National News

Friday, February 16, 2018

Washington fire department’s air packs found to be clear of contaminants

Spokane firefighters may soon breath easy again after a recent round of testing determined there are no contaminants in the department’s air tanks. The test results, announced by the city Thursday morning at a news conference, come from health consultant companies Veritox, Inc. and TRI Air Testing, which both found no traces of toxic metals in firefighter’s self-contacted breathing apparatus (SCBA) bottles. Further testing from Veritox determined it was unlikely that firefighter personnel were exposed to contaminants in the past. “Basically every component of the process was able to be evaluated,” said Randy Marler, president of the Spokane Firefighters Union. “And it all came up clear. There were zero contaminants in any of the air.”
The Spokesman-Review

New York firefighters support legislation on EMS billing

Several Long Island elected officials and volunteer fire service leaders expressed support Thursday for legislation that would allow fire departments to bill insurance companies and government benefits programs for emergency medical services. Tom McDonough, former chief of the Port Washington Fire Department, said the measure would generate needed revenue — and ultimately save lives. Many departments are facing tight budgets as well as an increase in medical response calls, McDonough said during a news conference Thursday at the Port Washington Fire Department. Some departments have been forced to cut back or eliminate EMS services. If that trend continues, there could be longer response times during medical emergencies, he said. His department has felt budget pressures due to a decline in volunteers that has forced it to hire professional paramedics.

North Carolina fire chief on diversity: ‘I want to be inclusive’

Charlotte's fire chief sat down one-on-one with Eyewitness News to talk about his mission to push for diversity. This comes days after firefighters packed City Hall, standing united against more claims of unfair treatment of minorities. Chief Pete Key said the department is taking a grassroots approach to recruiting and that wherever he goes, he does his best to bring people into the department. "I'm at car washes. I'm at Walmart. I'm at Harris Teeters. If I'm in line and a guy, a person, is working, I'm going to start talking about the fire department," Key said. Recruiting diverse candidates is the city's top priority for the Charlotte Fire Department. Eyewitness News reported last year on concerns over the lack of diversity within the department and the number of minorities being promoted. When former Chief John Hannan retired, Key stepped up and revived initiatives to boost diversity.

West Virginia teen accused of stealing fire department truck, claiming to be chief

A teen investigators say stole a fire department vehicle is behind bars. Kanawha County Sheriff's deputies say Aubrey Turley III, 18, of Uneeda, is charged with grand larceny. Turley was arraigned Thursday afternoon by a Kanawha County Magistrate. According to a criminal complaint, Turley stole a pickup truck from the Alum Creek Volunteer Fire Department Thursday morning. A deputy brought the chief to the scene, and the chief overheard Turley making a patently false claim while he was in custody. "His response was he didn't steal it, he was the fire chief, and it was his truck," Chief Jim Oldaker said. "It was kind of funny where I actually happened to be standing there when he said that." Turley's bond is set at $25,000 property or 10 percent cash. Turley left his own vehicle in the parking lot of the fire department. Deputies later found the truck and arrested Turley in Dunbar outside of a home that deputies say he falsely claimed was his own.

Florida EMS Chief: PulsePoint app turns citizens into lifesavers

Ordinary citizens are being called on to help save lives in Sarasota County with the aid of a smartphone app that notifies users when a person nearby has gone into cardiac arrest. The PulsePoint app, which can be downloaded onto a smartphone, shows users within a quarter-mile how to locate and use public-access Automated External Defibrillators and how to perform hands-only CPR. Early bystander CPR can double or triple the chances of survival, Sarasota County EMS Chief Carson Sanders during a press conference Thursday at Fire Station No. 16. “This was a team approach. It required a commitment and implementation for many parts of the county and other departments,” said Sanders of the app that currently is used in more than 2,800 communities nationwide. PulsePoint is a nonprofit organization. More than 350,000 people have out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year, according to Sanders. He said it takes emergency personnel an average of five minutes to reach them.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

17 dead, 15 wounded, former student in custody after Florida high school shooting

An American nightmare unfolded Wednesday afternoon at a South Florida high school after police say an expelled teenager returned to campus and opened fire with an assault rifle, killing 17 and wounding 15 more in the worst school shooting in Florida history. Just before dismissal at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, thousands of students puzzled at the sound of a fire alarm were launched into a panic when gunfire punctuated the din. As teachers and students fled through hallways and hid under desks, a gunman opened fire, leaving a trail of bodies and stunned confusion in his wake. The Broward Sheriff’s Office says Nikolas Cruz, 19, walked the halls of the high school wielding an AR-15 and equipped with multiple magazines.
Tampa Bay Times

Rhode Island firefighter dies after collapsing at fire scene

A Pascoag volunteer firefighter who died Wednesday after being rushed from the scene of a chimney fire is being remembered as a generous, spirited man who was dedicated to helping others. Lt. Richard Jenks collapsed outside a home on Hill Road, Deputy Chief Keith Carter said, after tripping and falling inside. Jenks, 72, was helped up by his fellow firefighters and brought outside to be checked out by EMTs. The other firefighters said Jenks wanted to go back inside to help fight the fire, but he then collapsed. ”He refused right until the last minute,” Carter said. “He always put himself behind the next person in front of him.” CPR was performed on Jenks before he was taken to Landmark Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The cause of his death is pending the results of an autopsy by the state medical examiner’s office.
WPRI-TV Providence 12

New Leadership at USFA, NFA Discuss Their Goals

The evolution of the fire service in the 40-plus years since the formation of the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) has been remarkable, and the new leadership at the organization and at the top of its National Fire Academy recognizes how much change has occurred and how much is yet to come for our nation's emergency responders. In a recent interview with, U.S. Fire Administrator G. Keith Bryant and National Fire Academy Superintendent Tonya Hoover opened up about some of the trends they've seen since being appointed last May and what their primary goals are in two of the most critical leadership positions in today's fire service.

Federal judge orders Florida city to give fired firefighter her job back

Former firefighter Tanja Vidovic should be reinstated to Tampa Fire Rescue, a U.S. District Court judge ruled Wednesday, nearly two years after she filed a federal lawsuit against the city and was fired the next day. She won her discrimination and retaliation case against the city on Dec. 7, when a jury awarded her $245,000 in damages. Now the city has 60 days to bring Vidovic, 36, back to work as a firefighter, according to the seven-page order from Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich. "I’m happy to go back to work and I’m excited to be back serving the public at a job that I love,’ Vidvoic emailed to the Tampa Bay Times. "I hope that the City of Tampa will take this as an opportunity to review their policies and make sure that all firefighters are treated fairly."
Tampa Tribune and (Tampa Bay Online)

Ohio city asks judge to disqualify ex-fire official’s lawyers for ethics issues

Lawyers representing the city of Cleveland asked a federal judge Wednesday to disqualify the legal team representing a former fire official who claims in a lawsuit that he was improperly passed over for promotion. The lawyers accused the Chandra Law Firm of violating the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers by improperly obtaining evidence for former Battalion Chief Sean DeCrane's lawsuit. Those ethical violations are so severe, their motion states, that the court must disqualify the lawyers and suppress the statements they collected, their motion states. The Chandra Law Firm, the founder of which is former city law director Subodh Chandra, says it can prove that the allegations in the court filing are not true.
Cleveland Plain Dealer &

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