Dominick and Alicia Rhodes have had blue tarps covering the roof of their Florida home and a firetruck in their front yard since Hurricane Michael devastated their rural inland county 10 months ago.
The couple — who have three kids, maintain two full-time jobs and work as volunteer firefighters in their spare time — are now caretakers of one of the Mossy Pond Volunteer Fire Department fire engines because the firehouse where they once stored their trucks and equipment was obliterated by the storm.
The three other fire engines and two brush trucks that service this part of the county, a rural area of about 14,500 people a little more than 40 miles inland from Panama City, Florida, rest in other volunteers' yards.
Most of the eight members of the all-volunteer fire department balance full-time jobs and families. The lack of a firehouse complicates how they coordinate responding to medical calls, car accidents and wildfires in a part of Calhoun County where the closest ambulance and hospital is a 25-minutes away.
The Baltimore City Fire Department plans to cut down on the number of firefighters responding to initial calls, a move that isn’t sitting well with the firefighters’ union.
Currently, five engines, two trucks, two battalion chiefs and a medic unit are dispatched when a call comes in.
Come September, though, that number will shrink as the department tests reducing initial responding units to three engines, one truck and one battalion chief.
The department hopes this will help medics respond to more calls.
“We’re looking at the fact if we can utilize more resources towards ems as far as trying to get ourselves in this position to be able to tend to the people of the city as well as visitors of the city,” said Fire Captain Roman Clark.
WJZ-TV CBS 13 Baltimore
On August 24th, 2009, the City of Buffalo lost two members of its fire department during a building fire. In the days that followed, firefighters from across the country came to Buffalo to honor Firefighter Jonathan Croom and Lieutenant Chip McCarthy.
Members of the Washington, DC Fire Department's Pipes and Drums band played the funerals, and formed friendships with some of the Buffalo firefighters. At the time, Buffalo didn't have its own Pipes and Drums band, and shortly after, firefighters who worked with Croom and McCarthy formed what eventually became the Greater Buffalo Firefighters Pipes and Drums Band.
"I'm not Irish, I'm not Scottish. I'm a German kid from Polish Cheektowaga. And I'm playing the bagpipes. But it's because of what happened," explained band manager Michael Kick.
WKBW-TV ABC 7 Buffalo
A new club at Hempfield Area High School could help bridge the gap between a lack of volunteer firefighters and a younger workforce.
The Public Services Club is headed by biology teacher, volunteer firefighter and paramedic Justin Heddinger. The organization will introduce students to careers like volunteer firefighting, police work, emergency management, EMS and 911 dispatchers.
“It kind of was a solution of why don’t we start this club … to help gear (students) toward the goals they want, and this way they can learn if they like it or don’t like it,” Heddinger said, adding that the club will give students real life experiences to help make a decision about specific careers.
Proposed by Hempfield resident Scott Graham and approved unanimously by the school board Monday, the club is set to start this school year.
After three consecutive and horrendous years of wildfires, there is an important shift going on this year in firefighting.
Cal Fire, Contra Costa Fire, Orinda-Moraga Fire, East Bay Parks, East Bay MUD, Lawrence Berkeley Lab and many others mean to keep their hills firestorm free.
As we've covered the enormous brush clearing project stretching 17 miles from Berkeley to Lafayette, we could not help but notice crews wearing gear that reads 'Firestorm'.
"You know, they're working hard. They're working long hours. They're you know, away from home usually," Jess Wills, President of Firestorm Wildland Fire Suppression, Inc.
The 25-year-old Chico-based company of 300 employees is just one of eight such companies in the nation dedicated to all aspects of preventing and fighting wild fires.
KTVU-TV FOX 2 Oakland