National News

Friday, February 23, 2018

National Data Shows Firefighters’ Mental, Emotional Health Not Getting Enough Attention

In his more than 25 years as firefighter in Stamford, Connecticut, Capt. Jacques Roy thought he could handle anything – until the smoke cleared from a devastating fire that killed three children and their grandparents. “I was the guy who couldn't hack it. I was the guy who needed help. I never thought it would be me. But it was me,” says Roy. Roy and his team were among those who pulled bodies from the ashes of the fire on Christmas Day 2011 at the home of fashion executive Madonna Badger. “When we respond to a call, we always have to suppress our emotions and use our logic and our past experiences to perform our job,” he explains. “If they’re very strong emotions, sometimes we never get to process them. So we wind up with fragments of an incident left over.”
NBC New York

Washington state’s first career female firefighter dies of cancer

Washington state's first career female firefighter has died of complications from cancer at the age of 64, the Bellevue Fire Department announced Wednesday. Jeanette Woldseth, a retired fire captain with the department who became a professional firefighter in 1977, died Monday afternoon. “Captain Woldseth was truly a ground-breaker, not only in the Bellevue Fire Department, but within the larger firefighter community,” said Bellevue Interim Fire Chief Todd Dickerboom. “She paved the way for so many women who came after her. We’re all deeply saddened by this loss. Jeanette was a very talented, wonderful person.” He said Woldseth came from a long line of firefighters in her family. Her grandfather served with the Seattle Fire Department and her father was a volunteer captain with the Bellevue Fire Department, serving for 25 years.

Drinking at Cal Fire academy brings down 14 more firefighters

For the second time in three years, Cal Fire is cracking down on alcohol consumption at its training academy in Amador County. This time, it’s disciplining 14 firefighters who were supposed to stay sober during their six weeks of training at the Cal Fire Academy in Ione. Cal Fire Deputy Director Michael Mohler announced the discipline on Thursday. It stemmed from a report the academy received in September about several firefighters allegedly drinking alcohol outside of the campus. Mohler said the department’s investigation is not yet complete, but it’s moving forward with disciplinary actions that range from warning letters to demotions and termination.
Sacramento Bee

Fees case may enable U.S. Supreme Court to curb union power

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday will consider for the second time in two years whether to choke off a critical funding stream for public-employee unions, potentially reducing organized labor’s influence in the workplace and at the ballot box. The nine justices will hear a challenge backed by anti-union groups to the legality of fees that workers who are not members of unions representing teachers, police, firefighters and certain other government employees must pay to help cover the costs of collective bargaining with state and local governments. About two dozen states require payment of these so-called agency fees, covering roughly 5 million public-sector workers, that provide millions of dollars annually to unions.

Arizona firefighter, who rescued man from house fire, awarded Medal of Valor

A firefighter with the Peoria Fire-Medical Department received the National Medal of Valor award from President Donald Trump Tuesday. Stephen Gunn, a department engineer, received the award in a White House ceremony for rescuing a man from a burning house in April 2016. The Peoria Fire-Medical Department, along with other jurisdictions, responded to the house fire near 75th Avenue and Thunderbird Road. The first reports indicated the incident was a home invasion and arson fire, which spread quickly through the house, Tim Eiden, a spokesman for the Peoria Fire-Medical Department said in a press release.
Arizona Republic, & KPNX-TV NBC 12 Phoenix

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Chicago Firefighter Seriously Injured After ’Mayday’ Called in Apartment Blaze

A firefighter was in serious condition after being pulled from a South Side building following a "mayday" call Wednesday afternoon. Chicago Fire Media tweeted a mayday for a lost firefighter was called around 1:30 p.m. in the 4300 block of King Drive in the Bronzeville neighborhood. The fire was reported on the fourth floor of an apartment building, where a firefighter became "disoriented" in heavy smoke and was separated from his company. "When they got to the fourth floor they realized the heavy smoke was starting to bank down on them," said Deputy Fire Commissioner William Vogt.
NBC Chicago

San Francisco firefighters sue amid tangled charges of harassment, station affair

Six former commanders and two firefighters at a San Francisco fire station who were reassigned amid a sexual harassment investigation in 2016 sued the city Wednesday, saying they were discriminated against because the alleged harassment victim was having an affair with a battalion chief. Firefighters at Station 2 on Powell Street in Chinatown were accused of waging a three-month campaign of sexual harassment against a female co-worker starting in late 2015, in which they allegedly taunted her, urinated in her bed and smeared feces in her bathroom. Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White later ordered the transfer of all command officers from the station, citing “egregious harassing and retaliatory behavior” by firefighters at Station 2 that created a “hostile work environment based on gender,” according to a confidential document obtained by The Chronicle.

Arizona fire department saves money by building own ambulance with local companies

Buying local to replace an aging ambulance has provided big savings for an Arizona fire department. Yuma Fire Chief Steve Irr discovered a new unit typically costs $210,000. But Irr and Fleet Manager Floyd Friar instead elected to save the city of Yuma about $70,000 by buying a new chassis from an auto dealership and then paying other businesses to finish outfitting the vehicle, which includes a gurney to load patients. The new truck came from Alexander Ford, and the vendors who provided their expertise included Tom's Paint and Body, Chassis Dynamics, which did the suspension work, and Sign Masters, which handled the graphics, the Yuma Sun reported.
KNXV-TV Channel 15 ABC

FDNY firefighters union says ex-leader sold out members by taking city job

A former FDNY union head has pissed off rank-and-file firefighters by selling out — and now they are suing to get back some of his pay, saying he violated their contract. The Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York is suing its longest-serving president for switching sides to take a cushy job running the city’s Fire Department Pension Fund. Stephen J. Cassidy, 67, was raking in a $130,000 salary from the union while collecting $90,000 in annual pay from the FDNY. But he stepped down from the union gig in 2016 to take a $212,000-a-year job as executive director of the pension fund.
New York Post

As Massachusetts city builds new police headquarters, firefighters seek answers on station conditions

As the city moves forward with its plans to build a new Police Department headquarters, some Medford firefighters say the needs of their department are not being adequately addressed. Firefighters Eddie Buckley and James Flynn from Medford Firefighters Local 1032 spoke at the City Council’s Feb. 13 meeting about what they described as inadequate maintenance of fire stations, outdated fire apparatus and insufficient involvement of firefighters in the city’s plans to construct a new training tower and fire headquarters. “The city is putting a Band-Aid on this stuff,” said Buckley, the president of Local 1032.
Wicked Local Medford

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