National News

Friday, January 19, 2018

White FDNY lieutenant in iconic 9/11 photo files discrimination claim against head of black firefighter group

AN FDNY lieutenant immortalized in a photo at Ground Zero has filed a complaint against the head of the fraternal group representing black firefighters, sources told the Daily News. Lt. Daniel McWilliams, who is white, filed the equal employment opportunity complaint after he appeared as part of the ceremonial unit at a memorial service Nov. 19. McWilliams was one of two white members of the six-person ceremonial crew that day. He did not particpate in the service, sources said, and later complained about Vulcan President Regina Wilson. It was not clear what McWilliams and Wilson did or said to prompt the disagreement. The FDNY confirmed that a complaint had been filed but would not discuss it further. "The matter is under investigation," said Jim Long, a FDNY spokesman.
New York Daily News

California sheriff grabs control of air rescues in turf war with fire authority

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has taken over the county’s helicopter rescue operations after talks disintegrated with the county fire authority in the turf war over who should conduct air rescues. Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said this week that her department has not renewed an agreement that named the Orange County Fire Authority as the primary agency in handling air rescues in remote wilderness and park areas. Though that arrangement worked for years, with the Fire Authority handling rescues in the county, in the past two years the two departments have clashed, with Sheriff’s Department helicopters and Fire Authority helicopters jockeying in the air to be the first to arrive at wilderness rescue calls. The feuding has led to dangerous confrontations between the two agencies during rescues and has set the stage for a potential collision. The fighting has become so heated that firefighters have accused sheriff’s pilots of harassment.
Orange County Register

Virginia Fire Department’s new vending machines don’t dispense candy – they provide medical supplies

Vending style machines are making an appearance at Chesapeake fire stations, but they are not there to supply the firefighters with chocolate bars and soda. The machines at three stations are part of a new, secure, web-based vending system for medical supplies. Chesapeake is the first fire department in Hampton Roads and just the fourth one in the commonwealth to adopt the supply dispensing system UCapIT. The system allows fire chiefs to better track dollars and to cut out delays in the supply chain. The vending machines were installed at Station 4 at Lenore Trail in Greenbrier, Station 5 at Hanbury Road in Great Bridge, and Station 12 on Taylor Road in Western Branch. Fire Department Captain Greg Noel said the new vending system began in December and makes the supply of medical equipment to firefighters more seamless and efficient.
Virginian Pilot

Ohio ambulance service revamped for quicker response times

The City of East Liverpool is getting closer to having the area’s first public-private ambulance service. This comes after several incidents where no ambulance was available for emergencies — some of which ended in tragedy. East Liverpool’s fire crew is looking forward to the department’s new additions. This spring, the city could see new firefighters, paramedics and ambulances that are run through a partnership with a local ambulance company. “The problem right now is you have three ambulance companies and they all do transports for hospitals, nursing homes, that kind of stuff and there’s where the bulk of their money comes from,” said Safety Service Director Brian Allen.

Signs point toward California city reactivating fire department

San Bernardino County Fire was welcomed this week to submit its second “best and final offer” to the city for handling services beyond June 30, when its contract officially expires. But elected officials were still proceeding with plans to reactivate a city-run department. Mayor Pro Tem Jim Cox was clear to temper Tuesday evening that an absolute decision had not been made, a suggestion that the Council still maintained a collective open mind to renewing a contract with County Fire. Yet signs have begun to point to Victorville returning to a city fire department for the first time in a decade, which city officials said would save money over time. By a 4-1 vote, the Council agreed to the most clear-cut indication to date that the front-runner was the in-house option: It directed staff to “begin steps to implement” a city-run fire department and approved job descriptions, an organizational chart and a budget amendment necessary to prepare for such an overhaul.
Daily Press

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Louisiana deputy chief dies after being struck while working at accident scene

The deputy chief of the West Feliciana Fire Protection District was killed Wednesday morning north of St. Francisville while responding to a crash on U.S. 61, according to State Police and Fire Protection District No.1 of West Feliciana. Deputy Chief Russell Achord, 48, of St. Francisville, was responding to an 18-wheeler that had run off the side of U.S. 61 due to icy conditions when the driver of a Dodge Ram pulling a trailer, crashed into the first scene, striking Achord, said State Police spokesman Senior Trooper Bryan Lee. Achord died of his injuries. Lee said 51-year-old Robert McCoy, of Tallulah, lost control of the Dodge Ram as he approached the crash scene on the icy road. Fire Chief James Wood, of Fire Protection District No. 1 of West Feliciana Parish, said the pickup crashed into the 18-wheeler and another emergency vehicle, hitting Achord and other first responders.
Baton Rouge Advocate

Phoenix Fire Department increasingly taps taxis to take 911 callers to hospital

In Phoenix, not every medical 911 call results in an ambulance ride to the hospital. Sometimes, the fire department calls for a taxi to take the person to the hospital instead. The number of taxi rides is growing — overwhelmingly so for people in poor neighborhoods — as fire officials wrestle with more calls and limited resources. The little-known operation, known as the taxi-voucher program, is billed as a way to tend to medical transports not deemed emergencies. Taxi vouchers are paid for by the city and cost a fraction of an ambulance ride.
Arizona Republic, & KPNX-TV NBC 12 Phoenix

Texas Department Places ’Blocker’ Apparatus in Service

Firefighters and other responders working on some of the busiest stretches in Texas now have an added level of safety with apparatus that were recently placed in service. The Irving Fire Department has placed two “blocker” apparatus in service and the department will be adding three more blocker units in the coming months. The department covers 39 miles of major thoroughfares and responds to an average of 850 accident scenes that require blocking annually. Fire Chief Victor Conley said, “It took two years to get that program going, but it’s been great.” Irving currently operates from 12 fire stations housing 12 engine companies, five truck companies and 10 mobile intensive-care units protecting 237,000 residents in 67 square miles.

The effect of repeated exposure trauma on firefighters

Many research studies have focused on firefighter mental health challenges due to a sinAcross the country, firefighters are responding to fewer fires but are increasingly called upon to provide Emergency Medical Services (EMS), perform search and rescue, and react to hazardous materials incidents and natural disasters. They come across a wide variety of tragic situations that play out in or around their homes, along highways, and in every other conceivable part of their communities. RET — the cumulative effect of regularly caring for the broken bodies and wounded minds of victims and their families — is thought to have a negative psychological impact on firefighters’ own mental health.
U.S. Fire Administration

California Supreme Court refuses to reinstate San Francisco firefighters’ award

The state Supreme Court refused Wednesday to reinstate a San Francisco jury’s $3.7 million damage award to 15 firefighters who claimed age discrimination in the city’s scoring of a 2008 exam on promotions to lieutenant. The Superior Court jury agreed with the firefighters in 2013 that the Fire Department’s exam unit had weighed some parts of the test more than others, and ranked the test-takers, in ways that were unrelated to fitness for the promotion, and that had an adverse effect on applicants older than 40. Jurors awarded the 15 plaintiffs damages for lost pay and emotional distress.

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