National News

Friday, May 26, 2017

California: Inmate firefighter dies from injuries

An inmate firefighter died due to injuries sustained while working on a fire line Wednesday, according to the California Department or Corrections Rehabilitation(CDCR). According to the CDCR, the inmate, 26-year-old Matthew Beck, died after a 120-foot-tall tree fell on him while he was working on a fire line in Humboldt County. The CDCR said Beck was leading a crew that was clearing brush in an effort to contain a fire in the Hoopa area. He suffered major head, neck and back injuries when the large tree uprooted and fell on him. According to the CDCR, life-flight crews were unable to reach him in time due to the remoteness of the area where the accident occurred.

Massachusetts fire chief and union battle over ballistic gear for firefighters

Chelsea firefighters wore body armor at an active shooter incident this week in what the department’s chief believes may have been the first time Massachusetts firefighters used the gear, which is typically worn by police SWAT teams. But it almost never happened. According to an e-mail provided by Fire Chief Leonard A. Albanese Jr., the president of the union local demanded earlier this month that the vests — capable of withstanding a rifle bullet — not be used until firefighters got a full set of ballistic gear and an increase in “hazardous duty” portion of pay checks. “I request that the vests not be placed on the apparatus until we have had an opportunity to impact bargain these changes,’’ firefighter Antonio Salvucci wrote in the May 4 e-mail. “In addition to the financial compensation, the local requests the proper training in use and capability of this equipment.’’
Boston Globe

Washington paramedic accused of stealing drugs from ambulances

A West Pierce firefighter is accused of stealing various prescription drugs from ambulances and replacing it with saline to support his addiction. The 42-year-old paramedic was arrested Thursday and booked into Pierce County Jail on suspicion of unlawful possession of a controlled substance. He is expected to appear in court Friday. “There’s a lot of mixed emotions right now in our department,” Chief Jim Sharp said. “You don’t expect this from one of your co-workers. We’re in a position where we hire trustworthy people and you entrust them with a lot of things. We’re frustrated and saddened.”
The News Tribune

Virginia Fire Department launches community paramedicine program

The Alexandria Fire Department (AFD) announced the launch of a Mobile Integrated Health/Community Paramedic (MIH/CP) program. MIH/CP is a unique and evolving model of community-based health care, focusing on improving the lives of patients, lowering healthcare costs and using EMS providers as resources to solve healthcare problems within the community. The Community Paramedic (CP) is the key to delivering this new model of healthcare. Using the existing Fire & EMS dispatch and communications systems, 24/7 staffing, familiarization with vulnerable populations, and the advanced skills of veteran paramedics and firefighters, the CP provides scheduled medical care to patients who lack access to primary care, mobility and/or transportation, or who need help navigating to medical and social services.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Texas Firefighters Plan to Challenge Houston Pension Reform

The Texas House sent Houston's pension reform package to the governor's desk Wednesday, marking what Mayor Sylvester Turner hopes is the beginning of the end of a 16-year fiscal crisis, and giving him a landmark achievement in his second year in office. Turner, who has made passing the reforms the centerpiece of his tenure, alternated between grins and gravitas Wednesday night. He cheered the bill's passage, but also warned that more work lay ahead, a clear nod to a series of referendums looming this fall. "There is no challenge that this city cannot address, no mountain we cannot climb if we stand together," the mayor said, flanked by dozens of police and municipal workers, civic leaders and senior aides.

South Carolina fire chief proposes 24/7 paid coverage

Inman Fire Chief Chris Cothran said Tuesday the city council should begin thinking about funding a 24/7 fire department. At Monday’s budget work session, Cothran proposed $243,000 in new funding to pay for roughly 10 firefighters to cover two 12-hour shifts, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. He said the number of volunteer firefighters has dropped in recent years, jeopardizing quick response times to a fire. And that could cost lives, he said. “Volunteers are hard to get,” he said. “I’m just trying to close the gap and provide better protection.” Councilman Ray Rogers was the only member who responded to Cothran’s proposal. “This is the first I’m hearing about increasing staff of the fire department,” Rogers said, noting it would take a more than 20-mill tax increase to fund Cothran’s request. “It did catch us off guard. In concept, that’s certainly an admirable goal.”

$3 million program would help Chicago police, fire, paramedics buy inner-city homes

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday took a page out of former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s playbook, creating a $3 million program to help up to 100 police officers, firefighters and paramedics purchase homes in “targeted” Chicago neighborhoods. Daley did the same thing in the early 1990’s with only mixed results. The program was championed by Daley’s then-Budget Director Paul Vallas, who would go on to become CEO of the Chicago Public Schools. Vallas is now a top administrator at Chicago State University. Now, Emanuel is offering up his own “public safety officer homebuyer assistance” program in a two-fold effort to improve public safety in neighborhoods plagued by gang violence and rebuild long-neglected inner-city neighborhoods.
Chicago Sun-Times

Indiana first responders receive emergency doses of naloxone

First responders in Miami County have access to more of the overdose-reversing antidote naloxone than ever before after officials received 50 dosages last week from the state’s emergency stash of the drug. The Indiana State Department of Health last year set up emergency caches of naloxone kits at five sites around the state in the event first responders ran out of the drug and were unable to obtain it through normal means, according to ISDH Director of Public Affairs Jennifer O'Malley. The Peru Fire Department requested the kits last Tuesday to replenish the county’s stockpile. Now, the fire department has distributed the kits to the Miami County Sheriff’s Department and volunteer fire departments stationed around the county to fight the spike in opioid overdoses.
Kokomo Tribune

Ohio firefighter shows strength of brotherhood through kidney donation

It’s no secret that firefighters have a special relationship. They spend every other day together and rely on each other to have their backs. Two firefighters from West Licking Fire Department are proving that bond goes further than just the firehouse. One man needed a kidney, so another firefighter gave him one. Seth Coakley found out he had a rare kidney disease nearly 13 years ago and he struggled to talk about it. He didn’t want to ask for help so he didn’t. When his health took a turn for the worst he finally told the brothers at the fire house. Their quick response was overwhelming and it ultimately landed him the kidney he needed. “In our profession you hear about the brotherhood all of the time.” For Dan Alward, that brotherhood goes beyond a fire call.
WCMH-TV Columbus

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