National News

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tragic lesson inspired new Nevada fire chief

Shawn White was working as a 28-year-old paramedic when he was called to the home of a young family. As he rushed past the balloons, presents and baby shower decorations he found himself by a backyard pool where all eyes were on an unconscious 2-year-old boy. “The father grabbed me by both arms, looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Save my son,’ ” White said with tears in his eyes. “At that moment the weight of the job hit me. I realized that all of his hopes and dreams were in my hands.” Although White and his crew were unable to save the child’s life, he learned an important lesson: “This job is too important to just be OK at,” White said. “You have to be exceptional or else you can miss a window of opportunity.” His passion for the job is part of the reason why Henderson City Manager Bob Murnane named White as the city’s 11th fire chief on Tuesday.
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Texas becomes largest state to make FirstNet ‘opt-in’ decision

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott today announced that he has accepted the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) deployment plan offered by FirstNet and AT&T on behalf of his state, making Texas the 21st state—not including two territories—to “opt-in” to the FirstNet system. “The safety and security of Texas communities is my number-one priority, and I want to provide our first responders with the best technology possible,” Abbott said in a prepared statement. “As we saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, our first responders are often the last and only hope for safety in rapidly-changing and life-threatening situations, but this partnership with FirstNet and AT&T, allows Texas’s fire, police, EMS and other public-safety personnel to be better equipped when responding in these emergencies.”
Urgent Communications

Rhode Island city has been without a permanent fire chief for more than two years

More than two dozen individuals have applied to lead the Providence Fire Department over the last two years, but the city still hasn’t found its next chief. Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare confirmed this week the city has offered the job to “a few” candidates, but none of them have been hired. He also said there are finalists for the position, but declined to offer a clear timeline for naming a new chief. “As I’ve given a public date in the past and it didn’t come to fruition, I cannot pinpoint a start date at this time,” Pare wrote in an email. “Working to find the right fire chief expeditiously.”
WPRI-TV Providence 12

North Carolina city’s council reverses course and restores benefits for first responders

Two weeks ago, city council members raised the ire of police officers and firefighters with a unanimous vote that would have changed the city’s employee benefits plan and reduced their holiday pay and vacation time. But on Tuesday, after an apology to city employees from City Manager Ruffin Hall, the mayor and council members unanimously approved an amended benefits plan. It will increase the number of hours the city’s first responders are paid for holidays and how they accrue vacation time, along with changes to their sick leave policy.
News Observer

Bees, angry man with shovel stymie Massachusetts firefighting efforts

Angry bees, low water and a disturbed man armed with a shovel were all hazards firefighters had to deal with on Tuesday while they tried to fight a fire on an island in the Sudbury River. In the end, firefighters decided to let the rain extinguish the fire, Deputy Fire Chief Mark Leporati said. Firefighters got the call about the fire on the island in the Sudbury Reservoir off Central Street around 10 a.m. A campfire had gotten out of control and spread to a dead tree. Things quickly began going wrong, the deputy chief said. “It was very weird and unusual,” said Leporati. “There were a lot of issues.” The first glitch occured when the boat that firefighters deployed got stuck in shallow water. The department had to put a second boat in the water and a firefighter had to shimmy on his stomach to the boat, hook up a rope and pull the first boat back into deep water.
Metro West Daily

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Texas firefighter dies in accident while driving tractor to help Harvey flood victim

Houston firefighter Brian Sumrall, described by friends and co-workers as "an amazing person" on Sunday, was in the midst of doing what set him apart: helping others. He was traveling southbound on FM 770 about two miles from the rural town of Batson in a Kubota tractor when he was hit from the rear by a Chevrolet pickup driven by Joe Patton, 35, of Hull. Sumrall, 39, was ejected from the tractor and died at the scene. Patton suffered minor injuries. According to Chief Fred Yust with Batson Fire Department, Sumrall's last act was in service to his community. He was on his way to load hay into the vehicle of a cattle owner impacted by Hurricane Harvey flooding.
Houston Chronicle

’It was time to get him’: Washington chief rams gate to save man from pit bull attack

A fire chief said he had to take matters into his own hands when a UPS driver was attacked by pit bulls. Orting Valley Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Steve Goodwin said he rammed a gate when someone at the house refused to open it. The rolling chain-link gate in question is back upright now after the Fire Department crashed through it Wednesday. Pierce county animal control said 911 received a frantic call from a UPS driver that he was being mauled by four pit bulls. He said he was injured and seeking refuge atop a 4-foot trailer.

Bulletproof body armor and helmets coming to Florida paramedics

Broward County’s firefighter-paramedics are used to wearing protective gear for battling blazes. Now they’ll be getting new protection — body armor vests and helmets — for when they’re assisting victims in incidents involving guns or other dangerous weapons. It’s a sign of the times, officials say, with the proliferation of active shooter and mass casualty cases across the country, including deadly incidents at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in January and at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando last year.
Sun Sentinel

Report: Houston Fire Department has inadequate equipment to handle floods

A City of Houston Hurricane Harvey Preparation Plan, obtained by Channel 2 Investigates, shows the Houston Fire Department has shockingly little flood rescue equipment, and it appears to have contributed to millions of dollars in losses for the city in totaled fire trucks. “The reason I think we sank six engine companies is (that) they’re not built for a high-water environment,” said Houston Fire Chief Sam Pena. The Houston Fire Department lost 28 pieces of equipment during the storm, including six engines, which cost about $500,000 each to replace. Four “boosters," smaller trucks with on-board water supplies, are also total losses.
KPRC-TV NBC 2 Houston

NFPA launces Policy Institute to support fire and life safety efforts

The National Fire Protection Association announced the launch of the NFPA Fire and Life Safety Policy Institute. The Policy Institute will look at a range of issues and advise policymakers on how to improve safety for their citizens, according to NFPA. “We have made tremendous progress in reducing loss from fire since NFPA’s inception, but we are painfully reminded every day that there is more to be done,” NFPA President Jim Pauley said. In 2016, the NFPA said that U.S. fire departments responded to a fire every 24 seconds, and one structure fire was reported every 60 seconds.

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