National News

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Ohio Cities Fight Firefighters Over Cancer Benefits

Dave Rowell’s shirt says it all: “Euclid Fire: Nobody Fights Alone.” When I meet Rowell, a captain in the Euclid Fire Department, we pull beat-up chairs across from each other in the duty office of Station 1, a functional-looking brick building on a strip of East 222nd Street. Outside the office, the bay doors are open. A Dalmatian sits out front of the station, plopped adorably between two red garage doors. Look quickly, and you’d miss that it’s a statue. Out back, firefighters wipe down one of their fire engines, which gleams red and chrome in the morning sun. As Rowell and I talk, they whirl up the siren and flash the lights. Some firefighters are all too happy to regale you with stories of their daring. Rowell is not one of those. He tends toward the reserved, valiant sort, the kind of guy who is almost allergic to talking about himself.
Cleveland Magazine

Officials say fireboat responsible for oil spill in Seattle’s Elliott Bay

VIDEO: Crews worked to clean up an oil spill Wednesday morning in Elliott Bay near the Seattle Waterfront. At about 8 a.m., crews at Fire Station 5 found a small leak of waste oil from Fireboat Leschi, Seattle fire officials said. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, several gallons were spilled. Crews immediately secured the leak and several agencies responded. Blooms were placed around the sheen to contain and absorb the oil. The U.S. Coast Guard was at the scene leading the mitigation efforts, along with the Department of Ecology and Seattle Public Utilities. The Seattle Fire Department said it will investigate to determine how the leak occurred.
KIRO-TV CBS 7 Seattle

With 1,100+ buildings in violation, New York City sprinkler law could cost owners big

The city’s Department of Buildings will begin enforcing a commercial sprinkler law passed in 2004 requiring all New York City landlords to install the fire prevention equipment. Despite the 15-year window for property owners to get up to code, it was revealed at a November City Council committee hearing that about 1,100 buildings were still not in compliance with the Local Law 26 — and 86 building owners have completely ignored city notifications. The window officially closed Dec. 1, and all commercial building owners are required to have installed sprinkler systems in their buildings throughout the city, including numerous city owned structures. “Our goal is compliance,” said Andrew Rudansky, a spokesman for the Department of Buildings. “Building owners who fail to comply with DOB orders regarding these sprinkler requirements may face additional violations, which carry additional associated civil penalties, until they come into compliance.”
AM New York

Fire officials in Connecticut city ‘getting everyone on same page’

On Oct. 23, firefighters from multiple Norwich departments were called to a massive house fire on Bentley Avenue, a scene of controlled chaos with mutual aid back-up staged just down the road from the blaze as city trucks sprayed the multi-family residence with streams of water. Norwich Fire Department Acting Chief Keith Wucik, as incident commander, had a lot of balls in the air that afternoon between directing the main firefighting effort to keeping track of how many members had arrived on scene from the city’s volunteer departments. To make the situation even more challenging, the body of a resident was found in the smoldering home. In an effort to better coordinate resources at mutual aid fires and to ultimately ensure firefighter safety, Wucik recently began pushing to implement a city-wide identification system, an idea first floated by former Norwich Fire Chief Kenneth Scandariato years ago.
Norwich Bulletin

Village in Wisconsin passes resolution supporting closest unit dispatch for EMS

Village trustees passed a resolution on Monday night urging the Racine County Communications Center to adopt a practice of dispatching the nearest available emergency medical unit, and requesting that all county communities west of Interstate 94 pass similar resolutions. The move to closest-unit dispatch would mean when an emergency call comes in, dispatchers would send the closest available first responders, regardless of municipal borders. That model could help alleviate the dangers created by the disputes among the three Waterford-area fire agencies. A Journal Times investigation published Sunday found that those disputes have repeatedly resulted in cases when citizens in need of medical care in Rochester and parts of the Town of Waterford have sometimes had to wait 20 minutes or more for care, despite the Waterford Fire Department having ambulances available to respond in mere minutes.
The Journal Times - Metered Site

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Firstnet Reaches Over 1 Million Connections

The FirstNet public safety communications platform – built with AT&T* in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – is growing in a big way. More than 10,000 public safety agencies and organizations across the country have subscribed. And over 1 million FirstNet connections are in service, bringing first responders and those that support them the reliability, capability and accountability they trust to carry out their mission. “Public safety is called upon to handle emergencies every single day. They have to be ready for the worst with the best tools to help them respond safely, efficiently and effectively,” said Jason Porter, senior vice president, FirstNet Program at AT&T. “We’re honored to see FirstNet play a supporting role in that response for thousands of agencies across the country.

Texas fire department, union still at odds over interlocal agreement

Bob Nicks, president of the Austin Firefighters Association, and Austin Fire Chief Joel Baker are locked in a battle over whether the city should sign on to a new mutual aid agreement with emergency services districts in both Travis and Williamson counties and several small cities. While Baker appears to have the winning hand, he says he has worked hard to compromise with the union, giving it nearly everything it was seeking. The city currently has what is called an auto aid agreement with Travis County, and Austin firefighters say it should continue as is. Baker and Council Member Jimmy Flannigan, whose district covers the part of Austin within Williamson County, are particularly anxious to move forward with the agreement, which includes the two counties as well as Leander, Cedar Park, Round Rock and Georgetown.
Austin Monitor

Los Angeles County Firefighters Win Approval to Ask Voters for More Money After Reporting Strained Budget

Los Angeles County firefighters on Tuesday won approval to ask voters for more money to help their sprawling department tackle increasingly destructive wildfires and a growing volume of medical calls. The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to place a proposed parcel tax on the March ballot. The tax would apply to residents in the department’s coverage area, which spans 58 cities and the county’s unincorporated areas. Fire Chief Daryl Osby, who has led the 4,600-member department and its $1.3-billion annual budget since 2011, told the supervisors before the vote that the money was critical to maintaining service amid added strain from wildfires and emergency calls. He has overseen the launch of a public campaign to raise awareness about the stresses facing the department.
KTLA-TV WB 5 Los Angeles

Oregon: Portland firefighters’ union says low staffing putting community at risk

The union representing Portland Fire & Rescue firefighters says reduced staffing at one of the city’s 31 fire stations is putting public safety at risk. According to Isaac McLennan, vice president of the Portland Firefighters Association Local 43, only two on-duty firefighters are currently regularly staffed around-the-clock at Station 23, located on Southeast 13th Place. Staffing at Portland’s 30 other fire stations is currently on par with firefighters’ training: crews of at least four, McLennan said. “I feel like the city of Portland is kind of playing roulette with the people that live there,” McLennan said. Despite a near 12 percent increase in population over the past decade in the Rose City, the total number of on-duty firefighters at any given time also decreased from 169 in 2007 to 165 in 2019.
KPTV FOX 12 Portland

Fire rescue in New Mexico asks for ability to transport any patient they choose

There are too many medical calls in the city of Albuquerque and not nearly enough paramedics or trucks to handle them. Now, Albuquerque Fire Rescue is asking the state public regulation commission to change the rules so they can help patients. “We’ve had a significant increase in calls in 5 years, last year ran 90,000 medical calls 110 total calls system here in the City of Albuquerque… it’s just really busy right now,” said Deputy Chief Emily Jaramillo with AFR Emergency Services. Last year AFR was the twenty-sixth busiest fire department in the country and that’s not per capita. AFR has been working to come up with creative ways to reduce call volume but they’re still overwhelmed. Now they’re asking the PRC to grant them the ability to transport any patient they choose to the hospital.
KRQE-TV CBS/FOX 13 Albuquerque

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