respects to Menard, who was killed in a four-alarm fire early Wednesday morning at 7 Stockholm St. Menard, 39, has been called a hero by fire officials and residents alike - as flames overtook the third floor of the building around 1 a.m. Wednesday, Menard pushed fellow Ladder 5 firefighter Chris Pace out a window to safety.

Philadelphia Fire Department hires 100 firefighters, reopens companies

The firehouse on Foulkrod and Darrah streets in Philadelphia's Frankford section has been without its engine for a decade, leaving some neighbors feeling vulnerable. "Because of all the families that are around here, all the people around here, they need the engine to save lives," said Sylvia Pickens, who lives across the street from the firehouse. During the recession in 2009, the Philadelphia Fire Department made cuts to save money, eliminating engines from firehouses in Frankford, Roxborough, Old City and South Philadelphia. "It really was a terrible time in the fire department because when you lose an engine, when you lose any kind of firefighting asset, it affects the whole community," said Deputy Commissioner Craig Murphy. "In my 32 years, a company that was decommissioned has been recommissioned."
WPVI-TV ABC 6 Philadelphia

After the gas explosion: North Carolina fire department report recommends more firefighters

A recent report on the Durham Fire Department’s response to the April 10 gas explosion downtown could bolster the department’s request for 75 more firefighters. The Fire Department has about 385 people who fight fires. Having more would improve response times and on-scene efficiency, reducing injuries and property loss, according to a presentation the department gave the city in March, about a month before the explosion. The City Council approved an initial three new positions at a cost of $248,011. A six-year plan to hire all 75 firefighters would cost $4.8 million. “I am very interested in seeing their request come back to us, and I am sure we will look at it favorably,” Mayor Steve Schewel said in an interview Monday.
The News & Observer

Court rules corporations can be on hook for costs of fighting California fires

Corporations can be held legally responsible for the state’s costs in investigating and fighting fires that are carelessly started or spread by corporate employees, a state appeals court ruled Monday. There has been no dispute that corporations can be required to pay compensation for deaths, injuries and property damage from fires caused by their employees, the source of at least $18 billion of the debt that drove Pacific Gas and Electric Co. into bankruptcy. But corporate responsibility for the state’s firefighting expenses is a separate issue governed by state laws, whose meaning is a subject of disagreement among appellate courts. A state appeals court in Sacramento ruled in 2017 that the laws did not authorize the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or CalFire, to recover costs from corporations whose employees may have negligently caused wildfires.
San Francisco Chronicle - Metered Site

Firefighters suffer from higher rates of PTSD; Can greyhounds help?

Capt. Shawn Campana needed an escape. The stress and pressures of working in Miami-Dade Fire Rescue were beginning to weigh on her. Enter Charlie, a 3-year-old Greyhound she adopted in 2015. “There’s light again,” Campana said of Charlie, “and there hasn’t been in some time. He was the only thing that made that happen.” Four years later, she stood next to Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and County Commissioner Sally Heyman as the trio announced the expansion of the K9 Response Program. The program, which Campana started in 2016, is designed to help first responders cope with occupational stress and victims in crisis situations. As a former firefighter, this program holds special place in Gimenez’s heart. “I know firsthand how tough it can be to see the loss of life that we often have to face,” Gimenez told reporters Monday at Haulover Park in Northeast Miami-Dade. The program, a leader across the nation, has two functions.
Miami Herald

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