National News

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Veteran firefighter and 2-time chief of Florida fire department dead at 91

Miles Richard Bowers' first job as a firefighter in 1948 was to help tackle one of Jacksonville's worst fires at a paint factory. One of his last jobs was in 2003 when he was named the city's fire chief for the second time. He had previously led the department from 1984 to 1988. Bowers, who served longer than any other firefighter on the force, died Tuesday after a stroke. He was 91. His son, Rick Bowers, became a firefighter like his father and remembers how "everyone who knew him, loved him." "But he loved the fire department. It was not just a job, it was a passion," his son said. "He wanted to serve. He wanted to make it better. ... He even invented a few tools when he was in the shop to make things easier. He ate, lived and breathed fire department."
Jacksonville Times-Union &

Public Safety Advocate: One Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN)

The recent milestone of all 50 states and 5 of the 6 U.S. territories having opted in to the FirstNet NPSBN is significant and signals widespread support for nationwide public safety interoperability never before possible. It has always been FirstNet’s goal to convince all the states and territories to opt in to the FirstNet network. FirstNet was created for public safety by Congress as recommended by the 9/11 commission. Communications failures during 9/11, Katrina, and Sandy finally brought to light the lack of interoperability between public safety agencies and departments. While public safety has been struggling with this lack of interoperability for more than 30 years, until these disasters, elected officials and the citizens were unaware of the situation.

Firefighter, police and EMT: Wisconsin town’s volunteers triple up on public safety duties

In Palmyra, Wisconsin, a town of about 1,800 people, a firefighter is a police officer is an EMT. They're hiring people to be public safety officers and do every job. If you're sick or hurt and you call 9-1-1, you want someone there quickly. Across the country, budget cuts are making it more difficult to staff departments and keep up with demand. Palmyra doesn't have many emergencies, but when they do, the expectation is the same. "When you're in that situation, you want them there, you know, yesterday," said Heidi Deuster. Public Safety Director James Small does all three jobs himself. He said the Public Safety Model makes sure someone is there quickly.
WTMJ-TV 4 Milwaukee

Helmet camera records Georgia firefighters catching children trapped on balcony during fire

VIDEO - Fire crews in DeKalb County are investigating what caused a massive fire at the Avondale Forest Apartments that displaced dozens of families. The two alarm fire in Decatur damaged more than twenty units one week ago. "We never know from shift to shift what we're going to end up with so it pays for us to be ready," said Eric Jackson with Dekalb County Fire. Captain Eric Jackson said the blaze jumped the fire wall in one of the buildings and nearly took the lives of one family trapped on the third floor. A helmet camera captured the heroic rescue and shows firefighters tossing and catching children that were trapped on a balcony. "Initially their first thought is to put water on the fire that is until they hear screams coming from the balcony," said Jackson.
CBS 46 Atlanta

Judge sets two sessions for state of New Jersey, Atlantic City firefighters to negotiate cuts

Attorneys for the state and the city firefighters union will have two court-approved mediation sessions this month to try to resolve issues regarding salary cuts and a possible 10 to 12 more layoffs. Both parties were back in court Wednesday, as Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez reviewed state-proposed staffing and salary cuts for the Fire Department in the ongoing case between International Association of Fire Fighters Local 198 and state. In December, Mendez delayed ruling on a second round of budgetary cuts proposed by the state to hear the department’s injunction request. Mendez in March 2017 allowed the state to make changes to the firefighters’ contract, including changes to hourly scheduling and health-insurance coverage, and cut staff 25 percent and pay 20 percent.
Press of Atlantic City

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

’I Thought I Was Dead’: Girl Rescued From House Destroyed by Mudslide in California

VIDEO - A 14-year-old girl was one of several people rescued by firefighters who fanned out across a flood-ravaged Santa Barbara County community after a night of powerful downpours and mudslides. The girl was trapped for hours in the home, destroyed by mud and debris flows that were powerful enough to move boulders, fire officials said. Firefighters slogged through deep mud to pull 14-year-old Lauren Cantin, covered in mud and taken away on a stretcher, from the rubble. It was a moment to cherish in what was a devastating day for the community northwest of Los Angeles, where at least eight people were killed in the first major storm of the season in Southern California. Lauren was located with help from search dogs, who worked tirelessly alongside firefighters throughout the morning to find trapped residents.

After heading Pennsylvania fire company since 1971, ’old-school’ chief steps down

Unique. Dedicated. Old-school. A straight-shooter. Quite a character. Those are just some of the ways people describe Al Ewing Sr. Ewing joined the Fawn No. 2 volunteer fire company when he moved to the township from Arnold in 1966, and had been its chief since 1971. At the end of 2017, Ewing stepped down and let a younger generation take over. But even at 80, almost 81, he's not done. He remains on board as an active firefighter. “I'll let somebody else be the boss, and I'll be the follower,” he said Tuesday. “I don't give orders now. I take them.” Ewing and his wife of 57 years, Lois, have together been the core of Fawn No. 2 for decades. She had long-served as the company's financial secretary, and resigned at the end of the year.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

New Jersey firefighter’s family lives in firehouse after blaze consumes home

Last week, a South Jersey firefighter arrived at a fire call to find his very own house consumed by flames. Five days later, he and his family are trying to pick up the pieces, and fortunately, they are getting some much-needed help. The donations have been pouring in so quickly that Stephanie Penwell doesn't even know where to start. The Penwell's lost everything when their Southampton home went up in flames last Wednesday. "It's been amazing," said Stephanie. "We have clothes for pretty much all of our members of our family." The Tabernacle Fire Department is where her husband, Volunteer Firefighter Jason Penwell, works. It is also where the family is currently staying.

Heated negotiations between California county and firefighters coming out of deficit, critical report

The County of Kern will go into negotiations with its fire union in the next few weeks, if not the next few days, and the stakes will be high. On Tuesday Kern County Supervisors received a report from the Center for Public Safety Management that called for major changes in funding, operations, contracts and administration at the Kern County Fire Department. And it triggered passionate discussion. Kern County firefighters ripped into the report, and into supervisors, at the Tuesday afternoon meeting. They said county supervisors are trying to beat them down, fund public safety by cutting their pay and benefits, and will ultimately make Kern County less safe for citizens.

In response to rising toll of active shooter and hostile events, NFPA to fast-track a new standard for unified response

A rise in active shooter incidents and the escalating impact of hostile events has prompted the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to process NFPA 3000, Standard for Preparedness and Response to Active Shooter and/or Hostile Events as a provisional standard, which means it would be available for use as early as April, 2018. As part of the standards process, NFPA 3000 is now open for input until February 23, 2018. This marks only the second time in NFPA’s 121-year history that provisional standard status has been authorized by the NFPA Standards Council. Provisional standards are developed when there is a serious life safety concern that warrants an abbreviated standards development process. The typical standards cadence is condensed so that a standard can be issued in a shorter time period in the interest of the public; and in this case, first responder safety.
National Fire Protection Association

5 fire service trends to watch in 2018

Constant innovation and improvement – these are just a couple of buzzwords that can be used to describe what’s trending in firefighting services and products. I asked my contacts on LinkedIn what’s new in the fire service that has positively impacted service delivery capabilities, and what they would like to see in the way of new products, equipment or technologies to improve service delivery. And my LinkedIn connections never fail to let me down! Here’s what they identified as some of the biggest trends in the fire service, in their own words. 1. Fire Suprression Equipment “Over in my little niche (industrial firefighting), TFT introduced the Hemisphere Portable Monitor. It is extremely flexible in the way it can be secured to piping, hand rails, even a receiver on a pick-up truck.

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