National News

Friday, June 23, 2017

Texas volunteer fire department walks off after chief let go

Tuesday night the majority of the Wills Point volunteer department walked off in solidarity with Chief Ed Leipply. Leipply's family says he is touched by the loyalty, but adds the decision to walk off was up to each of the volunteers. Hee never commanded or asked them to do so. Dylan Hatten says he's always wanted to serve his community. For him, the Wills Point volunteer fire department fit the bill. "When you help someone, there is no other feeling like it," Hatten said. That's why the decision to walk off the job last night was a tough one. "We do this for free. We love it. We want to come back, but it won't be until our Chief returns," Hatten said.
KHOU-TV CBS 11 Houston

Colorado firefighter’s strangulation during training exercise calls policies into question

Jeff Gillespie can't pinpoint exactly when blood stopped flowing to his brain. The veteran Poudre Fire Authority firefighter doesn't know exactly how long he stopped breathing, either. It's impossible to say precisely how long his world went black that November afternoon when he was essentially hanged during a training accident. Gillespie went to work Nov. 19, 2016, and played the role of a victim for a practice emergency on the outskirts of Fort Collins. Then he became a victim in real life. In the seven months since that confined space rescue training, investigators have attributed missteps that nearly killed Gillespie to failures of both communication and protocol.

Connecticut Firefighter Killed In Line Of Duty Had Drugs, Alcohol In System; Inquiry Board Unaware

Kevin Bell, the first Hartford firefighter killed in the line of duty in four decades, had alcohol and a primary substance found in marijuana in his system when he died fighting a fast-spreading house fire, a state toxicology report reviewed by The Courant reveals. But the seven-member panel convened by the city to investigate the death and problems within the fire department never received the toxicology results, according to Hartford Fire Marshal Roger Martin, who was chairman of the board of inquiry.
Hartford Courant

Detroit seeks to give EMTs biggest pay increase in 45-year history

A 4 percent raise is in store for the city’s emergency medical technicians and paramedics, the largest increase in its 45-year history, officials said Wednesday. Mayor Mike Duggan unveiled the three-year collective bargaining agreement amendment alongside Fire Commissioner Eric Jones and fire union officials outside St. John Hospital on Moross. The agreement, which includes the across-the-board raises, was ratified Monday by EMS members and approved Tuesday by Detroit’s city council.
Detroit News

FDNY hits record number of black, Asian, Latino and women recruits for entrance exam

After several delays to try and attract more FDNY candidates, the filing for the city’s upcoming firefighter exam has finally closed — with historic gains in the number of African-Americans, Asians, Latinos and women who applied. The FDNY had planned to close filing on April 25 for the highly competitive firefighter entrance exam that will be given in the fall. But in an effort to boost the diversity of candidates, it extended the deadline several times, until declaring June 9 the drop-dead cut-off date. By May 8, the FDNY had nearly 52,000 applicants — but decided to delay closing to attract more. A month later, it had collected an additional 20,000 — boosting the finally tally to 72,595 applicants, the FDNY said Thursday.
New York Daily News

Thursday, June 22, 2017

NFPA President Jim Pauley addresses Grenfell Tower fire as evidence of shortfalls in addressing today’s global fire problem

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in London, where 79 people died or are presumed dead and many more were injured, serious concerns and questions around flammability of exterior cladding, the lack of fire sprinklers and the notion of “shelter in place,” among other subjects, have been brought to the forefront by the news media and the public at large. Jim Pauley, president and CEO of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), addressed these troubling fire safety issues in the upcoming edition of NFPA Journal, the association’s membership publication, which will be officially released next month.
National Fire Protection Association

Final call: Michigan fire chief laid to rest

Hundreds of police officers and firefighters from across the Midwest joined community members in Kalamazoo Wednesday to honor Comstock Township Fire Chief Ed Switalski, who was hit by a vehicle and killed last week while responding to a call. It took firefighters and police officers about half an hour to file into the Wings Event Center for the funeral. The chief was laid to rest with full honors, including the presentation of a duty medal, a bell ceremony, taps, a flag folding, a three-volley salute and his final call.
WOOD-TV NBC 8 Grand Rapids

Southern California firefighters pull in a quarter-million dollars in overtime, and then some

Except for a Vallejo firefighter who got a $2 million payout for wrongful termination, the list of California’s highest-earning public employees for 2016 is dominated by medical personnel – surgeons, physicians, psychiatrists, hospital directors – and a few investment officers from CalPERS, the world’s largest public employee retirement system. But some first responders did pretty well, too, according to the data. Michael Rubino, chief port pilot II in Los Angeles, topped the state among first responders, with pay of $582,734. Patricia Knudson, chief deputy sheriff in Riverside, was second, with pay of $505,520. Then there are dozens of public workers who more than doubled their pay with huge amounts of overtime – overwhelmingly firefighters in departments from Los Angeles to Oakland, San Jose to Orange County.
Orange County Register

Four handed lengthy suspensions following Massachusetts fire department sex scandal

Four employees of the Billerica Fire Department have been handed lengthy suspensions and one demoted following a town investigation into a months-long sex scandal, first reported in April. "All employees involved have acknowledged violations of the rules and regulations of the department and have accepted the discipline that has been imposed by the town," said Town Manager John Curran, in a statement posted to the town's website Wednesday. The town did not include the names or positions of the involved employees, but The Lowell Sun's reporting indicated three were firefighters, one a dispatcher.
The Republican

Tennessee emergency workers endangered by erratic 911 Center system, authorities say

A poorly performing computer program at the Knox County E-911 Center is placing law enforcement officers and firefighters in danger by depriving them of updated information on emergency calls, authorities said Wednesday. The $6.2 million Intergraph Computer Aided Dispatch program went online two years ago and has been problematic ever since. The maintenance contract adds more than $300,000 each year to that cost. "It was a misdesign from the start," said Tonya Cum, technology coordinator for the E-911 center. Knoxville Fire Department Assistant Chief Mark Wilbanks said the system that is supposed to provide information directly to emergency workers' computers in the field "will grey out." That deprives officers of the most recent information from 911 dispatchers of events at an emergency scene.
Knoxville News-Sentinel

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